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We need to amend the Constitution and we need a new Constitutional Convention. We need to amend it to such an extent that the final product will be so different from the eighteenth century-born original that it’s unrecognizable. Unless we do that, then nothing on the left wing’s wish list will ever get delivered, short of a miracle. Everything we’re fighting for right now will wind up being an outright failure or a half-hearted concession that will be whittled away at anyway. The manufactured gridlock and dysfunction, from Washington on down, will continue to frustrate liberals and leftists alike. Even President Obama’s agenda, a man twice elected by a majority, will be further straightjacketed by our antiquated and undemocratic constitutional machinery. Unless we amend the constitution, the #blacklivesmatter movement and the People’s Climate March, both which I involve myself with, will have been in vain. I’ll also look back at that visit I made to Occupy Wall Street back in high school as one of the many bloopers of my adolescence.
Being conservative here at Rutgers is an anomaly — most of the people I come in contact with are self-described liberals. This is not endemic to Rutgers and aside from some Baptist colleges in the South and Midwest, on pretty much any college campus you go to in America, you will find a majority of students who identify as liberal. As the 2016 election cycle begins, on generic campuses around the country, you are sure to find millennials who are “Ready for Hillary.” This three-word phrase is the name of an independent super political action committee that is urging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016. Their website claims to have over two million supporters. One of the major efforts of the Ready for Hillary PAC (RFH) is to get college-aged supporters — the key to success for Barack Obama in 2008 — to gain the Democratic nomination for Clinton and eventually win the presidency. This strategy is apparently working well — there are more than 30 student-run pro-Hillary groups on university campuses and that number will surely rise as time goes on.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Riding the buses is one of the few experiences universal to being a Rutgers student. We’ve all been surrounded by puking, yelling students on the way to the College Avenue campus on a Thursday night, or nearly stampeded in the mad push for a seat during rush hour or stranded at a stop in the freezing rain, counting down the minutes until the right bus arrives. In my mind, there is an indelible association between the buses and the University — it wouldn’t be home without them.
There are two characteristics of my being that I will never be able to deny: the fact that I am black and the fact that I am a woman. Everything else I have the ability to change — should I wish to — but my outward appearance is something I would not alter and could never deny. Yet being a black woman is a double-edged sword. I love the fact that my hair grows out and up as opposed to straight down, and I love that I can wear it however I want — straight, curly, in braids or in Senegalese twists, my style of choice. I love my skin color, I love my history and I love my Haitian roots. However, because black women are the sheer antithesis of what western culture has deemed beautiful and important, everything I love about myself gets questioned, drowned out and muddied. As a result, in the past I have been slightly unnerved when those who are not black talk about the lives and rights of black people as if they completely understand what I face on a daily basis. I would childishly think to myself, “You don’t walk through life as a black person, let alone a black woman, so what could you possibly know about the issues that affect us?” Yet as I’ve come to interact with different people from all walks of life, I have become cognizant of my judgments.
For many undergraduate students, working alongside an esteemed professor is a major achievement. Professors hold a vast catalog of knowledge to share with undergraduate students. Building a professional relationship with an experienced faculty member should be an exciting opportunity, which allows both the professor and their student to learn from one another.
Before basketball season began, everyone involved with Rutgers knew exactly the challenge that the Scarlet Knights faced in their inaugural Big Ten season. Back on Jan. 11, when the Knights knocked off the fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, it seemed like maybe — just maybe — Rutgers wasn’t too far in over their heads after all.
There are a plethora of current events I would normally be inclined to write commentary on, but Danielle Dossantos’ recent letter to the editor gave me pause enough to put other issues on hold. She makes a wide variety of accusations against Janna Aladdin and Muslim students in general, ones that do not hold any water when scrutinized.
You’re standing in the middle of the Spring Career & Internship Mega Fair located in the Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus, when you slowly spin around to take in your surroundings: scores of employers staffing the hundreds of elaborate give-away-laden convention booths lined up neatly throughout the large multipurpose room, 1,000-plus of your Rutgers peers (dressed in business suits) zigzagging through the crowd and some patiently standing in line to speak with employer representatives. You ask yourself, “How can I possibly stand out in this huge pressed and polished crowd of students? How do I make a lasting impression on the employers I’m most interested in?”
Imagine you are suffering from a severe disease, such as cancer, and your prognosis is such that you will die within the next six months. I know what you’re probably thinking: What an awful way to begin an article. And it certainly is. No one wants to die. No one wants to suffer. And certainly no one wants to die suffering.
The ways things are going right now in my life, I will probably graduate next year as a member of the exclusive club of Rutgers students who’ve never attended one of our athletic games. I’ve never understood sports much, and I can’t say to have a liking for it either. However, I will cheer for the United States when there’s a soccer game — although I only really joined that bandwagon last summer during the World Cup in Brazil. I’m a bookish guy, so this should all make sense. Football is especially an alien world to me. Hell, my grandmother is a Steelers fan, so she would know more about it than I would. However, as a champagne-guzzling socialist, I am interested in what has been one of the hottest subjects in the world of sports lately: unionizing football players.
Roy sprints across the rust-tinged mountainside against the hail plummeting toward us, rebounding upon impact and returning back into the wind.
President Obama’s State of the Union address will be televised on tonight, but he has already revealed some of his proposals. Along with the usual set of tax policies — some sort of tax relief for the middle class and some sort of tax increase for wealthier people — the President’s plan to offer two years of “free” community college, known as America’s College Promise Plan, is what has caught the attention of the younger generation of Americans the most. The cost of college tuition has grown exponentially in recent times. Many students choose to attend two years of community college before going to a four-year university simply to save money. Others delay going to community college straight out of high school in order to work for wages and save money to enroll. Some students may never receive any form of higher education because they feel it is unaffordable. In turn, President Obama’s “free” community college tuition plan seems like a golden opportunity for all the young people in America who struggle with the decision to go to college for economic reasons. Will this plan really be free, however, and should it be implemented?
Allowing for every possibility of self-scrutiny, I will seek to address the violent redress of grievances enacted by the Kouachi brothers and the destructive and divisive rhetoric that has formed around the awful consequences of the recent attacks on the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. If I am successful at forming a distinction between critique and insensible rhetoric throughout this column, then with all due respect, I will have already done something that the Charlie Hebdo publication never did. As a journalist whose words are sometimes considered controversial, I have no doubt been forced to face the vulnerability of exposing my ideas quite a few times before. Indeed, I have been threatened with physical attack as a result of one of my publications and cannot even describe the emotional pain that one goes through upon a physical threat of censure. And yet, I find the global response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks utterly deplorable. The destitute unification of supposed “free-speech advocates” under the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” echoes the blind disregard of the publication’s despicable content, and more importantly, forms a binary opposition between those who “identify” with the publication and those who do not.
The allegations of rape against actor Bill Cosby have been in the headlines for the past few weeks. The newsworthiness of this story can be attributed to America’s obsession with celebrities and their ignoble scandals, as well as the renewed national conversation on rape and rape culture. Race even plays a part in Cosby’s saga, as he is one of the most prolific black celebrity icons of all time.
With only a bowl game left on the horizon for Rutgers football, attention here on campus in terms of athletics has shifted from the gridiron to the hardwood. The Scarlet Knights football team finished its inaugural Big Ten regular season with a 7-5 record, notching that seventh win last weekend at Maryland by way of the largest comeback in school history. It’s well documented that the football program has surpassed expectations in 2014. Now it’s time to see if Eddie Jordan, in the second year of his tenure here at Rutgers, can do the same.
There is only so much mistreatment a minority can tolerate. Whether marginalized by race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability status or other measures differentiating them from the social majority, there is always a tipping point. For black Americans, many of us reached our tipping points when a St. Louis grand jury decided not to indict in the case of Michael Brown. There were no words or picture montages that anyone could have strung together that would have caused their decision to make sense in my mind. Yesterday, with the release of the decision not to indict the police officer that used an illegal chokehold that killed Eric Garner, I again had absolutely no words to explain the perpetuation of this madness. Both grand juries decided that both cases didn’t even call for a trial. Their actions mean that both the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner will never see their day in court, despite the fact that both deaths were caused by direct police brutality. Had either of the cases gone to trial and either officer been found not guilty, I may have felt differently, but that is clearly not the case.
Our country is running out of money. No, really, the well has run dry. Today, the United States Federal Government has a debt totaling more than $18 trillion. But not to worry — it’s actually those damn Republicans who want to cut entitlement spending that will destroy the economy. Their minor cuts in projected increases in spending will surely be the catalyst for financial disaster here at home. There is no way the costly policies of the Federal Reserve negatively impact the marketplace, right? Well, newsflash: We’re broke, and they do. The United States has not been this financially unstable since World War II and the Great Depression.
Last February, entertainment news network TMZ released a video exposing former Rutgers football player Ray Rice dragging his then-fiancée’s unconscious body from an elevator after physically assaulting her. The NFL suspended Rice for two games after the Baltimore Ravens player was indicted by a grand jury for third-degree aggravated assault in March. Commissioner Roger Goodell further suspended Rice from the league in September after a second video surfaced of Rice assaulting his wife. However, the video itself appeared to have confirmed information Goodell was completely aware of at the original time of Rice’s first suspension, suggesting Goodell’s original decision reflected a lax approach to Rice’s violent behavior.
A rogue’s gallery of racist phantasms, imaginary and even ghoulish constructions of the souls and bodies of black and other people of color haunt white American culture. The souls of white folks are deeply afflicted. Even with the historic achievement of having a black family in the White House, a structure built by black slaves, white Americans by and large appear stubbornly committed to seeing things in their melanin-rich fellow citizens that just aren’t there. Coloring the perceptions and dialogue surrounding the death of Michael Brown and the recent exoneration of his murderer, Officer Darren Wilson, are age-old ideas about how the “culture” of poor, ghettoized black people govern and compel them to barbarism. The tropes ought to be familiar to us now: the “thug,” the “welfare queen,” the “broken” families, a culture of violent criminality and a “culture of poverty.”
In 1983, both of my parents came from Colombia to the United States on student visas to pursue graduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Over the course of the years, they were granted legal residency and eventually became naturalized U.S. citizens. But it wasn’t always easy. My mother had to go back to Colombia for over a year after she finished her Ph.D., since the student visa no longer applied. I am infinitely thankful to both my parents for having come to the greatest country on Earth, studying and working hard, obeying the laws and then having me here. Like millions of others, my parents followed immigration laws and processes, no matter how complicated and burdensome they might be, and were able to live out the American Dream. Unfortunately, unlike my parents, there are also millions of other immigrants who came here illegally and continue to remain here today. Fortunately, unlike many other countries around the world, America is a nation of laws — and the law must be upheld, with no one being above it. The millions of immigrants who broke the law to come to the United States must never be rewarded for their illegal actions, and although it sounds harsh, they should be punished. Granting amnesty is an insult to the rule of law and to the millions that followed it.