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Having children and supporting families is central to human life and the propagation of mankind. Yet, those who choose to have children are met with an increasingly uncertain future when planning their families. An especially pressing question on the mind of parents is who will take care of their child when they return to work?
Toward the end of a presidency, it is a ceremonial act that a president issues a select number of pardons and issues for clemency. Near the end of former President Barack Obama’s days sitting behind the resolute desk, he issued a pardon for convicted Puerto Rican nationalist, Oscar Lopez Rivera. Rivera was a member of the Puerto Rican independence group called the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), which was responsible for over 120 bombings in the 1970s and 1980s that claimed the lives of six and injured many more. This repugnant act of leniency towards a convicted murderer was overshadowed by the clemency order of Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning and will go largely unnoticed. But this leniency toward domestic terrorists is nothing new to the American political Left. The riots and bombings by Leftist domestic terrorists have almost become normal in our society since the 1960s.
On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States — but if anyone thought that Trump’s inaugural address would be a contrast to the controversial and divisive rhetoric of the campaign, they were mistaken. He continued to bash the political establishment on both sides of the aisle and promised to restore power to the American people. He launched attacks on the establishment because they have “reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost” and described the United States as a broken system teeming with poverty, crime and hopelessness. Trump painted a bleak image of our country, all while presenting no clear solutions to any of these problems. Trump claims to be the change America needs in Washington, D.C. because he will “drain the swamp” and not represent the political and financial elite. But based on his cabinet nominees, it's clear that Trump has no intention of draining the swamp, but rather expanding it.
It might seem crazy, but I enjoy math. My majors and minor are all math-intensive, I can calculate the results of complex series with (relative) ease, I find tricky math problems fun and I only use calculators to check my work, not to do it. There are many people like me, who genuinely enjoy the subject of mathematics, are engaged by the logical and complex processes needed to solve a problem and want to further STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) through research and discovery. I know that what I do isn’t easy. Anyone who pursues a field that involves math knows that success and true appreciation for discipline comes only through a lot of hard work, practice and thought.
What is albinism? It is a rare, non-transmissible, genetically inherited condition that affects people worldwide of all genders, ethnicities and nationalities. The most common effects of albinism are the lack of melanin production in hair, skin and eyes (known as oculocutaneous albinism). The lack of pigmentation makes people affected by albinism vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer from sun exposure. It may even cause visual problems such as photophobia, a severe sensitivity to light. Albinism is widely misunderstood socially, as it is a rare condition with obvious signs in physical appearances — 1 in 20,000 people are said to have the condition.
I’m not a feminist. It’s not something that I like to throw at people, because I’m wholly accepting of most feminists and admire their concern for social issues, but when someone speaks to me with the assumption that my gender requires me to be a feminist, I feel inclined to burst that bubble and deviate a bit. Especially considering that the group behind tomorrow’s Women’s March on Washington retracted a partnership with a pro-life feminist group, proving that mainstream feminists would rather turn away women who disagree with them on a few issues than show solidarity against a president-elect who is being accused of sexual assault.
In the spirit of the inaugural season and the inauguration of a new president, I believe it is prudent to shine a light on the incumbent President Barack Obama and provide my analysis of how his legacy should be viewed in a historical and cultural context. Despite my differing political opinion on his oftentimes cut-throat liberal policy positions, there is a large part of me that has tremendous respect and admiration for our country’s first black commander-in-chief.
Everything I love seems to perish. This may come off as a rather morbid statement but upon closer inspection, there may lie some glimmers of truth. Over winter break, the preoccupations that seem to fill up my usual schedule on a consistent basis were mostly put on hold. I had, for better or worse, time to ruminate upon a few matters. And due to such, indeed, I found that all I feel love for comes to an end. When I say, “love,” however, I do not mean only in the romantic sense but simply all that my heart forms an attachment to. For example, roses that my eyes find pleasing and my nose delights at eventually wilt and become dust upon touch. The flavors of food that my taste buds rejoice at last a few seconds only to become a faint memory or at most, are attempted to be captured in a hasty photograph. Individuals that my heart grows fond of might reciprocate or more likely frustrate but will nevertheless leave or die. To me, through my human observations, it seems that all I love, all that I would like for to last eternally in perfect fashion cannot help but succumb to their transient nature. Nothing seems permanent.
I’ve always felt a sort of kinsmanship with Germany. Strange, considering my Jewish ancestry and the fact that most of my family came from either Austria or Italy. Nonetheless, after taking German for a semester at Rutgers I was surprised, but delighted, to find I was able to keep up with most of the basic conversation. My brother, Spencer, is already fluent in the language, and he quickly became my walking, talking German dictionary. My language skills have improved over the two weeks I spent taking trains from Frankfurt to Munich all the way to Hamburg and Berlin. While I do wish to become fluent in German, my language enhancement was not the most important product of the trip. The most important product came in the form of perspective. It was not something that I gained in Germany but was more so something I lacked in the United States.
Lil Yachty has had an incredibly successful year. His debut mixtape and work with DRAM and Chance the Rapper brought the 19-year-old rapper out of the underground scene and into the mainstream, culminating at his induction into the most recent XXL Freshman Class. Aside from his discography, Yachty has made a reputation for himself as the rapper who does not care about hip-hop’s past. As someone who said he could not name five Biggie or Tupac songs and openly called Biggie “overrated,” Lil Yachty is every old-school rap fan’s worst nightmare.
Through several years of paying close attention to exchanges dealing with ideas of political and social reform, I’ve encountered my fair share of opinions dealing with women’s issues and the general stigma around feminism. While most encounters are positive, there are far too many people contributing to political intercourse that express a negative attitude toward modern American/Western feminism with little background or perspective on the subject. Views on moves for modern Western women’s equality are often looked upon as being pointless or asking for too much. We have the right to vote and work amongst men, so why are there still complaints? In reality, though, defining the validity of women’s rights issues solely by comparing the situations of different countries is ignorant. When people think of women’s issues, they refer to a cry for help from disadvantaged girls in India, where social restrictions cause approximately 40 percent of all child marriages to occur there. They think of Ethiopia, where literacy rates indicate that around 82 percent of women lack a basic education. Saudi Arabia comes to mind, where social values discourage women from driving. These are statistics that can easily be Googled by anyone trying to argue a point. It takes a deeper understanding of the women’s rights movement to know that the Western world suffers from the same stigmas against women that affect girls in eastern cultures. Although the repercussions may not be as extreme, and we certainly aren’t openly forced into child marriages or subject to female mutilation, the atmosphere still exists. The women’s rights movement still holds valid points in Western cultures.
In my previous column, I wrote about the media and polls and their effect on the outcome of the election. In this column, I will analyze how economics and demographics played a key role in determining the winner of the election. How did President-elect Donald Trump, against all odds, pull out a surprise win over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? The answer lies far, far away in what many refer to as “flyover country.”
Fear has been a powerful idea in this election cycle. Some used fear as a justification for their beliefs while others used it to exacerbate existing issues to fit their narrative. Both candidates were guilty of such language. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton feared a world where President-elect Donald Trump would have the nuclear codes, just as Trump feared a world where Clinton would be responsible for answering the 1 a.m. phone call. Fear can be enticing when used to gain supporters, yet can also be downright dangerous when those supporters are left to their own devices. Whether preaching their own fears or inspiring new fears in the public, our politicians seem to be a one-trick pony, effectively riling us up without any real consequence. Most left-leaning college students just did a double-take and are now rereading that last part a third time.
Depending on who you ask, the Russians are either directly interfering in national U.S. elections, attempting to rebuild the Soviet Empire, deliberately subverting “democracy” in Syria (who really knows what’s going on there, to begin with) or all the above. If you listen to career Russia hawks Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), you would think any sort of overture to the Russians would put the United States in mortal danger. Thus, I think it is important to put Russia's perceived aggression in Europe and the Middle East in proper context.
In an earlier column, I discussed the importance of symbolic annihilation within our media system. Symbolic annihilation is a concept that defines the ways a social group is reduced within the media. This can be a reduction in a physical sense, like the many shows with a limited, if at all present, black cast. Or, it can be a reduction of humanity, as in belittling characters of color to general stereotypes related to their race. Either way, symbolic annihilation is no good, but our media system is drenched in it. Disregarding the racist criminalization of blacks and Latinos on the nightly news, minorities are predominantly minimized and trivialized in movies, music and television shows. This is not unexpected when a majority of the media is owned by rich white men. However, I am happy to say that in these past few months, television has been experiencing what some might call a "renaissance of black television."
Donald J. Trump’s presidency implies a multitude of possible legal and political horrors for Muslim people in America. But what about the work that has already created the foundation of Islamophobia and orientalism? Specifically, I am referring to the archive of grotesque misrepresentations of Muslims in the media, film and literature. Muslim caricatures on screen, once limited to roles of belly dancers and angry tribesmen, have now shifted into terrorists, representing them as imminent threats to humanity. The tropes surrounding Muslim people and Arabs surged in the early 2000s, primarily through films and media depicting the Middle East as a haven for flag-burning terrorists. Such one-dimensional, xenophobic and vastly misleading representations in cinema produces homogenized processes in the American psyche that interprets Muslim and Middle Eastern bodies in a negative light.
Since the election on Nov. 8, Donald Trump has been watched closely during his transition into the presidency. Although I may be quick to criticize Trump’s pick for certain cabinet positions, his selection of Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary was a coherent and responsible decision.
The arrogance of Hollywood was on full display this past election cycle. Many celebrities were out campaigning for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton while criticizing Republican nominee Donald Trump. But what qualifies them to speak on such topics? They should not be lecturing the average American on how to cast their vote just because they are famous actors or great musicians.
About a week ago, a conservative organization named Turning Point USA released a “professor watchlist,” which aggregates and lists the so-called most liberal professors in America. The general reactions ranged from people calling the list a threat to academic freedom to others laughing at the concept. It has always been known that academia leans left, but an attempt to quantify the most liberal professors in the country into a single list was rather novel. And there is a reason why it has barely been done before — because the results are extremely inaccurate. Five Rutgers professors were listed, and I can say from experience that one of them (William Field, a professor in the Department of Political Science) is not even close to the most liberal professor I have taken and never struck me as biased, even as a right-leaning student. In fact, most of the professors across the country were listed for doing rather mild things — criticizing the NRA or teaching their students the concept of privilege — which may be considered “radical” in other parts of the country, but certainly not in New Jersey.
I was leaving the interfaith meditation room located on the lower floor of the College Avenue Student Center when something scribbled on the wall adjacent to the room’s entrance caught my attention. “Drain the swamp,” it read. This is a phrase that has been utilized by many politicians in the past, the most recent being the current president-elect. It tends to refer to the action of purging a government of existing internal corruption. Thus, one can imagine my surprise when I saw it penned onto a wall that is located right next to a space publicly used on a daily basis for prayer and reflection by many students, a majority of which identify as Muslim. What was the correlation between the meaning of the phrase and the space it was drawn near? Needless to say, I took out my phone and photographed it. That same day, I filed a bias incident report to the University.