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It was clear from the get-go that the 2016 Presidential election would be a divisive one. Dehumanization of each side by each side has been getting exponentially worse since the end of World War II. Despite just fighting a war against Nazism, Truman casually flung the fascist label at his opponent, Thomas Dewey, who was anything but. Since then, the mudslinging has gotten progressively worse and reached new heights over the past year. Political discourse in the United States has become nothing more than ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments, enabled and exacerbated by a populous that feeds off the conflict.
Since the election results were announced last Tuesday, many groups have politically mobilized to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s ascendance to power. We have expressed grief and loss over the empowerment of a candidate who swore to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, ban and register Muslims, protect policing entities and practices without systemic reform as well as repeal important amendments and legislation protecting women’s and LGBTQ rights. His method to employ such changes through “law and order” fails to comfort those who have historically been marginalized and targeted by the police. To those who are surprised or fearful of a new precedent of policing, I would urge you to revisit the issues during the Bush-era of domestic surveillance mechanisms and the approved illegal NSA surveillance program that violated the privacy of millions of Americans, targeting the most vulnerable populations.
I am writing to you as a profoundly frustrated, yet unsurprised citizen of these United States in light of this year’s election. I write with the hope that, through education and the crucial examination of the systems in place, we feel empowered to correct them, make the decisions and enact the changes that will lead to a better future.
The events that took place this week following the election of Donald Trump are more than unsettling for any reasonable person to swallow. Americans with access to social media let loose in an all-out attack on their political rivals in a variety of fashions.
In an unexpected turn of events, Donald Trump is the new president-elect of the United States. Going into Election Day, it seemed all but certain that Hillary Clinton would be victorious considering that the polls in many of the swing states were in her favor. Many of the polling models also had her somewhere between 70 percent and even as high as 98 chance of winning. But despite the odds, Donald Trump came out the victor and will be the 45th President of the United States come Jan. 20.
I was probably the the last person on campus to learn about the results of the election. The night before, I watched my roommate check her phone every other minute with increasing anxiety. She opened her mouth to make a comment about the most recent percentages but I shook my head. “Don't you care about the possible implications?” she asked in an incredulous tone. I smiled and slept early that night, and quite peacefully too. The next morning, I did not check the news. Nor did I make any effort to seek information about the outcome of the previous night. It was half past noon when I overheard an international student make a remark about the strangeness of the United States. A few revelatory comments were made about the electee. I was neither shocked nor upset nor pleased — a stark contrast of state with the rest of the country, or university at the very least.
For many students on campus, Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat to Donald Trump on Tuesday was the first time they had to deal with their political party losing a presidential election. Not knowing how depressing and demoralizing losing an election is, students haven’t been able to cope with the defeat. They blame Trump’s victory on dozens of different variables, including sexism and racism, but in reality liberals have no one to blame but themselves.
From this point on, there is no longer a need to pander toward parties and candidates. Our new President-elect Donald Trump will take the reins in January. Surely, for some this is not the best possible outcome, but it must be asserted that this is the only possible outcome. So, moving forward, where does the liberal reside in this newly acquired Trump real estate? The answer is simple actually, right where we always were. Perhaps after eight years of a Democrat in office, we’ve been spoiled and generally just focused on the Senate and Congress for weeding out old Reagan-era relics, but no more.
The 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson found Louisiana's “separate but equal” law of authorized segregation constitutional, building on white supremacy and the flawed notion of black inferiority. Nearly 60 years of Jim Crow laws along with deliberate pushback and positive gains made by people of color in the South culminated in the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which overturned Plessy stating separate schools are “inherently unequal.” After ordering the lower federal courts to require desegregation efforts to be carried out swiftly, school districts began to integrate black students into predominantly white schools through school busing. However, an enormous amount of white flight into the suburbs (and out of urban communities) beginning in the late 1960s made it difficult to sustain busing programs, particularly after the 1974 case of Milliken v. Bradley which ruled that suburban students (i.e. white students) could not be used to desegregate inner city schools. White flight went on, leaving the poor and working-class as the remaining tax base ultimately leading to poorer cities and extremely underfunded schools. Additionally, the busing programs that continued placed a tremendous burden on students of color — in many instances, students traveled more than one hour, sometimes to contentious neighborhoods.
The Grand Old Party has come a long way since its founding. Comprised of ex-Whigs and ex-free-soilers, many had come together in their opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the depravities of slavery. During the term of America’s first Republican president, the party that had just been formed almost saw its end after Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in March of 1861. With a Civil War looming, it was there where Lincoln laid out the beginning of the Republican platform when he said, “A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people.” It was with great humility and diligence that Lincoln preserved the Union, the country and the Republican Party.
My political views started taking shape when I first voted in the 2012 presidential election. When I told my parents that I voted for President Barack Obama, my mother thought that she failed in instilling her Christian values, and my dad — who voted for then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney — was impressed by how I exercised my political right and freedom, despite my mother’s opposition.
The concept of “laïcité”, or secularism, was wrought by France’s desperate need to escape the tyrannical grasp on its government and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. This separation of church and state was implemented in 1905 in order to validate France as an individualistic power, rather than a mere marionette of Catholicism. Fast forward a century and some change later and we see France’s emphasis on secularism transpired into an image of a police officer forcing a Muslim woman out of her burkini on a Nice beach to be exposed to the public. It is not only the non-French who are lost in translation with this butchered demonstration of “liberté, égalité, fraternité.”
It’s everyone’s close-second favorite time of the semester— mid-terms season. Maybe you have made it out with a partial semblance of sanity. Maybe you are still in the trenches, and to you, I send lots of solidarity. If you are anything like me, you have probably arrived at this point with puffy eyes, a few extra pounds, and an increasing sense of self-doubt. It now requires an extra amount of energy and willpower to get mundane things done, like getting to those dirty dishes you are sure your roommates hate you for, or actually putting an outfit together for once. It also means you have probably given up on your hobbies or methods of expression, choosing and/or scheduling time to prepare healthy meals or even exercise regularly. Point being, this is not a time where college students have their lives together.
The 2016 election is upon us, folks. But I don’t think I’m going to indulge everyone by discussing it in my op-ed this week. Yes, I could easily spend hours upon hours making jibes at both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (it’s not that hard, to be honest) while simultaneously complaining about how upset I am that Bernie didn’t get the nomination, but I won’t.
It is clear that this election is unlike any of the preceding ones. Because of this, the dynamic of the political race is going through a huge change. Our overused social media sites have become the newest political tool. Anyone with a Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr — you name it — has been able to post their view points on our candidates all over the internet. A lot of millennials didn’t get the chance to vote in the Presidential Election of 2012, but four years have thus passed and it seems as if everyone is a politician in 2016 with the help of this new tool. I have never been one to get too involved in our government's affairs, however, at this point it is nearly impossible to turn a blind eye. It has become so simple for people to voice their outlook on our country’s state of affairs, merely with the click of a button. So, considering all of this, the questions I keep asking myself is whether social media is ruining politics, or if politics is starting to ruin social media? There is no clear-cut answer because both politics and social media seem to be diminishing in value, given that these two things hold such a tremendous influence in American culture.
Is this what we have to look forward to for the next four years?
There is so much hidden exercise that comes with living in a city like London and traveling to other cities on the weekends. Where is it hiding? Well, naturally in the walking and the stairs. Walking is usually due to the 10-minute (one-way) trip to class I make and, of course, more uplifting journeys and explorations, too. All the walking is really broken up because of that, and it only feels strenuous when its miles upon miles at a time and my tired feet just want to get home so I can sleep — the sights and the London atmosphere make it easy, though. As for the stairs, I get a lot of practice, as I'm living on the fifth floor in my building with an in-repair elevator on my side of it. All the stairs come in handy when visiting places like Paris (where I was staying was quite uphill, right by Sacré-Cœur) and Amsterdam, or when I'm just trying to get to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen from Covent Garden station during rush hour (emphasis on rush hour) on a Wednesday evening. There are 193 steps from the Underground platform to street-level at this station, and the waiting area for the elevator gets really crowded!
In a day and age where government is largely considered a force for good directed by the educated elites who know what’s best for the “basket of deplorables” (at least on college campuses), the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline is an important event not only for the protection of individual property rights against the corporate-government duopoly, but also gives us (and by us, I refer to non-Native Americans) time to reflect on how government can be — and has been — a hostile and deceitful actor.
Unless you have been living under a literal, physical, Patrick Star rock, you’ve heard of the newest Grammy and Tony award-winning musical “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Anyone that knows me knows that I love this musical and think it is a masterpiece. But, as with all things that we love, it is important to seriously critique the areas in which they can be improved. The first indication of the show’s incompatible progressive attitude came via this years' New York City Inner Circle Show. There actor Leslie Odom Jr., who stars as Aaron Burr in the show, participated in yet another one of Hillary’s backfiring pandering tools. She made a play on the age-old “Colored People Time” joke along with Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-N.Y.) by changing the “CP” into “Cautious Politician Time.” The joke was tasteless and clearly offensive. Yet there was Leslie Odom Jr., a black man, standing there, allowing these offensive remarks with a smile on his face. His presence affirmed that everything was O.K., and that he was in on the joke.
Graffiti reading “Viva la deportation,” “Make America Great Again” and “Deport force coming” on the College Avenue and Livingston campuses instigated an immediate response from the Center for Latino Arts and Culture. Swift and ardent organizing took place to call out hateful language that both explicitly and implicitly works to disempower vast sectors of the Rutgers, and also the greater New Brunswick communities. Rutgers is a non-tax-paying entity in New Brunswick. Students are benefiting not only from the welfare of the state but also the welfare of the municipality, which has a of majority Latinx and high immigrant population invested in the city for longer than the average four-year college attendee. Framing the spatial conceptualization of New Brunswick in this way, the message behind “Viva la deportation” is entrenched in its own hypocrisy regarding intrusion of space. Instead it racializes the legitimacy of who deserves to inhabit freely. Similar strains of hypocrisy have saturated the law enforcement's response to the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance led by leaders of the Sioux nation. The militaristic response to indigenous populations’ “occupation” of the land deemed for corporate energy use designates the Sioux protectors as the intruders — a claim that in one swift phrase erases the genocide and continued settler-colonial governance of indigenous peoples’ land. The police force on the ground in North Dakota violently defends and protects corporate energy interests by using rubber bullets, pepper spray, beatings, as well as tactics of surveillance. Hence the interests that corporations and institutions echo as moral through legal power structures are entangled in their own historical contradictions furthered by policing technologies. Social media has proved to be an apt organizer for meetings and mobilizing turnout, like the CLAC’s outreach to students affected by the hate speech, but the events unfolding in North Dakota are telling of the mechanisms of control, such as racialized categorization of "intruders."