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COMMENTARY: Current political climate necessitates meaningful discourse

(11/30/16 11:59pm)

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was a junior living on Morrell Street and working at The Daily Targum. I awoke to my find my roommate staring at the Twin Towers imploding on television. Outside, roars from F-15 fighter jets screamed across the perfectly blue sky. Television was my salvation. For weeks on end I obsessed over al-Qaeda, Islamic extremism and the perfect military response. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was changing. My belief system and worldview began to calcify. To disagree with me no longer meant you had an opinion that differed from mine, but simply that you were wrong and you were stupid for not knowing you were wrong. Why didn’t you know that invading Iraq made perfect sense? That no one could ever get intelligence gathering wrong? Fifteen years later, 9/11 taught me that we’re wrong about what we think we “know” and that we should operate on that assumption. The experts who could have never imagined it were wrong. The experts who said they knew how to respond were wrong. The experts who said they knew just how to fight this were wrong. All of them, including me, wrong. Which brings me to Donald Trump.



COMMENTARY: Expecting political ‘center’ to hold will not win elections

(11/22/16 1:02am)

I am shocked, but not surprised, that Donald J. Trump is now our President-elect. It was my neighbors and friends who put him there, though I am sure many people here at Rutgers who didn’t grow up in a dying, rural, majority white town are indeed shocked to discover that a majority of their fellow citizens could possibly think he could be a good president.


COMMENTARY: Ignorance of privilege leads to dismissal of others’ rights

(11/18/16 1:35am)

My stomach was churning watching the polls with some of my friends — Christians, Jews and a Muslim. We all came in with our homework and sugary, caffeinated beverages so that we could be academically productive whilst awaiting the fate of our nation. The general consensus was that Hillary was going to win the electoral vote, but we all had that subconscious fear, that “if” factor. Votes were slowly coming in … I had this light-headedness about me as the minutes went by. It only got worse. We left the room at about 1 a.m. with our heads low and our hearts heavy.



COMMENTARY: Conservatism can be resistant to change

(11/09/16 11:43pm)

As a 19-year-old first-year student, perhaps I do not have the qualifications to merit a serious argument on political ideologies. Many times I believed myself to have a flawless argument in a particular field of philosophy, only for it to be struck down simply when I presented it from a perspective I failed to consider. Thus, I became determined to consider all possible perspectives before presenting any of my future arguments, and indeed, I noticed how weak many of my arguments were. Yet, one of my arguments has repeatedly stood out, no matter how much scrutiny I subject it to: The defective nature of conservatism.


COMMENTARY: Which came first, Trump or election?

(11/02/16 10:40pm)

As the 2016 presidential election continues to develop, I continue to lose sight of the political system I thought I knew. As a member of the youngest generation of voters, I find myself very excited by this turbulent presidential cycle, as do many of my peers. Sadly, this excitement comes at a price. Quite honestly, one year ago, I would have laughed off the notion that Donald Trump could be the Republican nominee, but ... here we are.


COMMENTARY: Citizens need better political education

(11/01/16 11:06pm)

Over the years, our society has turned a lack of political knowledge and understanding in our country into an acceptable norm. Policies, laws, governmental processes that people in the past fought to construct throughout their lives to make this country a symbol of freedom and power go completely unnoticed by the vast majority of Americans. We have blindly given up the power that our nation’s democracy gives us. We have lost the value of educating ourselves about the governmental processes of our country. A survey done by The Washington Post in 2014 finds that only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of the government, and an even smaller number of them understand the powers that each of the branches have. Citizen involvement in our government has been decreasing aggressively. In the New Jersey primary on June 8, for example, the voter turnout rate was only 8.2 percent. These statistics prove how disconnected from the political world the American public has been. However, the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on September 26, was the most watched debate in the history of the country with 84 million viewers.


COMMENTARY: Generation gets ready to make its statement

(10/28/16 12:16am)

With less than two weeks left until Election Day, stakes are high for both the presidential candidates and their parties. Despite an established reputation as unreliable voters, youths make up a growing and crucial bloc with the power to shape the upcoming election, as previous generations shaped theirs. The millennial generation, which consists of residents of the United States born after about 1980, now outnumbers previous generations, like the Baby Boomer generation, at a staggering population of about 76 million. But, many still feel they are too far from the center of politics to create an impact.





COMMENTARY: Rutgers is justified in its commemoration of Paul Robeson

(10/18/16 11:16pm)

Andrea Vacchiano must think that the Targum readership is stupid. In damning a courageous figure like Paul Robeson, she repeats the same propaganda, counterintelligence and yellow journalism that the United States has been using for decades to terrify its population into submission and scare the masses away from socialism. This is somewhat ironic that Vacchiano wishes for as weak a state as possible, yet gives nothing but validation to the deception and the Cold War lies. This is not surprising. The rich and their agents always criticize the state until it uses its power to manipulate the masses into the support of the social elite — the rich. Vacchiano throws around terms like "liberty" and "freedom," but what is this liberty and freedom that is being expressed? For one, holding up a figure like Milton Friedman and his toxic policies of neoliberalism, one is not perpetuating freedom and liberty for the masses of people. The kind of freedom Vacchiano supports is the freedom to oppress, exploit and enslave hundreds of millions around the globe.


COMMENTARY: United States learning from Israel how to combat terrorism

(10/05/16 11:12pm)

According to a Fox News Network article published in March 2016, deaths due to terrorism have increased eight-fold over the past decade and violence in Europe is expected to increase over the next two years as extremists continue to take advantage of the European Union’s immigration system. Analysts predict that global terrorism will not only increase in 2016 and beyond, but that it will also expand in countries like Thailand, the Philippines and India. These findings are extremely frightening and show that this is a vital time for the global community to improve its strategies for combating terrorism.




COMMENTARY: Article misrepresents historical realities

(09/21/16 11:10pm)

A ghost of the Cold War is walking again. Masha Gessen “wakens up the dead” to appeal to sensibilities of those who are more inclined to celebrate an analogy between the Russian and Soviet states and then question the validity or origins of such a projection. In her recent opinion piece “Did the Soviet Union Really End?” she declares contemporary Russia to be an heir to a Soviet totalitarianism. She brings back this dramatic, half-century-old cliche, to mobilize Americans again against the old enemy.


COMMENTARY: Khavich has holes in argument

(09/20/16 11:17pm)

Who would think that an individual, from the left or right, would have the audacity to, in 2016, use ignorant arguments to reduce the demands made by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to old clichés we have come to expect out of the mouths of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh? Prior to Monday's fallacy-filled opinion piece by one Aviv Khavich, it would not have been me.


COMMENTARY: House bill back-pedals lunch reform progress

(09/15/16 2:26am)

Almost six years ago, the 2010 Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) enacted substantial changes to the federal Child Nutrition Programs the bill authorizes, including the beloved National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Among several noteworthy provisions, CNR 2010 set strengthened science-based nutritional standards for school meals, expanded school breakfast and summer food service programs, and laid the foundation for a healthier future for all children through the Farm to School Program, school garden grants program and nutrition education requirement.


COMMENTARY: Sanders is missing from progressive fights

(09/14/16 3:56am)

Like many passionate Bernie Sanders supporters and self-proclaimed Bernie-or-Busters around the country, I am proud to consider myself a part of Sen. Sanders's (I-Vt.) remarkable Democratic primary campaign. Sanders's fight for social, economic, racial and environmental justice has brought millions of young voters into the political process. They all shared one thing in common: hope for a better future. He brought awareness to issues such as corruption, injustice and environmental negligence, and advocated for “radical changes” such as single-payer healthcare and free college tuition.