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In the ongoing battles over student voting in New Hampshire, the anti-vote side latches onto the claim that students aren’t “real” residents of New Hampshire, and so don’t deserve the right to vote. And they’ve acted on it. A court recently struck down Senate Bill 3, one of two recent voter-regulation bills, but House Bill 1264, another bill that effectively disenfranchises students, goes into effect on July 1. Unless something changes, many students will still essentially lose their right to vote.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings felt like rock bottom. They won’t be, of course — if we know one thing, it’s that scandals will keep rolling in. Still, there’s something deeply concerning about a Supreme Court hearing turned to partisan theater. Every hour came breaking news about scandalous details of high school yearbooks and binge drinking. Not that those things aren’t serious and relevant given the assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. But still, reality-television style politics dominated the confirmation process.
Iran is “sowing death, chaos and destruction” around the world. That much President Trump made abundantly clear in his recent speech to the United Nations. At the General Assembly, the president doubled down on the Iranian threat, urging the international community to support sanctions against the regime.
Democracy rests on people’s ability to respectfully disagree. When America’s democratic fabric has eroded to the point where political opponents become incorrigible enemies, the last thing it needs is more incivility. Unfortunately, incivility is the type of discourse many people seem to promote.
President Donald Trump has made a grand show of the Iran nuclear deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, often referred to by its acronym JCPOA, enjoys broad international support. The JCPOA isn’t perfect, but it includes about as many concessions as the Iranians are willing to give. So far, the deal has worked, significantly decreasing Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons. And let’s not forget: the alternative to the JCPOA is not a better deal. The alternative is an unchecked Iran on a rapid path to a nuclear bomb.
According to a recent survey by College Pulse, a majority of Dartmouth respondents have violated the law; until this past fall, they could have faced jail time. New Hampshire has since done away with that penalty, but every one of these students could still face substantial fines. Their crime? Smoking weed.
The desert outside Deir ez-Zour is full of bones. They tumble out of hillsides, thousands of weathered skulls and femurs covered in dust. Up north, in Ras al-Ain, farmers plow through a mass grave, growing their crops amid fields of bones. In Deir ez-Zour itself, some of the remains lay respectfully under the floor of a church — or they did, until the Islamic State occupied the city and blasted the memorial apart. These are the bones of women and children. The men, after all, were often killed where they stood, leaving their families to endure the forced marches out to the extermination sites.
I live in New Hampshire. I may have grown up in Massachusetts, but I spend the majority of my time in this state –– for most of the year, it’s my home. New Hampshire’s policies affect me and its politicians represent me, regardless of the “student” label affixed to my name. That label doesn’t make me, or any other New Hampshire resident, less entitled to basic democratic rights.
For decades, the National Rifle Association has advanced a slippery-slope argument. Give an inch on gun policy, the rhetoric goes, and gun control advocates will take a mile. In 1994, then-NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre termed waiting periods on gun purchases “just one more step in the march toward national disarmament.” The NRA similarly denounces most firearm regulation as part of a broader plan to eliminate Second Amendment rights. That argument is both deceptive and untrue. Far from a conspiracy to seize Americans’ guns, sensible gun restrictions are a widely-supported public safety measure.
Will this time be different? One would hope that the senseless mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would move America to action. But of course, this is a nation that saw 20 first-grade students gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School and did nothing. Even as the survivors of the shooting speak out in favor of gun control, the Florida House of Representatives refused to pass a ban on assault rifles. Yet this debate can be resolved without extreme measures on either side. Reasonable, widely-supported gun regulations can limit the chance of another mass shooting.
I met a man named Abu Nabil in Jordan. He used to live in Amman, the country’s capital. Before moving there, he lived in Daraa, a city about 47 miles north of Amman. In Daraa, he studied at the university, obtained a law degree, married and started a family. But just under a century before, the victors of World War I had gathered together and drawn up new borders for the Middle East. One of those lines, the one demarcating Jordan and Syria, passed through the fields four miles west of Daraa. That put Daraa in Syrian territory.
This past Friday, a controversial guest column came out in The Dartmouth. The writer, a male undergraduate, suggested that his rejection from First-Year Trips Directorate amounted to discrimination, citing the 80 percent female composition of the directorate. The article provoked intense backlash.
Who hasn’t heard of the campus left, those illiberals who shut down speakers, protest Halloween costumes for allegedly being oppressive and cast offensive speech as “discursive violence”? Countless writers have covered the movement, some in a critical light. After all, the current trends in campus activism can border on the surreal. But is it really so bad? For all their authoritarian rhetoric, campus movements have a noble goal in targeting discrimination. Besides, right-wing illiberalism just elected a president. Isn’t the alt-right a greater threat to liberal values than some fringe campus movements?
The modern Republican Party is built on contradictions. Classical liberals and social conservatives never had much in common past a shared hostility toward communism. Yet the GOP alliance has proven strong. Republicans pander to bigoted elements within American society, but often as a means to an end; social conservatism rallies for a core policy of limited government and free markets. Republicans need to incorporate social conservatives in order to win elections and promote their agenda.
I love America.
This past December, I spent some time with the Dartmouth Outing Club in Big Bend National Park, out in West Texas along the Mexican border. We hiked through dry washes and over plateaus and camped out along bluffs by the Rio Grande. Driving out on the morning of the last day, I saw the sky flare up red along the horizon, a stark beauty against the desert.
People often think of free expression as a tradeoff, with hateful speech an unfortunate corollary to the predominant good of free speech. The implicit assertion is that, were freedom of expression curtailed and offensive groups banned, levels of hate would go down. Some on both the far left and the far right argue for just that: They demand censorship of speakers, groups and ideas that they deem offensive or unacceptable. These beliefs are critically flawed. While some may follow the kneejerk reaction that if an idea is dangerous, we should ban it, a rigorously-defended right to free expression is actually the most effective means of preventing bigotry.
The chief suspect in the recent New York City terror attack, which left eight civilians dead and more injured, committed an act of unspeakable evil. Such indiscriminate murder shocks us all, and we rightfully feel a deep sense of resentment toward the attacker. Soon after the attacks, President Donald Trump took to Twitter, blasting the attacker as “a very sick and deranged person”; a few days later, he called the suspect an “animal”while speaking with reporters. Trump’s comments echo a common sentiment: that those who commit horrific acts cannot possibly be motivated by ideas, and that any ideologies they espouse are a mere cover for their fundamentally violent, animalistic nature.