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I cannot distinguish the political stances of great professors, and I’m lucky enough to still not really know. However, it is no lie or exaggeration that conservative students are drawn to certain courses that reaffirm their views over others and vice versa.
If lies, untruths, falsehoods, mischaracterizations and alternative facts were removed from a transcript of everything Kellyanne Conway has said since President Donald Trump assumed office, all that remained would be a picture book-length collection of her saying “good morning” to Sunday talk-show hosts. And even that might be rated less-than-true by the legions of fact-checkers this administration has put to work, because few mornings have been good to the young Trump White House. If the narrative driving the day’s news cycle isn’t the administration and erstwhile campaign’s connections to Russia, it’s Conway’s ethics conflicts stemming from her on-air commercial for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. If the scandal du jour isn’t a botched executive order that is most likely unconstitutional, it’s a shutdown of national parks’ Twitter accounts over an obsessive insistence on the size of the crowd at the inauguration. Critics of the administration have labeled it evil, but even that gives Trump’s team too much credit. America is not being led by a savvy comic-book villain; the highest levels of our government are a clown car with nobody at the wheel.
Following Adele’s Grammy win for Album of the Year this past weekend, my Facebook feed has been filled with long rants and links to pop culture websites about why Beyoncé should have won instead of Adele. Whether I prefer Adele or Beyoncé is irrelevant; it neither influences who I think should be the Grammy winner, nor is my opinion influenced by the results of the Grammy Awards. By overvaluing the opinion of large-scale, corporate institutions that support the arts, we come to have a narrow understanding of what the arts are and lose the chance to form more complex ideas about the arts through our peers and ourselves.
In 1969, a famous sequoia tree’s extended life came to an end. The Wawona Tree in Yosemite National Park had been tunneled out so that cars and people could go through it. Even though sequoias are so massive and robust that boring a tunnel through their trunks is possible without killing them, the tunnels are damaging to the trees and only benefit park publicity. When the Wawona Tree was toppled by a storm, its lifespan was recorded to be “around 2,100 years.”
Boy Scouts didn’t teach me much. I remember one “fire safety” talk when my friends and I took turns using lighters to try to set each other on fire. Oh, and we condemned what we saw as the organization’s homophobia, transphobia and ingrained misogyny. But, from all the things that I was supposed to learn but made a joke of on my path to becoming an Eagle Scout, the organization’s slogan will always resonate with me: do a good turn daily.
Like most Americans, I consider any question about seceding from the Union forever settled at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865. In my mind, the Civil War sanctified the United States as an indestructible union, one nation bound by the principles set by the Founding Fathers long ago. The fact that so many American lives were lost in the name of this ideal is a humbling one and is to this day a reminder of what we stand to lose should our Union ever be so questioned again.
My head hurts and the endless stream of ridiculous news on the KAF television screens does not help — there is no escape, as there are two, one on either end of the room. Oh, the struggles of an Ivy League sophomore government major. I spend my days writing hackneyed emails to congressmen that are probably barely skimmed by their aides, attempt to survive my commitments and classes and stay constantly drugged up on Dayquil to combat the most recent bout of flu. I do the bare minimum politically, yet I feel incredibly tired. I know that many of you may feel the same but refuse to admit it because you do very little to advocate for your political views, too. Still, I would like to address the immovable, heavy weight some of you may carry with you.
Many contemporary Republicans — and in particular the proto-fascists in President Donald Trump’s administration who label themselves “Republicans” for no reason other than to ingratiate themselves with the current American political system — seem to chart a single-minded course pursuing what they call “national security,” or the safety of America and her citizens, and are now implementing measures ostensibly to that effect. But the safety of Americans, insofar as it means avoiding maiming or death, extends far beyond issues of immigration and terrorism. The administration’s singular focus on this issue belies its rhetoric on national security, because if it were indeed committed to the safety of American people, it would pursue other policies that it has not broached and has even actively suppressed.
On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning the admission of refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries and announced that Syrian refugees be indefinitely blocked from entry into the United States. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said during the signing. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.” The statement draws on a false narrative persistent through history that portrays the U.S. as a patron and refugees and immigrants as freeloaders or threats. Rather than believe this reductive narrative, we should remember the struggles of refugees relocated to the U.S.
I met an exceptionally brave Dartmouth woman. Her friends describe her as wicked smart, amicable, bubbly and generous. She knows herself as a woman of color who struggles with eating disorders and negative body image.
For the first time in my life, I’ve started to question what it means to be an American. Given the events of the past year or so, I’m probably not the only one. As an immigrant, my life in the United States hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. There have been times when a heavy looming cloud of dysphoria shrouded me in darkness. It can be hard to feel at home when your place of birth, most of your family and large parts of your identity are 5,000 miles away.
Cartoon of the day: Steve Bannon's White House.
“Hail to the Chief” is the worst song in the United States’ patriotic oeuvre. “America the Beautiful” tells us of “amber waves of grain” and “purple mountain majesties,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” evokes our pride in the broad stripes and bright stars of that red, white and blue beacon of freedom. But “Hail to the Chief” implores us to pledge cooperation with and salute one person. The tune suggests blind acceptance and adoration of a man, not an ideal.
It is easy to think about the world today and be depressed. The sun rarely shines in the winters and every day you get a bit further behind in class. People continue to pour kilotons of carbon into the atmosphere and continue to ignore the millions of refugees displaced, in part, by our own actions. On Jan. 20, as the Hanover sky assumed its dull grey shade, President Donald Trump’s inauguration hung its own cloud over the future of our country.
At Dartmouth, Greek letters float across Tuck Drive and through Baker lobby on t-shirts and sweatshirts. Our affiliation has practically become a suffix to our names. Most Wednesday evenings call for a flood of text messages across campus with the words, “Are you going to meetings?” We speak Greek, we engage in Greek politics and we breathe Greek each time we enter a fraternity basement and inhale the sickly-sweet aroma of stale beer and other fluids I’d like to forget. That most of us hardly notice the stench anymore is proof of the pervasiveness of Greek culture.
I published an article entitled “In Defense of Fraternities” which received a fair amount of criticism. My argument was three-fold: that fraternities offer benefits for members, that they are not as limiting as stereotypes may suggest and that during my first term in a fraternity, I had a positive, enjoyable experience.
One of my best friends has a Donald Trump sticker on her laptop. When I saw it, I was so appalled by this shameless show of support for the president-elect that I proceeded to scratch angrily at the corners of the sticker, trying to rip it off, while she wrestled her computer away from me and yelled something like “That’s my sticker!”
If you’re a Donald Trump supporter at Dartmouth, you might as well be invisible. In visiting campus this past week, Bill Clinton continued the trend of liberal candidates speaking to liberal students on an overwhelmingly liberal campus. This trend implies that it’s acceptable if “you’re with her,” but there’s no place for you here if you want to “make America great again.”
I apologize in advance if this column comes across as a petulant plea from a hopelessly jaded senior. While yes, I am a member of the Class of 2017 graduating this spring, no, I am not jaded.
I don’t feel lonely at 2 a.m. when I hole myself up in King Arthur Flour with the musical compositions of Dmitri Shostakovich secretly blasting through my earphones. Many of my fellow crammers are unfamiliar with orchestral music’s power to soothe angst, so no, I don’t feel lonely then. Nor do I feel lonely when I embark across the long, cold walk back to my dorm in the Lodge (thank you, housing system) across a deathly silent campus. To be honest, my days are quite busy, and I get very little time to actually be alone. I welcome the peace and quiet as I walk home.