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The line between politics and self-identity has long been blurred in America, and this past midterm election has highlighted this. Politics are felt in every corner of the country, whether it is at the municipal, state or federal level. As such, the American political system has become intertwined with many citizens’ personal identities. Whether people wish to tune into politics or not, decisions made in the White House are inevitably going to affect their lives. As a consequence, there is a higher level of emotional energy directed into campaigning, political conversations and voting. This personal stake correlates with a higher level of ownership that I believe is good news for the future of American politics.
The anti-Semitic mass-shooting that targeted the congregation of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue left me deeply wounded. Before anything, I must state that I condemn this atrocious hate crime and send my condolences to the nation and especially to the Jewish community, including the Jewish community at Dartmouth.
I stared at question number 6 on the form.
In May of 2017, the United States Department of Justice launched an investigation into potential Russian attempts to influence the previous year’s American presidential election, as well as possible coordination between Russia and the Trump administration. Since then, as a country, we’ve reached a kind of impasse; a national gridlock, one born of a long, mired period of what for many feels like purgatorial waiting. During this time of opacity, reading and listening to the news has become, for many (including myself), a form of control. We get to latch onto the coverage of Mueller’s proceedings, assigning our own levels of significance to moments like the indictment of Michael Flynn and more recently, a foiled smear campaign to frame Mueller for sexual misconduct. People spend their time reading into his findings and framing them the way they want to see them. However, patience is running thin. Fortunately, for those of us feeling that we can’t take this much longer, reports of Mueller’s findings are expected to come flying back into the news following the midterm elections.
The photograph of Amal Hussein, an emaciated 7-year-old Yemeni girl on the brink of death, took America by storm when it was first published in the New York Times. Its wide circulation drew long-overdue attention to Yemen’s ongoing crisis — although crisis seems too small a word for it. Famine and cholera have swept the country; as of June, one million Yemenis were infected with cholera, and 18 million don’t know where their next meal will come from. Of the country’s population of 28 million, over 22 million live in dire need of humanitarian aid. The health and survival of over 80 percent of Yemeni children are at risk. The U.N. has dubbed this catastrophe the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and potentially the worst famine the world has seen in a century if the war continues.
With the United States’ midterm elections looming, the push to “get out the vote” is in full-swing. As it should be — only 61 percent of registered voters went to the polls in 2016. Perhaps even more surprising is that 2016 set the record for voter turnout in a presidential election. If we take a closer look at the 137.5 million voters who actually, well, voted, we see something else surprising: close to 90 percent of people reported they would vote along party lines. This tribalistic divide in the American civic body mirrors the partisan divide in Congress, where party unity voting has increased from sixty percent in the early 1970s to 90 percent in 2017.
Married to a Kardashian and boasting countless smash hit records along with an extremely successful clothing line, Kanye West is no stranger to the spotlight. Lately, however, Kanye has found himself in the limelight for a new reason: politics. Kanye West, along with Lil Pump, was the musical guest on this season’s premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” As the credits rolled, West rapped his song “Ghost Town” while sporting his bright red Make America Great Again hat. After the broadcast cut out, West delivered a Kanye-sized rant to the SNL audience about his support for President Donald Trump. Just two weeks later, West visited President Trump in the Oval Office, dazzling viewers with more ranting — this time, to an audience of the entire nation.
“What high school did you go to? Where are you from? What are you involved in on campus? What classes are you taking? What are you going to major in? What are you planning on doing with your life after Dartmouth?”
I received several attention-grabbing emails in my inbox last week. The messages advertised that conservative commentator David Horowitz would be coming to campus to discuss “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left.” Potentially provocative email subject lines containing quotes by Horowitz included “Israel is the victim,” “Angry voices of the left” and “Identity politics is racist.” The planned format of the event was 40 minutes of prepared remarks, followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
The Dartmouth College Republicans billed the talk as a double-hitter. Most emails advertised the hour-long lecture as “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left,” and another proclaimed “‘Israel is the Victim,’ Hear David Horowitz’s Opinion on Tuesday, October 23rd at 6pm.” The president of the College Republicans opened for Horowitz, a controversial conservative figure, with an articulate speech calling for increased political dialogue on campus. He emphasized the importance of both listening and speaking up, but requested decorum in doing so.
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.
This year, the Class of 2022 will run just one lap around the Homecoming bonfire. As a member of that class, I was aiming to write a piece about why this is unjust, and how Dartmouth will quickly lose its identity if it ditches defining characteristics in the name of safety. Then I thought, why even bother? An opinion piece written by a freshman will be far from convincing to the officials of the town of Hanover, who have already made up their minds about the possible dangers of this tradition. This internal dialogue illustrates a much darker reality in the world beyond the Green.
As we light the bonfire for the 125th time tonight, it is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the evolving environment for women at Dartmouth. Attending an all-girls school up until this year has fed my interest in the dynamics between men and women in the academic and social worlds on campus. Through personal experience and interactions with upperclassmen and freshman peers, my eyes have been opened to the reality of Dartmouth life for women: favorable in the academic setting, but not so much on the social scene.
This weekend, I spent some time knocking on doors in Hanover as part of a get-out-the-vote effort. Door-knocking in a college town has its pros and cons. Pro: People are generally nice and willing to talk to random college students, especially when said college students look cold and a little miserable in the 40-degree weather. Con: Finding specific student housing apartments requires immense navigational skill, of which I have none. How can you find apartment #21B when the number “2” has fallen off the door? More cons: Lots of people do not answer their doors. Even the people who do answer don’t always want to talk once they realize the knock doesn’t come from a package delivery.
Jack-o-lanterns grin from Hanover’s porches in the last orange bursts of peak foliage, the year’s most anticipated horror movies premier onscreen and campus anticipates spooky festivities with candy and costumes. It’s time for horror enthusiasts like me to relish in our favorite genre. In the spirit of Halloween, many students scrounge for something scary to consume and find themselves looking at a foreign menu. For anybody with no idea what to order, I offer a few humble recommendations.
The destruction wrecked upon the home of a girl named Sally and her brother as a red-and-white hat wearing anthropomorphic cat and his two “Thing” henchmen balance on umbrellas, fly kites indoors and knock pictures off walls requires a magical cleaning machine to ameliorate. Dr. Seuss’s 1957 book may have succeeded in stimulating childhood imagination, but unfortunately (in case you didn’t realize it) we don’t live in “Cat in the Hat” universe, and the Dartmouth alumnus couldn’t succeed in bringing about a way to go back in time and reverse the damage we’ve done.
There are few things more futile or depressing than attempting to teach leadership via sticky note and slightly dry Crayola Broad Point Washable Markers. Yet the words “With your support, we will build on this legacy by creating a comprehensive, four-year cocurricular strategy for cultivating that spirit of leadership” on the Call to Lead capital campaign’s website immediately conjure the image of several bored undergrads contemplating death-by-catered-sandwiches while a leadership guru gesticulates madly in the background.
House music is a vague term for the vast and eclectic sea of sounds that are coming out of speakers everywhere around the world. Similar to jazz, it is a term that cannot do justice to the feeling and spirit of the music that it describes. If someone asked you to define the forlorn and fey sound of Miles Davis playing the trumpet, the best explanation you could give would be to put on “B—es Brew,” as recorded by Miles Davis. As Jesse Saunders wrote in her brief history of house music, it “is a feeling that can’t really be defined.”
As we sped down Highway 89 en route to my very first college debate tournament, the four walls of our team’s rented minivan vibrated with the beat of pop music blasting from the front of the car. My teammates shouted over the music and each other, our deafening six-man circus drawing annoyed glances from passing cars. Squeezed into the back row, the ruckus from the front and the sound of my fingers tapping anthropology notes into my computer provided the harmony to the opening chords of the Moana soundtrack, played on a loop through my earbuds for the duration of our two-hour journey.
With the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the United States ushers in an entirely new era of legality. Chief among the staples of this paradigm shift: the retention of a conservative “political” majority. Mind you, I wholeheartedly believe that justices should serve as objective arbiters of the law, but I’m not so stupid as to presume that human beings suddenly eschew their beliefs and predilections the moment that they don those dapper, black robes. A consensus in viewpoint is thereby nothing short of monumental. But unlike the previous 5-4 majority, Kavanaugh represents a grand unknown atop the bench. His predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, was renowned for his propensity to forego an automatic adherence to party lines. He was conservative, of course, but one couldn’t predict his judgement simply by glancing at the accompanying “Republican stance” on any given issue. Such is the sign of a great judge: putting objectivity before subjectivity. And Kennedy should be commended for it.