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Including the recent gun violence incidents in Colorado and Georgia, there have now been 103 mass shootings — defined by the Gun Violence Archive as an incident in which four or more people are shot — in the United States this year. This means that in 2021, the U.S. has averaged more than one mass shooting per day. 2021 is not unique, though — for five consecutive years since 2015, the U.S. has seen more than 300 mass shootings annually. In 2018 and 2019, the U.S. saw more of these events than calendar days.
Last Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced legislation in the Senate proposing a tax on the ultra-wealthy. A wealth tax is notable because it taxes net worth rather than income, making it harder for wealthy people who have low incomes to escape taxes. If passed, Americans with wealth greater than $50 million would pay an annual tax of 2% on all their assets. For those with over $1 billion in assets, there would be a 3% annual tax on their wealth above that threshold. Although Warren’s tax is backed by many progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., it has received widespread backlash from conservative legislators and even a few Democrats, including President Joe Biden himself. Critics claim that the proposed tax is too difficult to enforce, that it would reduce America’s gross domestic product and that it would cause the ultra-wealthy to simply move abroad; these are important points on the complicated nature of wealth taxes. Yet the American public’s support for such a tax, as well as Warren’s many improvements on past attempts at a wealth tax, cannot be ignored.
Last December, people across the globe watched with hope as American nurses and doctors received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses — only to see our country fall flat on its face as the rollout stalled despite the U.S.’ place as an epicenter of international vaccine development. Now that President Joe Biden has taken office, vowing to “listen to the scientists” and “shut down the virus,” things must have turned around, right? Not so fast — while the federal government’s leadership has undoubtedly improved, the Biden administration's goals for vaccination are relatively tame, at least according to many health experts. Under former President Donald Trump, the federal government falsely promised a near-miraculous rollout of the vaccine. We now face the opposite problem — the Biden administration is underselling the vaccine. It’s time to ramp up expectations and engage in a full bore campaign to get doses into arms as fast as the vaccines are manufactured.
Asian carp, garlic mustard, zebra mussels, lionfish, kudzu vines — the names of these invasive species might sound familiar. The United States is currently home to around 50,000 non-native species, around 4,300 of which are considered invasive. These are non-native species which can inflict significant damage on local ecosystems and overwhelm native species, often despite containment efforts.
This column is featured in the 2021 Winter Carnival special issue.
This year, Valentine’s Day just won’t be the same. Nobody will fortuitously stumble upon a soulmate at King Arthur Flour or dance with their Marriage Pact match in a fraternity basement. Some will insist on celebrating with a COVID-19-safe platonic get-together, while others will be rushing to secure evening plans for the 14th. Either way, love is in the air — and regardless of our relationship status, we should celebrate love this week by giving to our loved ones without expecting anything in return.
When the pandemic began to spread throughout the U.S. last spring, seemingly everyone praised “essential workers” for putting their lives on the line to keep society running.
On day one of my dorm room quarantine, I watched my professor’s lecture through a laptop screen. My food was delivered twice daily by a person whom I never saw. I was only allowed out of my room in order to use the bathroom and seek medical help. Though the situation sounds eerily similar to the premise of a dystopian novel, it’s actually my college experience, taking place entirely through screens and six-foot distances.
This year’s presidential election was fraught with fear — fear that partisan hostilities would collapse into full-on riots and violence, fear that President Donald Trump’s attempts to undermine American democracy and values would succeed, and most of all, fear that we would be stuck with another four years of Trump’s immorality, incompetence and idiocy. As a result, media coverage leading up to the election and throughout the ballot counting was largely cynical.
I am 19 years old — born the year of 9/11, and the year that U.S. troops first touched down in Afghanistan. I have never known an America that wasn’t at war, or an America before mass shootings. I grew up without financial security because this country decided that the cost of my father’s cancer treatment was my family’s peace of mind. I grew up watching Hurricane Michael, a hurricane of unprecedented strength obliterate my aunt’s town and home due to our country’s decision to prioritize corporate interests over its citizens. I grew up rehearsing what to do if someone decided to make my school into a murder scene amid our nation’s inability to enact common sense gun control while children continue to be gunned down in their classrooms.
The end is here. Over 93 million people have already voted, with tens of millions more still to vote tomorrow. And then comes the count. Due to the high proportion of mail-in votes, election-night calls of certain key states, such as Pennsylvania, are highly unlikely. I for one, will likely stay up watching results anyway, while others will make the wise decision to go to bed and check in the morning. But whether you're glued to CNN or waking up to a phone alert the morning after, there’s something likely to be missing from your radar — the results of local elections.
When Indiana’s Democratic senator Birch Bayh launched his campaign to reform the American presidential election system in 1966, he aspired to dismantle the Electoral College by constitutional amendment. Recently, Bayh’s efforts have been reincarnated by Democrats whose presidential candidates have lost the presidency despite winning the popular vote. Instead of abolishing the Electoral College, though, both Bayh and the Democratic Party should take up a much easier, safer project that would achieve the same goal: abolishing the winner-take-all electoral system.
My history of political engagement — or lack thereof — is embarrassing. I don’t do my research on the candidates running for Senate or House in my home state of Maryland, I don’t read my local newspaper and at best, I’ll drop in to events on campus to see a presidential candidate talking to Dartmouth students. Even though American politics matters for me as a U.S. citizen, I often get lost in the ordinary demands of the day-to-day, and political engagement just ends up taking a backseat.
Although the World Health Organization declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic back in March, Congress has yet to implement a widespread testing program — even after an outbreak of COVID-19 in the White House in early October left three Republican senators (and the president) infected with the virus. As of now, tests are only offered to those who have symptoms or who believe they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive. Not only does Congress' failure to implement regular, widespread testing put the lives of congresspeople and thousands more at risk, but it sets a dangerously negligent example for the rest of the nation.
Amid the general turmoil of the first presidential debate, it was easy to miss that Donald Trump made a truly extraordinary statement for a Republican president — when asked if human pollution contributes to climate change, he said “I think a lot of things do, but I think to an extent, yes.” Eight days later, Vice President Mike Pence said that the Trump administration will “always follow the science” on climate change.
After several college tours, the campuses I visited began to blur together into an indecipherable mix of bookstores and brick buildings. My final tour provided a stark contrast. While not so different from others in architecture or scenery, Dartmouth’s welcoming atmosphere left a memorable first impression. Students, faculty and community members alike greeted me on my tour throughout campus and seemed genuinely eager to see and talk to me. Within my first 10 minutes on Dartmouth’s campus, I knew I was home.
Even before announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Donald Trump had a strained relationship with science. The president regularly tweeted claims that global warming was a hoax, that vaccines caused autism and that energy-efficient lightbulbs cause cancer — all of which are wholly unsupported by scientific evidence.
For most students this fall, going back to school meant logging onto Zoom from the dining room table or, for some, donning masks for the few in-person classes available. But for two young girls in California, the first day of school was spent huddled on the curb outside a Taco Bell to use the free Wi-Fi. A photo of the young girls recently went viral on Twitter, highlighting the tremendous digital divide existing between the district of Salinas — where more than 40% of elementary school-aged students are homeless — and the neighboring Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world.
At the core of the news media industry, like any business, is the drive to turn a profit. And from the advent of radio through the boom in social media, news companies have learned that sensationalism sells. Sensationalizing the news and allowing viewers to dictate what should and shouldn't be covered draws in more profits than traditional, objective reporting. While complaints of different news outlets having a liberal or conservative bias are commonplace, it is important to acknowledge that the media operates under a system that rewards sensationalism.
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court and liberal icon, was a tragedy for all Americans, regardless of political orientation. Ginsburg leaves behind a remarkable legacy in American law, culture and feminism, along with a gaping hole in the Supreme Court. The question of who will fill Ginsburg’s seat, or rather who gets to decide who will fill her seat, is on everyone’s mind. This much is made clear by media coverage, along with a surge in fundraising efforts — Democrats amassed more than $90 million in donations in the 28 hours after Ginsburg’s death. For its part, the Trump camp has fired back with sales of “Fill That Seat” T-shirts.