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With the United States achieving universal COVID-19 vaccine availability for adults as of April 19 and Dartmouth recently deciding to mandate the vaccine for all students on campus in the fall, a return to normalcy seems to be on the horizon. In light of the recent progress, it’s fair to say that students are looking forward to in-person classes and social activities with minimal risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
For decades now, America has been falling behind other advanced countries in terms of its physical and non-physical infrastructure. While the sight of crumbling roads and bridges, the prevalence of unsafe drinking water and the scarcity of well-funded public schools should not be accepted as the norm in any country — rich or poor — the startling reality is that the wealthiest country in the world is, in fact, complicit in the deprivation of essential services to its own people. Fortunately, the Biden administration recently put forth proposed legislation to tackle the uniquely American infrastructure crisis. The American Jobs Plan would invest $2 trillion in, among other things, creating “green” jobs, attempting to address inequities in transportation and initiating efforts to bring certain communities — particularly those in rural and underserved parts of the country — into the 21st century with high speed broadband.
Last fall, my jog around the Parcel 5 trail in Norwich was interrupted by a Listserv email about the death of a member of the Class of 2024. In the winter, I was falling asleep to my Zoom screen when my phone dinged, notifying me about the death of another member of the Class of 2024. Two weeks ago, I was biking around Occom Pond when I got a call about the death of my good friend.
On April 14, President Joe Biden announced an unprecedented change in American foreign policy toward Afghanistan: instead of a conditional withdrawal of troops, the United States will commit to a concrete timeline for bringing its forces home. While prior administrations have stipulated that the United States would need to ensure the long-term stability of the Kabul government before withdrawing troops, the last two decades have proven that there can be no such military solution in Afghanistan. With a timetable in place for when the U.S. will withdraw its troops, the Biden administration can finally build a sustainable peace without the need for intervention or its more sinister counterpart, occupation. The United States should supplement this decision with a renewed commitment to diplomacy and support the Afghan people in their nation-building efforts without direct military intervention.
On March 25, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced that all New Hampshire residents 16 years and older would be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine beginning April 2. This expansion of eligibility allows college students hailing from New Hampshire or who have established residency here to receive the vaccine, but Sununu specified that out-of-state college students will not qualify. The governor’s office believes that limited vaccine supplies should go to the state’s residents rather than out-of-state college students.
Only a month after taking office, President Joe Biden’s administration has already shown that its policy approach to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia marks a distinct shift from the previous administration’s policies.
This column is featured in the 2021 Winter Carnival special issue.
Dartmouth has a love-hate relationship with Greek life. Despite various calls for abolition over the years, Greek life remains one of the most prominent aspects of the Dartmouth social scene. Around 67 percent of eligible students are affiliated, and even unaffiliated students often attend events hosted by Greek organizations. However, with the pandemic putting Greek life temporarily on pause and the rise of the “Abolish Greek Life” movement on other campuses, there is an increased risk that College will use the current circumstances as an excuse to crack down on Greek life once again. It is imperative that this does not happen. Banning Greek life would only make Dartmouth’s social scene more exclusive, dangerous and inaccessible.
In 2020, Black people are still being killed because they dare to be Black in America — because they dare to walk in their own neighborhoods or go for a drive. These killings, however, represent only a fraction of the violence the Black community faces. Current definitions of violence — specifically those regarding identity-based violence — are too narrow to accurately portray the violence that marginalized groups face. This violence goes beyond the physical and explicit — it lies in the subtext of individuals' language and behavior, outside of the traditional definition of violence. We must change our understanding of what constitutes violence so that Black people no longer have to be beaten or murdered in order for racial justice to be perceived as an issue worth pursuing.
Totalitarianism is more than a political project. It is a popular psychology that facilitates tyrannical societies through a particularly brutal form of groupthink intent on the destruction of free thought. Totalitarian governments are not simply top-down regimes; they instead emerge from entire societies operating in a totalitarian manner. The great political theorist Hannah Arendt famously noted that the Nazi and Soviet systems did not appear overnight, but instead emerged from cultures inundated by the 19th and 20th centuries’ popular ideological movements of imperialism and anti-Semitism. History’s most dangerous demagogues thus share culpability with the masses that subscribed to their ideology and formed their cults of personality.
In the two weeks since the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the United States and Iran seem to have stepped back from the brink of war. Thankfully, the two states’ brief exchange of conventional force has given way to a de facto ceasefire.
My dad always had a bad history with phones. We bought him his first one in 2014: a Samsung Note 3, the largest phone we could find on the market. For extra precaution, we equipped it with an Otterbox case, holster belt clip and a tempered glass screen protector. Unfortunately, he put his phone on top of the car, drove away and never saw it again; even worse, he forgot to set up a password.
On March 22, special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on the two-year long investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Many Democrats have spent the previous two years on the edge of their seats, hoping Mueller’s report would allege that the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Two days after Mueller submitted his report, attorney general William Barr submitted a four-page summary of the report to Congress — a decision that many Democrats decried as indicative of a lack of transparency and oversight. Given Barr’s public skepticism of the investigation, Democrats aren’t wrong to question whether Barr held back details that could have hurt the President’s standing. But even if Democrats have grounds to pursue a full release of the report, they dwell on the issue at their own peril.
Campus outsiders use many stereotypes to describe Dartmouth students. Posts on college-matching website Unigo portray Dartmouth as a fraternity-dominated, beer-drinking party school, but also as a place where students are laid back, outdoorsy and active. I find these Dartmouth stereotypes contradictory — on one hand, students are known for extreme partying, and on the other, they are seen as healthy and physically active. The truth is that both stereotypes are largely valid.
It was a weekend of protests. While Americans turned out for the third Women’s March in three years, France saw thousands of Yellow Vest protesters rally for the 10th weekend in a row. (Make of that what you will.) The Yellow Vest protests originated in outrage toward a diesel fuel tax that French President Emmanuel Macron — the target of the protesters and, in their eyes, the embodiment of the gap between the wealthy elite and lower class — says is meant to minimize fossil-fuel use.
Gillette, a men’s razors and shaving products brand, recently released an ad that questioned its own slogan this past Monday. In a campaign against toxic masculinity, the commercial asked consumers if “this was really the best a man can get,” calling for them to set a better example for the next generation of men. Adriana Cohen, writing at Real Clear Politics, called the ad a continuation of the “war on men.” As a member of the male community, I do not feel as if I am at war and would like to personally apologize to anyone who actually is at war for the laughably ridiculous comment. In contrast to Cohen and many others, I continue to be a supporter of free speech, and respect Gillette for risking economic consequences to make a statement, continuing the conversation about sexism and sexual assault. It is a conversation that clearly needs to continue given the extreme backlash to an ad that is far from insulting.