Yona: A Better Society
As a young climate scientist, I often have trouble sleeping at night.
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As a young climate scientist, I often have trouble sleeping at night.
Every year, soon after welcoming a new class of eager and wide-eyed freshmen, Dartmouth releases a report on its demographics. In recent years, these reports boast increasingly high percentages of students of color, students who attended public schools and international students. The admissions board and administration congratulate themselves for admitting such diverse classes. At the same time, they turn their backs on what Dartmouth’s community looks like for these students once they actually step foot on campus.
Over the last century, we have seen a blossoming expansion of human rights across race, age, class, sexuality and gender. Once upon a time, three-fourths of all people were enslaved, but human slavery is now illegal in every country in the world. In his tour de force “The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” Steven Pinker documents in painstaking detail how the murder rate has fallen since the Middle Ages by almost 95 percent, how child abuse has halved since the 1990s and how the rate at which animals are harmed during the production of movies has fallen by 90 percent since the animal rights revolution in the 1970s.
Note to readers (April 6, 2017): When The Dartmouth learned that guest columnist Mary Sieredzinski ’17’s article was identical in places to those published in several other college newspapers that originated with publicity officials at Teach for America, we decided to remove it from our website.
Throughout the 2016 election cycle, President Donald Trump’s claim that the election would be “rigged” was dismissed by political commentators and elected officials as fanciful and improbable. However, examining the impact of stripped voter protections, it’s clear that the election was, in fact, rigged. The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder seriously weakened the Voting Rights Act before Americans went to the polls on Nov. 8, which disproportionately targeted and disenfranchised lower-income Americans and people of color — communities that are statistically more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. Looking at these restrictions, we can see that the political battles regarding voting rights have serious implications for Dartmouth students.
I don’t know how to bike. You read that correctly — a Director of Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips is not totally sure how to make that two-wheeled monster called a “bicycle” move from point A to point B. My first hike longer than a mile came on the last day of my own first-year trips, which was exceptionally average — until that hike.
In May 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party won the Indian national election, the largest election in human history. The BJP is tied to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the radical Hindu nationalist group to which Mohandas Gandhi’s assassin belonged. It became the leading party of the largest and most diverse democracy in the world, winning 51.9 percent of all seats in India’s lower house, the biggest victory since the Congress party, the initiators of of Indian independence, won in 1984. A BJP win in the recent regional elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will vastly increase the party’s chances of winning the 2019 national elections and be crucial in defining the political landscape in India for years to come.
I will be graduating from Dartmouth this spring with an identity as a dancer that has greatly shaped my college experience. I have directed Street Soul and danced with ShebaLite during summer 2015. These are also my personal opinions, and I am choosing not to represent Street Soul through my statements.
Gang signs are not cute.
We all know “The Most Frustrating Man Alive.” He’s the friend who’s social to a fault, can’t concentrate on a single goal without remembering thousands of other things that he has to do and — most dastardly of all — feels the need to talk to you about all of it. One night, my Most Frustrating Man Alive and I were having the same conversation that our interactions always devolve into: a lighthearted argument about whose approach to living at Dartmouth was better, mine or his.
Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States, inaugurated amidst considerable controversy and resistance. As the first 100 days of his presidency progress, I will personally continue to follow fervently and break down each of his decisions. To begin with, let’s discuss trade.
Josh Kauderer ’19’s Jan. 27 guest column — published on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the very day that President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented executive order targeting Muslim refugees and immigrants — trades on the tired argument that criticism of Israel amounts to anti-Semitism and suggests that Jewish people are the religious group that most needs defending in today’s society. Kauderer so confuses and dilutes the meaning of anti-Semitism and what Jewish values ought to stand for that I struggle to decide where to spend my 800 words setting the record straight. However, two salient points stand out to me as most important.
If it hadn’t been for an alumni interviewer, I never would have gone to Dartmouth. As a student at a rural Vermont high school with no history of Ivy League success, I simply wouldn’t have stood out among the other qualified applicants. Thanks to the efforts of my interviewer, Bill Schillhammer ’76, my application made it to the top of the pile. I never forgot what he did for me, and after graduation I wanted to do the same for other applicants who might not seem like obvious choices.
In the new Trumpian era, opinion writers everywhere — whether in The New York Times or on our Facebook news feeds — warn us not to allow the kind of rhetoric both our new president and the groups he emboldens to be normalized. To this end, millions marched on Jan. 21 to show they would not stand for attacks against women, LGBTQIA individuals and minority communities.
Henry David Thoreau argued that citizens should not “resign [their conscience]” to legislation. “I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward,” he wrote. “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have … is to do at any time what I think right.”
On getting down to business with a charlatan.
The Electoral College affirmed Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States on Dec. 19, 2016. Critics of the president argued that his election would empower anti-Semitism and, unfortunately, those predictions may be correct. The Southern Poverty Law Center studied 867 hate incidents that occurred in the 10 days following Election Day and classified 100 of those as anti-Semitic. Many incidents took place on college campuses. In New York, swastikas were drawn on several suite doors in a residence hall at the New School. A swastika was also drawn in a residence hall at the State University of New York at Geneseo. Anti-Semitic graffiti, including the words “Heil Trump” appeared at a bus stop at the University of California at San Diego. Jewish faculty members have also been targeted. At Oberlin College, a professor found a note outside his home that said “Gas Jews Die” and a professor at Harvard Law School received a postcard that said, “We’re gonna drain the swamp at Harvard Law” and closed with a Nazi-era phrase, “Juden Raus,” meaning “Jews out.”
Underneath the sweat of the Malapa excavation team and Dartmouth students laid the fossilized bones of our ancestors. Kneeling with my peers, sweeping away layer after layer, we explored the earth for clues into our past. Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger paced back and forth, looming over us as we excavated the site that he and his son Matthew had found eight years before.
Activism isn’t activism unless it has the ability to bring about political or social change. Burning the American flag is, quite literally, too incendiary to accomplish that task. It won’t breed constructive, meaningful discourse. It won’t even make a nuanced statement about how a subset of the currently disenfranchised are feeling. And perhaps most critically of all, burning the flag gives President Donald Trump’s followers evidence to support their claims that those who oppose the new administration are anti-American.
After President Barack Obama’s historic presidency, President-elect Donald Trump will follow him into the White House with a regressive agenda. He is responding to and playing on fears many Americans rightfully have in ways that may enrich his family and inner circle of supporters. This cynical appropriation of American nationalism that enabled the takeover of the government by an ultra-wealthy cabal has brought latent hatred to the surface of public life.