I could spend my final column in The Sun wistfully lamenting the passing of these years spent perched far above Cayuga’s waters, but I’m sure there are others waiting to step into that breach. My tales are much too inane for general consumption, so a meditation, if it deserves such a term, on my time in this country seems a better choice than bland personal anecdotes. Though I suppose it is precisely the inanity of the anecdotes that makes the profundity of the meditation. There are things one notices only after having lived in a country for some time. Small things that tourists would not recognise.
Like many students on this campus, I was devastated at the victory of Donald J. Trump in his rise to the office of President of the United States. I sat there with my friends who had just been canvassing in New Hampshire as we all asked ourselves how in the world this happened. I was shocked like everyone else, but I shouldn’t have been. I should’ve seen this coming. I’m not qualified to speak on the politics of this election.
I recently read a piece of advice that asked writers to pinpoint the topic, issue or event they would least like to write about, and then go write about it. Mine wasn’t a difficult answer: the all-consuming political hellhole that is the current election. So, here goes. Wait! Do not stop reading.
The Armed Forces of the United States is, without question, the most powerful military force in human history. The ability of the U.S. military to project power across the globe would leave the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire and the British Empire in awe. Without a doubt, there is no nation in existence that has the capacity to challenge American military supremacy. Yet despite the incredible strength of American military hegemonic power, our armed forces are in desperate need of change. First, it is key to understand that a strong, powerful American military is central to global peace and prosperity.
Today marks the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is a time of celebration for my people; we eat sweet foods, drink sweet wine and try with all our might to get some sort of sound out of the shofar but never manage to do so (okay, maybe the last one is just me). Rosh Hashanah is a joyous holiday, a time for us to enjoy family, friends and life. Seven days from now, however, there will be no celebration. In seven days, there is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.
Full disclosure: I was going to use my column this week to announce my forthcoming presidential candidacy, but then I remembered that I once had pneumonia in second grade, so I guess I’m disqualified from ever doing that. All jokes aside, is America really going to hand over the nuclear codes to an unstable, self-serving sentient Cheeto because Hillary Clinton was dehydrated? Come on, people, a little perspective never hurt anybody. In other news, my beloved Giants took on and defeated Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in New York’s home opener. The Big Blue Wrecking Crew is 2-0 for the first time since 2009, Victor Cruz is catching game-winning touchdowns, Eli Manning is having his best statistical season ever and Odell Beckham Jr. is being Odell Beckham Jr. — life is pretty good for this perpetually disappointed fan.
A comment that Asma Khalid, a campaign reporter for NPR, made on the September 1 edition of the NPR politics podcast has relentlessly made the rounds in my thoughts like a SpongeBob-style earworm. Khalid’s colleague, Sam Sanders, spoke briefly on Colin Kaepernick’s protest and what it meant for Sanders to be American as a black man, to which Khalid, a Muslim woman, responded, “I will say, no matter where I am at any campaign event, particularly if it is a Republican campaign event […] I stand. Even if I’ve got a laptop in my hand. And I put my hand up just to ensure that I make everyone in the crowd feel comfortable with me.”
Khalid’s statement is woefully poetic. To ensure that I make everyone in the crowd feel comfortable with me.
If someone were to misread one of my pieces, they might mistakenly assume that I am an angry or unhappy person. Yet anyone who knows me must know, I hope, that this couldn’t be further from the truth. While I certainly have every right to be or feel angry (and let’s not get that twisted), I am actually just an unflinchingly honest person — or, at least, I try to be. I harbor no bitterness in my heart, only an irrepressible impulse towards love and truth — love and truth, I reiterate, because the former is incomplete without the latter. Please, let me explain.
I have often wondered why the world insists that ISIS is not a state. I understand that there is power in being a state and giving any power to these terrorists seems inherently wrong. Yet, terror seems to be at the heart of many nations’ foundings, and while it seems to be on a new scale, when did we as a world forget our own history? Was it once the fear was gone? The danger of the past becomes more forgivable, especially when you have to live with the product.