The GPSA passed Resolution 9, aimed at protecting Cornell’s Graduate Students from the Trump Administration’s Immigration Ban, and other future immigration-related issues which may prevent students from completing their education at Cornell, on Monday.
I don’t think I really understood the insidiousness of “fake news” until I read and believed a piece of it myself. Last weekend, I was in Montreal with other Cornell students for a conference when Trump’s executive order on immigration was signed and confusion turned into logistical panic. The people running the conference went from committee to committee and addressed the ban, explained that some people might have difficulty getting back into the United States and offered their support if anyone found themselves stuck at the border. It wasn’t dramatic or political, it was to-the-point. And still, for obvious reasons, people were freaked out.
The grim spectacle of Donald Trump’s campaign has transitioned into the grim spectacle of the American presidency. A mere two weeks have elapsed since President Trump’s inauguration, and already the nation has settled into a routine of expansive executive orders and subsequent corresponding outrage. The vulnerable are under attack, shame is a forgotten concept and the White House seems devoted to the personal aggrandizement of the president above all else. We are in an accelerated America hurling through history. And there are sickening indications that our potential destination is a familiar one.
In 1925, after three weeks spent in steerage on the USS America and three years spent in a German refugee camp, a seven-year old Jewish boy named Benjamin Karasik stepped foot on the island of Manhattan. He and his family had fled from the horrors of the Russian Civil War, and now they arrived in America speaking no English and with only meager savings. Twenty-five years later, Captain Benjamin Karasik was commissioned as a doctor during the Korean War. And in a few short months, decades after passing under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, Grandpa Ben will celebrate his 99th birthday surrounded by his friends and family. Grandpa Ben was one of the lucky ones; by extension, I am one of the lucky ones as well, as are both of my sisters, my mother and all my cousins.
Hannah Arendt wrote that terror is the foundation of totalitarianism. The regimes of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin bound individuals into a single quivering mass through which terror coursed unhindered. Some say money is the root of all evil. I say fear is a more likely bedrock. Fear was an important, primal reaction that helped our ancestors survive – and we are all descended from the same; all races can trace their lineages back to the same primate forebears – in a dangerous world.
I don’t particularly want to talk about politics. Throughout these past two years as an opinion columnist at The Sun, I have made the conscious decision to never directly address a political party, a candidate or the policies enacted by the US government. Don’t get me wrong — I have plenty to say, and I strongly believe that refusing to talk politics with the people around you is refusing to engage opinions other than your own. Acknowledging political opinions is attempting to understand and engage in a political atmosphere that reflects the values and happenings of a world that is greater than your own. Yet I will not dedicate the ~800 words I am allowed every other week in The Sun to attack a party, a policy, or a candidate.
Since Trump was elected, I am bothered every day by a certain set of questions and anxieties. Whenever I go on a news site or look at a paper, our current president apparently fits the bill of tyranny wearing a fresh set of big boy underpants. He has begun an enormous upheaval of all values we carried closely to our hearts. Truth, facts, common decency—these diamond American ideals have gone out the window. Meanwhile, the media stands by professionally wide-mouthed.
The NBA, like America, is on an unsustainable course of growth and excess. The league is taking more and more three-pointers every year, and playing at a faster and faster pace — and just two teams, the top one percent of the league, have a near monopoly on elite players. The Warriors and Cavs will likely face each other in this year’s championship for the third consecutive time. A backlash is coming. America, too, has experienced a backlash: in this case, to the accelerated pace of global finance, demographic change and widening inequality.
The United States of America is currently “The Divided States of America” according to TIME. How did we get here? Part of it has to do with emotion. Much has been made about the role of emotions in the most recent presidential election. They played an important role in shaping a massive populist movement headlined by Donald Trump, one that underscored the need to retain some semblance of a ‘greater’ American past in which its foundational promise as a nation to be open-minded and big-hearted is not made.