Before last year’s presidential election, Donald Trump was solidly the candidate of anger — anger at elites, anger at the media and anger at the yawning gap between the rural and urban Americas. As part of this anger, Trump foretold destruction — draining the swamp and dismantling NATO, all while building a big beautiful wall. He was a “disrupter,” that faddish term economists use to describe upstart startups. Clinton’s message of hope couldn’t withstand Trump’s brand of change. Now Trump and his motley crew have taken over the White House and those who were angry before are no longer quite so.
Run. Not away from the issues but towards them. Do not think that just because you are young or inexperienced that you cannot make a difference if you try. And there is no more important time to make a difference than now, when the new status quo is totally unacceptable. Keep marching, keep raising your voice on the issues you care about, and then take that energy and run with it.
Last Wednesday, two Indian software engineers, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, were shot at a bar in Olathe, Kan. Kuchibhotla was killed, while Madasani and Ian Grillot, a bar patron who attempted to confront the shooter, were both injured. According to witnesses, the alleged shooter, 51-year old Navy veteran Adam Purinton, had belligerently asked about the two engineers’ immigration statuses, told them to “get out of my country” and used racial slurs before being asked to leave the bar. He complied, but returned shortly thereafter with a firearm. Both Kuchibhotla and Madasani were here legally on H-1B visas, according to the Washington Post.
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.