Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the former president of Costa Rica, visited Cornell on Tuesday to give a lecture called “Fighting for Democracy and the Planet” as part of the Einaudi Center’s Bartels World Affairs Lecture series.
Grammy was lamenting on the phone last night that this world is not one that she would want to be growing up in. Scanning the news, opinion columnists seem to be questioning how much longer we will be waking up to democracy for breakfast. Recent New York Times columns titled “Dancing Near the Edge of a Lost Democracy,” “What Has Happened to My Country?” and “What’s at Stake in These Elections” capture society teetering on the edge. Looking at the New York Times archives the day before Barack Obama’s midterm elections in 2014 did not reveal such alarmist attitudes towards the future of democracy. The current political climate hints to a democracy in free fall, and we can watch it flailing towards the center of the earth or begin to think up some sort of remedy.
In part three of the series covering Cornellians’ opinions on battleground elections, students and alumni consider the larger issues associated with midterm elections, such as protecting democracy, abortion rights, climate change and gun control.
Addressing the Cornell community Thursday, former President Bill Clinton voiced the problems he sees within United States democracy and how Cornell students can strengthen these institutions and norms for the future. In the inaugural event in the Milstein State of Democracy Address series, Clinton argued that while the United States has always been divided, Americans must find a way to work together again. Clinton said he believes that democratic norms have long been damaged, and former President Donald Trump only exacerbated them. Still, Clinton remains hopeful and optimistic about the future — because of students like those who tuned in to watch his Zoom webinar. “[Democrats] are younger on average than our competitors, we are more diverse, we have the university network,” Clinton said.
Former President Bill Clinton will discuss the future of American democracy with Prof. Steve Israel this Thursday, as part of a webinar hosted by the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs and eCornell.
If you’re like me, you’re splitting much of your free time between applying to summer internships and hoping that you get one. If you’re above me, you’ve already locked your summer or even post-graduation plans down, freeing up your next three semesters for a fun and stress-free education. But as we buckle down and put our energy into securing our futures, we should remember that our futures will exist in the context of a broader society. These are not ordinary times we are living in. President Trump’s contempt for democratic institutions has always been obvious, but he has been truly unleashed following his disgraceful acquittal in the Senate.
Discord over the student-led protests in Hong Kong has spilled over onto Cornell’s campus, sparking cries of vandalism and spoiling plans to study abroad. A teach-in by students from both mainland China and Hong Kong hopes to address questions and misconceptions about the conflict.
Amidst frenzied talks of impeachment and stiffening partisan warfare, public trust in government has reached a near all-time low. But according to Prof. Steven Levitsky, government, Harvard University, while there are reasons to sound the alarm, American democracy is here to stay.