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JOHNS | Making Free Speech Rhetoric Free Speech Reality

President Trump last week signed an executive order that links federal research and education grants for colleges and universities to their unwavering commitment to “[promoting] free inquiry.” Translation: The long-standing progressive censorship game at colleges and universities is now over. Universities and colleges will immediately cease shutting down, impeding or permitting the disruption of conservative speakers, or now risk losing billions of federal research dollars that are generously given away each year to these institutions of higher learning. It is unfortunate that such an order has become a confrontational stance on America’s campuses, but academia has sadly reached that point. Young America’s Foundation, for instance, favorably settled a lawsuit over this precise issue with the University of California, Berkeley last December. UC Berkeley, facing a constitutional challenge to its speaking protocols, agreed to abolish its “high-profile speaker policy” and speaking fee schedule while implementing a policy that ensures that heckling protesters will no longer be permitted to shut down speakers on campus.

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JOHNS | Blame Big Government and Democrats’ Radicalism for High Political Stakes

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a new dueling columns feature. In our very first feature, Michael Johns ’20 and Giancarlo Valdetaro ’21 debate, “How have the stakes of American politics risen so high?” Read the counterpart column here. In his State of the Union address last week, President Trump extended an invitation to members of Congress to set aside their differences and begin to work collaboratively — not on their respective Republican or Democratic agendas, but on “the agenda of the American people.”

“Many of us,” he argued, “campaigned on the same core promises: to defend American jobs and demand fair trade for American workers; to rebuild and revitalize our Nation’s infrastructure; to reduce the price of healthcare and prescription drugs; to create an immigration system that is safe, lawful, modern and secure; and to pursue a foreign policy that puts America’s interests first.”

It is an important message, and yet one that sadly is poised to be ignored. Congress, for at least a decade now, has been entrenched in bitter, dysfunctional partisanship where success or failure is measured solely by political victory. In pursuit of this end, the well-being of the nation has too often become little more than a tertiary concern.

Polling location at Alice Cook House on November 6th, 2018. (Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

CHANG | Platform Complacency Will Prove Fatal For Democrats In 2020

The 2018 Midterm was serious business. Cornell has been a roaring fire of political intensity for the last two weeks. Opinion columnists (I’m sure you can guess the specific ones) have been yelling all night. More of my friends voted than I thought possible, although some Cornellians — either disillusioned with the political process (fine, but a weak excuse) or simply disinterested (c’mon) — never filled out a ballot. Although we probably won’t get a true break from electioneering until after the 2020 race, I’ll be content with clearing my inbox of daily asks for campaign donations and “shockingly new analysis” from pollsters and Nate Silver himself.

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GLANZEL | An Independent to Democrats: You’re Losing

Well, the last month has been interesting, to say the least. Trump has further unveiled his narcissism, racism and misogyny. More importantly, however, Michael Wolff’s tell-all, Fire and Fury, has revealed the complete and utter incompetence of Trump and his cronies. As someone who gobbled Wolff’s book down, I can only say that the men (and only men) that are running this country terrify me to my core. But perhaps the greatest evil of the Trump era is not the president and his staff, but rather the Republican-controlled Congress that continually defends the monstrosity that is Trumpism.

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KOWALEWSKI | Reflections Of A Cornell Democrat

Soon, I will leave Ithaca. Accordingly, this column is the end of my time at The Sun. So I ask you to forgive me as this graduating Democrat takes a moment to reflect upon his values and his four years on Cornell’s campus. When I started my freshman year, I was already a progressive who kept a close eye on politics. I didn’t quite need the stereotypical college experience of “awakening” to the world around me.

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EDITORIAL | A New Bipartisan Beginning

The past two years has seen an unmistakable rise in the level of vitriol in our nation’s political discourse. The election of a deeply unpopular president and the implementation of misguided policies have served only to acidify further the national political conversation. It doesn’t need to be that way on Cornell’s campus. Hopefully, it won’t be. Last week, Natalie Brown ’18 was elected president of the Cornell University College Democrats.