In the days leading up to Halloween, visitors to Willard Straight Hall’s lobby may have noticed pumpkins for sale that looked, well, familiar: Radiant orange, and topped with a distinctive blonde hair combover, the miniature pumpkins bore a resemblance to President Donald Trump.
Amidst a presidency that has seen clashes at the border and high-profile confrontations with Mexico, a pair of former diplomats debated whether Trump’s immigration record represents a radical change — or merely an extension of the status quo.
Award-winning journalist and co-founder of online outlet The Intercept Jeremy Scahill took aim at the idea of American exceptionalism, every one of the last four presidents and the culture of truth-telling in modern politics in a no-holds-barred diatribe hinged on one simple idea: who is, and who isn’t, telling the truth.
Foreign powers implicate President Trump once again in the investigation of his domestic political adversaries. This time, all talk of Russian collusion is taking a backseat to the new situation with Ukraine. The Washington Post released information which alluded to a whistleblower in the intelligence community. The whistleblower, a C.I.A officer, according to the New York Times, raised concerns over communication between President Trump and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy. The report has not been deemed urgent by the Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, which makes many left-leaning writers suspect a cover-up.
For decades to come, we’ll remember April 18 as a day of infamy: the day that the Mueller report dropped. The Mueller report will be memorialized for being as important to American political history as Watergate and as shocking as the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal. Just kidding. In a few months — and definitely by the 2020 election — I doubt anyone is going to care. But it shouldn’t be that way.
Maybe Jean Baudrillard was right, and the system is accelerating toward implosion. Information in the 21st century is easily dispersed and produced, but at what cost? I’m a long-time politics junkie, binging political information like new episodes of a TV show. But I kept this spring break relatively information-free, and it has done wonders for my stress levels and mental health. Instead of keeping up with hour-by-hour updates, I limited myself to skimming the occasional article and glancing at news notifications.
Time and time again, centrist media pundits have used their platforms to bemoan President Donald Trump’s crudity. They wax nostalgic about the good old days of “respectable Republicans,” harking back to a fictional recent past in which “honorable men” from both parties ruled the country. Such venerable men include the likes of war criminal former president George W. Bush, America’s Butcher of Baghdad. At least this good Christian man didn’t spew vulgarities and tweet-storms while authorizing massacres in the Middle East, right? When the Cornell Republicans announced their intent to invite former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to campus, we can’t say that we were surprised.
Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a new dueling columns feature. In this feature, Michael Johns ’20 and Giancarlo Valdetaro ’21 debate, “Forty years after the Iranian Revolution, what posture should the U.S. take on the Islamic Republic?” Read the counterpart column here. A nation of over 80 million people, Iran has been a belligerent boogeyman for U.S. politicians to rail against ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and ensuing Iran Hostage Crisis. In the four decades since, the response to this initial attack on U.S. citizens and its continuing rhetorical accompaniments has ranged from aiding Iraq in a war against their Farsi-speaking neighbors to sending humanitarian aid to those same neighbors in the wake of a December 2003 earthquake. Today, as President Trump meets in Vietnam for a summit with the totalitarian leader of North Korea, another oppressive regime posing a nuclear threat to the U.S. and its allies across the globe, he and the U.S. foreign policy establishment should recognize that protecting Americans and liberating Iranians are not mutually exclusive aims. In fact, by rejoining the Iran deal, the U.S. can not only reduce the threat of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, but can drastically improve the chances of Iran’s population achieving the democracy they have so long deserved.
Cornell Hillel invited Haberman to campus, where she will speak to about her “remarkably informed perspective on President Trump,” and “examine his influence on key issues affecting all Americans and his battles with the American press.”