Member of Indian Parliament Rahul Gandhi Talks Politics, Democracy at Einaudi Center Event

On Tuesday, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies hosted Rahul Gandhi in conversation with Prof. Kaushik Basu, economics —  exploring how governments can preserve democracy in the face of the pandemic, power vacuums and increasing partisanship. Gandhi is a prominent member of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament, and previously served as president of the Indian National Congress party. He is the great-grandson of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a position which his grandmother and father have also held. 

The discussion was open to the Cornell community and was also livestreamed on Facebook. The virtual format has allowed the Cornell South Asia Program to broadcast its programming to a wider audience and for the event to be covered by multiple Indian media outlets. 

“It’s not only people in Ithaca,” said Prof. Daniel Bass, anthropology, who serves as manager of the South Asia Program. “We’ve also had people attending our events from all across South Asia as well as Europe and Australia.”

The event was organized by the Einaudi Center’s South Asia Program and came about thanks to Basu.

LORENZEN | Political Debate Fatigue

There was a time when I loved to debate about politics. Whether it was making idealistic points like a low-budget Aaron Sorkin wannabe while dressed to the nines as a high school debater, casually arguing with friends while eating Louie’s well past midnight or participating in the web of countless cordial and sometimes less than cordial debates which make up Cornell’s political discourse — I loved it all. But these days, I’m not sure that I still do. And I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. I am still fervently dedicated to politics.

FOX | Four Long Years

Well, that was weird. 

At the end of this semester, I will graduate –– four years of hard work and good times and everything else we love to call college. For many or most of us, these were our most formative years to date. And this was our president. 

My parents experienced college under the leadership of George H. W. Bush. Others had Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. It is of course worth noting that the Republican Party has been run for decades by grifters hellbent on squeezing America’s poor to enrich the already-wealthy, to the detriment of the economy as a whole.

GUEST ROOM | Cornell Must Put Pressure on Saudi Arabia to End War in Yemen

On Feb. 5, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would finally withdraw American support for the war in Yemen, effectively ending American support for the Saudi-led coalition that has been committing genocide upon the Yemeni people. In addition, Biden announced that he would suspend arms trades to the Saudis as punishment for the 100,000 civilian deaths (as well as 85,000 children), caused by the coalition’s blockade of the country, the intense bombing of civilian locations such as hospitals and a man-made famine. The civil war in Yemen has been ongoing for close to seven years, starting between the government of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebel movement. Tensions were precipitated by the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, part of the Arab Spring, where rebels led by Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi boycotted a single-candidate election orchestrated by Hadi.

Samilow | Senate Democrats’ Foolish Filibuster Gambit

With the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-G.A.) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-G.A.) on January 20, Democrats took control of the Senate for the first time in six years. 

Holding united control of the federal government for the first time in a decade, many Democrats have pushed to eliminate the Senate’s legislative filibuster, which effectively requires 60 votes to pass most legislation. If Democrats do not do away with the filibuster to allow legislation to pass by simple majority, most of their priorities will die in the Senate. In the Senate Democratic Caucus, only Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-A.Z.) have stated that they are categorically opposed to invoking the so-called “nuclear option.” While their stubborn stance has infuriated some Democrats, Manchin and Sinema are likely saving the party from an impulsive, ill-advised power play.Senate Democrats weren’t always in favor of eliminating the filibuster. In April 2017, when Republicans held the White House, Senate and House, 61 senators, representing a majority of the Democratic Caucus, signed a letter supporting maintaining the 60-vote threshold and preserving the rights of the minority. 

Over the course of the Trump administration, the filibuster was continually invoked to thwart the Republican agenda, holding up everything from border wall funding to abortion restrictions. It is only now that Democrats are in the majority, that they claim the filibuster needs to go.

Justice for Black Farmers Act: A Quantum Leap Forward or a Misguided Step Back?

On Nov. 19, 2020, Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-Md., and Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act. This ambituous legislation aims to “address the history of discrimination against Black farmers” and to “prevent future discrimination” within the United States Department of Agriculture, among other objectives. The act has since been endorsed by over 100 organizations, including the National Farmers Union, a century-old union of over 200,000 family farms, and Soul Fire Farm Inc., a New York farm at the focal point of the food sovereignty and justice movement. 

The legislation has five distinct titles, arguing for broad civil rights reform within the USDA, the establishment of a land grant program, increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities, sweeping credit assistance and land retention programs and systemic agricultural reforms that prioritize socially disadvantaged farmers. Title II, Section 203 of the Justice for Black Farmers Act has perhaps the most immediate implications for not just Black farmers, but any eligible Black individual across the country.

ONONYE | Block or Unfollow? Losing Friends During the 2020 Election

Raise your hand if you’ve lost a friend or two (or 30!) during this election season. I definitely have. As we finally reach the end of a 2+ year run for the presidency, I can finally reflect on what this election cycle has meant to me. I can list thirty million things, but one of the most significant is that I have lost a few friends. 

Up until the 2020 election run, I really believed that I could be friends with anyone regardless of their political ideology. I had done it my entire life.