This week, Americans go to the polls to decide the composition of the next Congress. President Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton two years ago generated a surge of political engagement on both sides. Because this political fervor continues, the 2018 election has been perhaps the most highly anticipated midterm of our lifetimes.
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people worldwide. In 2014, there was an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that killed about 11,000 people in less than three years. In the United States, we seem to have a cultural fascination with infectious diseases. Box office hits like “Contagion” and “Outbreak” evidence the hold they have on our collective imagination.
Last week, The Monitor published “The Inherent Immorality of the Republican Party.” I urge my readers−Democratic, Republican, and otherwise−to look over that article, if they have not already. In it, Evan Weinstein argues that Republicans or at least conservatives “have always been morally deficient.” Unable to comprehend how Republicans can hold views that he feels are morally debased while being seemingly kind and caring, Mr. Weinstein is left puzzled.
Mr. Weinstein and I, and likely many others, agree that President Trump is amoral. The president’s infamously repugnant attitude toward women alone is enough to corrode his moral credibility. It is, however, an unsubstantiated overgeneralization to claim that “Republicans tend to be less friendly and empathetic to those with racial or economic or gender differences.” Such a logical leap seems based more on feeling than serious consideration of Republican or conservative principles.
Brett Kavanaugh’s recent appointment to the Supreme Court makes him the fifth justice who generally believes in Constitutional Originalism. Like its chief theoretical rival, Living Constitutionalism, Originalism has many nuances. Justice Kavanaugh’s understanding of it will by no means always result in the same rulings as Justice Thomas’s. All Originalists, however, consider themselves bound by the meaning of the text.
We usually remember Richard Nixon as the flawed 37th president, responsible for the notorious Watergate scandal. As a result, we often overlook his political successes. Despite his moral opaqueness, Nixon proved to be a shrewd and effective politician, adept in foreign policy, and able to captivate the American people. Going toe to toe with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev on the merits of capitalism might not have been the hallmark of his political life, but it helped gain him notoriety. Nixon’s “Kitchen Debate” with Khrushchev on July 24, 1959 introduced the nation to his talent in foreign affairs and served as a stepping stone in his career.
Flannery O’Connor was a remarkable 20th-century American writer of startling, strange, and sometimes violent short stories and novels set in the rural South. In the last year of her too-short life, she worked between medical treatments and hospitalization, writing and correcting the last draft of “Revelation,” one of her final short stories. It remains a well-crafted masterpiece, the culmination of all she intended to say about the fallen human condition and the power of grace to pierce through the veil and open your eyes to yourself and those around you.
On October 1 of last year, as most Hamilton students were preparing for midterms, civil unrest and violence broke out in Catalonia, the northeastern region of Spain, as a constitutionally illegal referendum shocked one of Europe’s largest countries. The news did not have a big impact in the United States, and understandably so. The Catalan independence referendum occurred on the same day as the worst mass shooting in American history, when Stephen Paddock killed 58 people in Las Vegas. On October 2, many news outlets reported the vote and unrest in Spain, but it took a necessary back seat to a story which news outlets had to cover for the American public. And with that, the Catalonian events soon faded away from America’s attention. I must admit that I too brushed aside the referendum in light of the massacre in Las Vegas.
Hamilton deserves praise for Common Ground, the new series aimed at bringing together distinguished individuals from across the political divide to engage, with the help of a moderator, in civil discussion about some of today’s most controversial topics. Last year, Common Ground focused more on the speakers than on subjects for debate. Hamilton could expand this platform by making ideas, not just the guests, central to it.
As a woman, I am always heartened at the sight of seemingly heroic advocacy groups battling on behalf of women against injustice at the hands of unscrupulous men, whether in the world of business, Hollywood, or politics. Sadly, however, the reality that such valor has nothing to do with truth or standing up for women checks my initial optimism. Too often it is a cynical charade employed as a political tactic to promote one party and damage the other.
Before you dismiss me as a republican and a Trump supporter: I am neither. I am a registered Independent who did not vote for Trump. My views vary issue-to-issue -- some are more conservative and some are liberal. But hypocrisy and exploitation are intolerable, regardless of the perpetrator.
It is all too easy to propagate a one-dimensional view of the South, a mistake made by New York Times contributing opinion writer Wajahat Ali in his recent piece “This Ramadan, I’ll Try Praying For Enemies, Friends, Frenemies, and Kanye West.”
Nikita Khrushchev, the peasant-born Soviet leader who rose to succeed Stalin, is well known for instigating the Cuban Missile Crisis. People might not know, however, that he loved corn. His infatuation with corn forced the Soviet Union on an agricultural crusade that would disappoint him almost as much as the missile crisis humiliated him. Khrushchev, desperately needing to increase the Soviet food supply and facing competition with the United States, implemented reforms to elevate corn as the new crown jewel of the masses that would fulfill their demand for meat and dairy products. At the end of the day, his efforts showcased political ineptitude and short-sightedness more than they fostered progressive, beneficial change.
Venmo is every college student’s best friend. The mobile payment application offers users a convenient and safe method of exchanging money -- especially helpful for young adults who are constantly on the go. The influence of technology has undeniably changed overall perceptions of mobile payments. A decade ago, there is no doubt, people would have scratched their heads at the idea of paying someone back with their phones. The ease and consistency of Venmo makes it appealing to the younger generation, ensuring the continued dominance of mobile payment systems.