Too Early to Choose a Candidate

The 2020 elections are on: Mayor Pete, Biden, Bernie, Warren are a few of the many names making headlines. With the 2020 election getting closer, news outlets everywhere are starting to ponder who will be sitting in the Oval Office as the 46th President of the United States. While the excitement over the next presidential election—especially considering how much attention the last election drew—is understandable, I believe we should wait a little longer before we begin to jump on political trains and choose a candidate.

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Athletes and Freedom of Speech

While everyone was preparing for the Super Bowl, the latest news about athletes and their controversial statements slid under many Americans’ radar. Daniel Radcliffe—or, as many people know him, Harry Potter—tweeted at Tom Brady to take the MAGA hat out of his locker. He was capitalizing on something that happened more than two years ago. Before the 2016 election, then-candidate Donald Trump had sent the hat to Brady. Since the quarterback’s relation to Trump is old news, I found this to be a cheap comment from Radcliffe. It’s also yet another example of people’s many recent objections to political expression by athletes.

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Catalonia: Understanding the Situation in Spain

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.

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Is Joe the New Jack?

Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts delivered the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address last week. Speaking to a small audience in Fall River, Massachusetts, Kennedy elicited a range of responses during CNN’s live Facebook stream. One of the most-liked comments on the stream came from an older man who said he “closed his eyes and heard him.” Other commenters were quick to agree that Joe Kennedy III sounded like his great-uncle, the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

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What You Didn’t See in the News: Myanmar

Last Friday, Hamilton College hosted the Model African Union Conference for the New York Six. The keynote speaker was Adama Dieng, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Genocide Prevention. Mr. Dieng spoke about Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar (formerly Burma) has a population of roughly 53 million people. While its major religion is Buddhism, there are 1.1 million Rohingya in Myanmar, according to a recent article posted by the Qatar-based news organization Al Jazeera. According to the article, the Rohingya are a Muslim-majority ethnic group who have lived in Myanmar for centuries. During his keynote address, Dieng spoke of the mass persecution of the Rohingya peoples . His message was simple: action must be taken. The world cannot stand by and let Myanmar government carry out these atrocities on its own people.

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Common Ground

Among the countless e-mails Hamilton students received last week, one in particular caused me to jump for joy. It told of the availability of a free ticket to “Common Ground featuring David Axelrod and Karl Rove, moderated by Susan Page.” However, my joy quickly turned to apprehension for this coming event when I shared my excitement with another student. The student commented in reply: “Karl Rove really is a terrible person, though”. I was struck by the gravity of this statement. I realized that the event could lead to campus-wide protests.

I remembered the events last year at the University of California-Berkeley as well as our fellow NESCAC school, Middlebury College. Last February, former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at Berkeley. The campus did not respond well to the idea, and a protest resulted that according to a CNN report caused over $100,000 in damage. These protesters “tore down metal barriers, set fires near the campus bookstore and damaged the construction site of a new dorm.” In another case, people at Middlebury blocked Charles Murray, a libertarian and social scientist, from speaking on campus. As a result of another round of “protests,” Murray feared for his safety and a faculty member was seriously injured in an attempt to defend him.

So here we are, Hamilton. There’s no need to sugarcoat it: Our campus is strongly liberal, at least socially speaking. Yes, Karl Rove was a senior advisor to George W. Bush, a Republican. But this essay is not in defense of Mr. Rove’s views. I am not a Republican, and am not stating that I agree with the views of Mr. Rove. What I am trying to say, and warn about using the examples above, is that Mr. Rove has the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The purpose of this event is to allow two of the most prominent minds on each side of our political spectrum to discuss political topics that are tearing our nation apart. It’s also to invite a community of intellectuals to listen, and observe what two giants in the political field have to say. You may not agree with Mr. Rove, and you hopefully won’t always agree with Mr. Axelrod, but hear them out.

Hamilton has a wonderful opportunity to establish a reputation as a left-leaning college that allows free thought and discussion, as opposed to schools like Cal and Middlebury. So I urge you, fellow Hamilton students: Hear them out. Let Wednesday, October 18, 2017 be an evening when Karl Rove and David Axelrod hold an epic debate in the field house. Do not let it be the opener to a New York Times article the next day about an unruly and violent protest.