I’m baffled. I’m appalled. I hope the majority of Americans are as well. Last Friday evening, a rally that Donald Trump scheduled in Chicago was canceled and tensions between protesters and his supporters reached incredible new heights. As expected, the newscasters began asking, “Was Trump to blame for the violence we were seeing?”
This Wednesday, representatives from the Democratic Union Party (also known as PYD) announced their intentions to declare a federal region in Northern Syria. This news came as the UN Peace Talks over Syria continued, and it is impactful because it may pose negative repercussions on the current ceasefire and diplomatic talks in Geneva. More specifically, it may bode more issues for an already embattled Turkey. Turkey has had high tensions with the Kurds ever since its establishment as a republic in 1923. There have been a variety of massacres or injustices committed against the Kurdish people in Turkey and this past, coupled with new problems arising from the Syrian Civil War, has led often to violence between the two groups in recent years.
Everyone has something to say about Donald Trump. People tell me that Trump is winning because Americans are angry. Political pundits on both sides of the partisan aisle agree on this point. But why are people angry? Like Trump, some of them are racist, xenophobic, sexist, nativist and many other unpleasant things.
Arbitrarily, the entire premise of college is to expand one’s knowledge of the world and gain new perspective, both of which can be inhibited without open, uncensored dialogue about controversial topics. While such topics can be difficult to digest for many individuals, certain provoking topics such as sexual assault, cancer and war are the brutal realities of the world in which we live. Although it is not innately effortless to immerse oneself in discussion related to such matters, it is vital that students participate to broaden their educations and perspectives. Thus, while professors should be mindful of the ways they expose students to controversial materials (and perhaps caution students of universally graphic material), they should not be required to administer trigger warnings or options to “opt out” of “triggering” topics. College is not the time nor the place to evade disconcerting topics; allowing students to disengage with materials on the basis that they are not rationally capable of handling such discussions is inimical.
Over the weekend, Republican candidate Donald Trump was forced to deal with increasingly negative publicity pointed at his primary campaign, as more moderate and “establishment” Republicans grow increasingly concerned about Trump’s likely nomination as their presidential candidate. Trump’s campaign continues to snag at every turn: within the past week, his rally in Chicago was cancelled due to clashes between protesters and supporters inside the venue, and his campaign manager was accused of grabbing a reporter from conservative news site Brietbart so hard that he left bruises on her arm. Both the media and members of his party are accusing him, almost everyday, of being a liar, a racist and an instigator of violence. And yet, remarkably, Trump still won the majority of the delegates awarded in the March 15 primaries, including the 99 delegates Florida gave out in a winner-take-all style. It has become distressingly clear that Trump’s supporters are with him for the long haul and are not likely to be swayed by his aggressive, hostile or discriminatory statements and actions.
As the months of March and April loom by, the hearts of students in India fill with dread, anxiety and terror. These months mark the peak of final exam season. For high school seniors, this season is the worst, as it not only induces immense stress but also huge bouts of nostalgia for the school years gone by. As a college freshman, it seems almost unbelievable that a year ago, I was in the same shoes as present-day high school seniors. To be quite honest, I feel like an entirely new person.
Ailis is writing solo this week! Today, I’m writing about two small musical events in Ithaca last week: Traditional Irish Music + $1 PBR Tuesdays at Ruloff’s and a Friday night gig at 116 Cook Street featuring Ithaca’s Modern Hut and Shore Acres Drive alongside New York’s Fraternal Twin and New Jersey’s Long Beard. Ruloff’s Traditional Irish Tuesday was a nice way to start off the week. Excellent musicians of all ages got together for a traditional chéile session where anyone can come and go as they please. The session took place in the basement section of Ruloff’s, away from the noisy youth upstairs.
It’s especially scary when, on the front page of the news, there’s a mugshot of someone you frequently see in your dorm, the dining hall, parties or classes being charged with rape. My heart goes out to the courageous women who survived these ordeals and rightfully reported them. Whenever I hear about these terrible crimes, I cannot ignore the small voice that says, “it could have been you.” Sexual harassment is happening to us individually on the daily, even if we do not realize it, and we must realize this in order to truly help others. Wolf-whistling, cat-calling and lurid up-and-down gazes are so commonplace that most women just brush them off and move on but such sexual gestures indicate that regarding women as sexual objects still persists. Furthermore, it may seem like the recent highly-publicized Wolfgang Ballinger and Xavier Eaglin rape crimes are isolated exceptions within a peaceful, liberal and crime-free campus but the shocking fact is that 5% of women on college campuses in America are victims of rape or attempted rape every year (Kilpatrick, Resnick, Riggierio, Conoscenti, & McCauley, 2007; American College Health Association, 2013).
When I went home for winter break and saw The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog broadcasting on television for the twentieth time since its first airing in 2005, I still felt the nostalgia that only certain dramas can evoke in me. The plot is quite cliché and unrealistic at times, but it is one of those classic dramas that unknowingly makes you accept the impossible for the hour that it broadcasts just so you can immerse yourself in the romantic fantasy of the drama. As expected, The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog revolves around the love story between a poor girl and a rich man – you know the gist. But their relationship is actually much more complicated than you think, with Shan Jun Hao, the CEO of a hotel chain, constantly getting into accidents and losing his memory and Ye Tian Yu, an ambitious gold digger, falling in love with the contrived identity she gave Jun Hao when he first loses his memory. Not to mention, Jun Hao was already engaged with his childhood friend Fan Yun Xi when he falls in love with Tian Yu after Tian Yu takes care of him while he remains clueless about his own past.
Life can be frustrating. Things don’t always go according to plan. People let you down, the future seems uncertain, demands pile up and stress invades your life. You start to beat yourself up over mistakes. Life loses its shine.