Category: Politics

Photo Courtesy of Ogawatsusyou

Much like my Uber rating, I am unabashedly proud of my “sensual soundtrack.” I’m sure you’re familiar with the one, lurking in the “secret” section of nearly every millennial’s Spotify. The playlist that magically makes its way to the speakers after a couple of glasses of wine, as the distance on the couch between you and your company slowly vanishes. Crafting that perfect ear aphrodisiac is my strong suit…. or so I thought until I heard my roommate’s concoction drifting through our paper-thin walls.

Delicately titled “I’m Getting Laid”, her playlist is not merely ambiance. No, it is a ballad, taking you on an epic journey that Homer himself would be impressed by. I don’t mean to be blunt, but it is sheer fucking genius. The exposition of her masterpiece begins with the ever so classic Marvin Gaye–and not that Kygo bullshit–but the actual authentic, original, dirty, baby-making music. Drake and 80’s rock hits concoct the rising action and eventually culminate in a conflict of palpable sexual tension accompanied by The Weeknd and The Arctic Monkeys. And finally, the apex of the journey (I would say “climax,” but that’s a bit gauche): it begins with Beyoncé’s “50 Shades of Grey” rendition of Crazy in Love, which is followed by more Weeknd (obviously). It’s truly tantalizing. As things begin to calm down, more soft pop flows from the speakers and spooning eventually transforms into a “boot and rally” of more raunchy R&B. Finally, the actual resolution of soft electronic music as you recover, sinking into your satisfaction.

While I would not follow her prescribed playlist to a T, it is awe-inspiring–a good model for understanding nationalism in today’s world.

Today is the “beginning of the end of nationalism,” as my Danish friend informed me. While I am largely ignorant to the European political scene, I have learned that, apparently, the upcoming elections are demonstrating a tendency to lean away from the more nationalist parties. To be honest, this isn’t surprising.

Like sex-playlists, nationalism is a good impetus for action, yet cannot serve as a solid foundation for the entire apparatus. While it takes different shapes according to the implementing actor, it is largely the same concept worldwide: a heavy emotional pride cloaked in politics. States and sex both have many complex parts synergistically working together, and a faulty reliance on a single apparatus such as nationalism (or a playlist) will likely lead to failure. From Hillary’s desperate attempts at patriotism at the Democratic National Convention, to Le Pen’s decline in popularity, it is evident that success cannot ride on nationalism alone.

While still crucial to the overall success, neither nationalism nor sex playlists, alone can climax in success.  

In the aftermath of President Trump’s election and inauguration, we asked Columbia students how they felt about the next four years. Here’s what they had to say:

 

I still haven’t really fleshed out my ideas, and it will be difficult to truly see how the election affects me until Trump’s presidency gets underway, but at the moment I’m looking at myself and I recognize I’ve enjoyed pretty much every benefit of society: I’m a well-off white male, hardly a target of misogyny or racism, so this result doesn’t affect me, existentially so, like it does my transgender classmate or Hispanic brother-in-law. But it still feels…wrong. And surreal. Yeah, it feels wrong and surreal that half the country aligns themselves with a man who represents the antithesis of many values I stand for and more importantly, the nightmares of millions of people who now how to live in fear. These people, as it is too often forgot, are HUMAN BEINGS and ought to be treated and respected as such, yet their ability to live without fear of harassment and prejudice and racism and sexism has taken a backseat to the specter of an America that becomes less great with every graffitied swastika and bigoted Facebook post.
-Bennett Smith, CC’20

 

 I think that, over the past eight years of Obama’s presidency, progressives have become somewhat complacent, not realizing that the progress we’ve made over the years is far from permanent. I think the election was really a wake-up call for liberals, and shows that, over the next four years, we’re going to have to work hard to overcome our own divisions to protect the gains we’ve made and promote a forward-thinking future. While a figure as contentious as Donald Trump has the potential to sow division, I hope that, over the next four years, progressives can reach out to those who disagree with us to understand where they’re coming from, why they believe what they believe, and whether we can find any common ground. That doesn’t have to happen in the halls of congress or the streets of NYC—it can happen right here on campus, where I think a commitment to empathy, even when uncomfortable, will serve us all well in the long-run.
-Arman Azad, CC’20

 

With the election of Donald Trump, the United States has a special chance to make much needed and unique changes. We’ve elected a man that will always put this nation and its citizens before all else. No party or ideology will come first, the partisan deadlock in Washington will come loose, and government will once again start working for the people. The days of empty rhetoric have passed. The era of real action has arrived. The next four years shine brightly ahead with the promise of new jobs, infrastructure, and investment fueled by reduced taxation and regulation and a renewed sense of faith in and love for this country. The path to a stronger, prouder, brighter America for all Americans, no matter how they identify or where they come from, is clearly set before us. With President Trump in the White House, guided as always by the invisible but all powerful grace of God, no citizen of this mighty land need worry that our Great Nation is in the right hands.
-Dante Mazza, CC ’19

 

As someone whose family still lives in a former USSR country, I’m not optimistic for the next four years given Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia. Trump’s indications that he won’t necessarily fulfill NATO obligations are a threat not to be taken lightly or brushed under the rug as he takes office. Having been in Latvia during the election made it quite clear to me who wanted what: the Latvians overwhelmingly supported Hillary despite being traditionally more conservative, while the ethnically Russian Latvian citizens were pro-Trump. On this front as well as all others, I can only say that the best case scenario is one in which he accomplishes nothing over the next four years.
Molly Mittler, BC ’19

 

The election of this president is emblematic of a bigger issue that encompasses racism, sexism, and xenophobia. The policies that his cabinet and his nominees have stated or even hinted at will transcend those barriers of effect. Donald Trump is obviously different from previous presidents. While the war on drugs destroyed the lives of black people, and while presidential silence on the AIDS crisis echoed the apathy for the death of so many, Trump’s policies will also affect the base that so eagerly voted for him. While I may lose the critical benefits awarded to me by a party that is at least trying, benefits that made many of us apathetic to the horrors that could so easily come from our complacency with the system, the one solace that may possibly console me is that the ignorant, the angry, and the misinformed which so eagerly voted for a demagogue will feel the repercussions of these next four years too. But, in the words of Dylan Thomas, we will not go gentle into that good night. The best of us will pull the country forward kicking and screaming like we have done so many times before. We will work to protect the rights of women, and the rights of minorities, and the rights of those less fortunate through marches, protests, sit-ins, and in the most important way of all, by voting in 2018 and 2020.
-Rafael Ortiz, CC’19

 

The inauguration of Trump makes me uncertain as an immigrant, a black person and a woman. Insecure of how emboldened racists and sexists feel right now with such a man as president for the next four years. I literally have four years before I complete my undergrad and I have never been this involved in American politics because this time it directly affects me. It is definitely interesting to watch how the years will unfold.
-Cynthia Welinga, BC’ 20



I find it disheartening and appalling that many have been defending this presidential outcome as democracy. Though President Trump was elected democratically, the notion of democracy, itself, has been lost. We are dangerously close, if not there already, to a state of tyranny upholding its ways in a veil of democratic values. We, as a nation, have fought hard for the past eight years to reestablish a sense of democracy, equal values and unity within the people. This election puts all we have fought for at risk. “We will not be divided” seems to be a popular response to the election, and I stand by it. However, the division which we must understand is that of the people and the sovereign. Our 45th President does not have interest in his people, but in our nations wealth. A businessman is not fit for president because his interest lies in the acquisition of property and not the well being of his people. He will bring forth this division which we are so strongly trying to avoid. He will bring upon us violence. These are dark times for us all. The misconstrued understanding of anarchy is not to go to war, but to reestablish equality. We must stand strong and fight against this formation of fascism and tyranny.
-Petros Gourgouris, CC’17

 

Although Trump’s message smacked too much of his campaign rhetoric and lacked unity, the inauguration was remarkable. Simultaneously in Gambia, a political transition also took place. But that one only happened because an international coalition forced a tyrant to step down; and it is for that reason–the reliability of the American government and sensibility of the American people–that I’m cautiously optimistic for the next administration.
-Blake Mueller, CC’18

 

Although I am disappointed with the outcome of the election, and the direction the Trump administration seems to be setting out for itself, I take heart in what President Obama said before leaving office. All Americans work together to bring about positive change. This is not a power reserved for one man. That being said, there are many people Trump’s administration affects far more intimately than myself, both in proposed policies and the culture it promotes. It falls on all of us to stand united to protect each other’s rights and liberties. I am hopeful we will do so moving forward. The millions at women’s marches across the world are evidence of our resolve to fight for one another.
-Scott Aronin, CC’15

 

To me, this inauguration represents the culmination of a political strategy of divisive racial discourse, fear mongering, and manipulation of basic facts that has ultimately put a party in power that unabashedly does the bidding of the rich elites of our country while concurrently tricking millions of poor citizens to vote for them. Never before has someone served as president who is the sole embodiment of a rich, white, privileged class who is the enemy of a robust, prosperous, and diverse middle and lower class, and who has continuosly served to divide the American populace and has weakened us as a nation. Reading about the gutting of basic rights in this country such as health care for tens of millions is heartbreaking, but it gives me hope that Columbians and young people across the country and world are not content to allow Donald Trump to systematically strip us of our power and our voice. For the next four years I know that Columbians will be on the front lines of the fight to protect our future from those in the American government who seek to destroy it .
-Adam Buford, CC’19

 

I think we’re going to learn a very hard lesson about idolatry in politics. One we should have learned before.
-Mae Graham, CC’18
If you’d like to submit a piece to the Lion, please email submissions@thecolumbialion.com.

This Trump thing has really been bothering me. I do think he will end up doing a decent job as President, but I believe he is a careless human being. You have said that you don’t condone what he’s said, but take greater issue with Hillary’s actions. That is a position that I find to be completely sound and valid. What I cannot understand is how you admire and respect his character.

The first time this tension began to form in my mind was at the table with your mom, and and you were dismissing his remarks about how he’s treated women around him. The things that he’s bragging about doing — whether he’s done them or not — have been done to me time and time again, both by strangers and men that I know. It creates an atmosphere of fear, contempt and deep, unsettling discomfort. I expect to be harassed by a man at least four times every day. It’s been that way since I was 17 years old – being harassed by men twice and three times my age. I do not feel safe from sexual assault at any point in time. You were around to experience the pain, shock, and lingering trauma of a rape with me– I find it even more relevant that this was done at the hands of a man in a position of professional power over me. You were there to see how often I have to deal with these struggles. I am not an exception – this is a widespread problem. You have seen how pedestrian this rhetoric of men being able to get away with “harmless” actions and words is — how it’s an expectation to just accept it. You wouldn’t accept it. Surely, you wouldn’t accept anything that deeply bothers you and brings anxiety that makes you physically ill for the rest of your life. This has only been happening for a few years, and it’s going to keep happening for more than twenty. Because it’s “funny” and “harmless” and the transgressions themselves can elapse a span of mere seconds, it’s okay.

The fact that this is something that has affected my life so heavily and acutely during the time we’ve been together made it feel like you weren’t standing up for me and the millions of women that are expected to just take whatever treatment is dealt to them because to millions of men, this patronizing harassment is something to brag about and applaud. Then it began to dawn on me that perhaps, you don’t even think that this is a problem, let alone that it’s something that should and needs to change. That is a hard thing for me to accept for the rest of my life. It feels fundamentally important for this to be taken seriously. In essence, it was your joy for him that unsettled me. Please do not confuse this with you being joyful that the election resulted in his favor. It’s that you’re happy FOR HIM. That you are not merely complacent about this man being cast as a hero but that you are happy. That this isn’t something you’re accepting as a necessary decision for the country because no one has any idea what he actually wants to do with it. You like him, and that disgusts me. It makes me feel sick to think about it, which is why I’ve been trying to keep my distance the past few days.

I love you very much, but I’m also deeply troubled by this tugging notion that you don’t grasp the magnitude of how certain things, which are completely within the realm of possibility to change, affect my life at the structural and systemic levels. I don’t know that you even know/acknowledge that they exist at the systemic and structural levels. Your comment that if you were raised in a low-income, inner city, high crime community, you would observe the unproductive behavior of your parents and the adults around you and work very hard to have a 4.0 to get a scholarship and go to college just illuminated how blind you could be to what it’s like to actually have those circumstances shape your life and opportunities. “Those people need to be shot,” you said.  They already get shot every day. It’s true that you can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves, but society isn’t effectively and equally equipping people to help themselves. That is just a fact.

However, the rural poor, the urban poor, the profitization of prisons – I don’t know if these things matter to you at all, and it is entirely important to me and what I want to do with my life – purpose and instilling it in others. Do you want to do that or do you only want to blame them and resign yourself to the idea that these people are irredeemable and should live out the next ten, thirty, fifty years of their life wasting as something less than people?

I believe in God’s plan. For this country, for its citizens, for Donald Trump. I believe that the people who society is dismissing and discarding were created by God and are just as important as I am. I believe that every single human was designed with God’s hand and meticulous attention. I believe that anyone can lose their way and make a mess of their lives and the lives of the people around them. If someone is alive after that point of failure or mistake or evildoing, there will still be years of existence that can take the form of more good or more evil. Nevertheless, there will be more experiences – which are opportunities to grow. I believe that we are resilient creatures and that people can come back from anything.

These things have been weighing heavily on my mind because I love you so much and I do want to plan a future with you, but I’m only 20-years-old and my future is just beginning to take shape. The delay in expressing my feelings is due to my own anxiety – fear of bringing these feelings up and having you think that I see you as completely unsupportive of me. None of these issues are individual; they’re issues of idealism. You are the most understanding guy I know and you have strong opinions so I wanted to have mine formed in an organized manner. You take care of me so well and understand me as a human being. I love you so much.

Jacie Goudy is a third year student in Columbia College (2018) double majoring in History and Political Science. She is especially interested in the comparative study of social factors on the political economy between Eastern and Western societies.

 The Lion is the only campus publication with an open-submissions policy. To respond to this op-ed or to submit one of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com

A brief note to people who voted for Trump to preserve their ‘conservative religious values’:

I am a devout (Brethren) Christian. I always look to preserve my religious values (which may be considered conservative) when I vote. Always. And I firmly believe that a Trump vote does not embody this.

When I look for a candidate who preserves my Christian values, I don’t look for if they oppose certain ‘taboo’ sins as considered by popular culture – but if they exemplify what a Christian is by showing a Christ-like love. This person is not Donald Trump. So please do not try to disguise your racist bias under your so called pursuit of Christ. Above all Jesus calls us to love him and one another (Matthew 22:36-40). His second greatest commandment is to love another and I would like to know how you believe Donald Trump is pursuing this doctrine.

I can see how coming from your place of (presumably white) privilege you can overlook his other flaws because nobody is perfect and you are pro-life above all. I’d just like to add that I’m very pro-life. Pro-life as in the lives of millions of immigrants (documented and undocumented) who fear for their safety, millions of LGTBQ who fear for their safety, millions of people of color (like me) who fear for their safety, millions of AMERICANS who fear for their safety. Pro-life as in the lives of millions of Americans who do not feel the love of Christ from someone you voted for. Someone you voted for to uphold your ‘conservative religious values’ which to me are ‘conservative values that are not at all religious but definitely borderline racist’.

So please, do not continue to spread the lie that your vote for Donald Trump was a vote to uphold your religious beliefs. Do not be fooled: your vote for Trump was not a vote for Christianity. It was a vote that supported Trump, as a sexually immoral, misogynistic, racist bigot. It was a vote for someone who definitely does not uphold Christian values.

The author proclaims to have ‘a conservative mind but liberal views’ because she believes that above all – Christians need to show Christ’s love first. She is a first year student of color at Columbia College for now, but like may students is considering transferring to McGill or really any other school in Canada if Trump becomes the misogynistic, racist leader he portrayed himself as being during the election. She is constantly praying for the state of this country (and is low key happy that she is not an American at this point in time).

On Tuesday, we elected a man who had double-digit sexual offense accusations to be our 45th president. We elected a man as President who repeatedly spoke of groping women and called them “pigs” and “slobs.” We  elected a racist and misogynistic man president, instead of a competent and experienced woman.

This makes me sick to my stomach.

Being a girl in the United States today means being constantly taken for a sack of meat. It means frat boys at the entrance of parties only letting girls enter  – and only the ones who they deem to be “hot” enough – so that brothers can maintain their monopoly on women. It means having to justify not wanting to sleep with this or that boy. It means having to explain why you don’t want to be grabbed by the ass by a boy you barely know. It means being called a slut or a bitch because you refused to go on a date or to sleep with a certain guy. It means having to put your headphones in and your chin up when you walk down the street to tune out the constant harassment.

Growing up a girl means being sexualized before you even understand what that means. It means checking with your father, mother, brother, or best friend about whether that skirt is long enough for you to wear outside. It means the constant “do I look skanky?” and “will I get in trouble?” It means having to second-guess yourself in the mirror every day to make sure you aren’t “provoking” anything or “asking for it.”

This isn’t about the glass ceiling, equal pay for equal work, or academic and professional discrimination. This is about how we relate to our identities and our bodies, about what it means to grow up a girl.

I consider myself a feminist, and yet, I find myself falling into the trap of all these accusations. I find myself wondering whether I was really right to refuse that date, whether it was really okay for me not to go back home with that boy. Boys and men have disrespected me more times than I can count. I have been called a slut for not going along with what a guy was asking of me a shameful number of times. Like this, myself and millions of other women walk on eggshells to avoid the stigma of oversexualization. We keep our eyes down and pull down our skirts not to be noticed, and we fight off unwanted gestures as swiftly as possible.

We all suffer from this, girls and boys, who play along with the trend to appear “tough,” yet we keep quiet. Yet again, yesterday we elected a misogynistic man to preside over this country. We elected someone who not only exposes and embraces the entire array of sexual violence – from harassment to assault – that we face every day, but also legitimizes it. On Tuesday, 53% of white women voted for a man who considers them nothing more  than objects.

We have normalized sexual violence to such an extent that it has become imperceptible. We hide behind our libertarian ideas of hookup culture, drink an extra shot and assume everything is fine. We forget the rapes, the unwanted touching, the gross comments, and, most of all, the pressure. The pressure to pretend that everything is okay, that we are young and free and so is our sexuality. We blame each other for being stuck up, for not playing along.

I firmly believe that this is fundamentally wrong. I also believe that this wrong will only be fixed when we all stand behind our female role models and help them lead. Until we trust our fellow women enough to stand with them and fight against this image. Until we all stand together and fight everyday sexist violence, until we realize it is not normal, we will not be able to change anything.

Ana is a junior in the School of General Studies majoring in MESAAS.

The Lion is the only campus publication with an open-submissions policy. To respond to this piece or to submit one of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com.