The Oberlin Review

Congress Votes to Invade Privacy

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

April 7, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

In a frightening shift toward the dystopian, Congress recently voted to kill vital protections for internet privacy, with President Donald Trump officially approving the bill Monday. These protections, approved at the end of Obama’s term but not yet enacted, would have been the only line of defense against those who wished to keep their personal information classified. Now, internet providers will not need our consent before collecting and sharing our data, including browsing histories, geo-locations and even the contents of our online identities. This data will be sold in aggregate to advertisers, who will use it to target ads more specifically to internet users. This effectively puts our personal information up for...

Drop in International Applications Reflects Political Shift

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

March 31, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

One of the harsh realities faced by many in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election is that the United States is not a friendly country. Until Election Day, political rhetoric about the U.S. being a country of immigrants, a cultural “melting pot” was common. Ostensibly, a lot of people — particularly white people — bought into that narrative of the U.S. as a welcoming place. Now, as national immigration and travel policy shifts drastically, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue that the U.S. is truly open to all. Xenophobia has come to dominate political discourse in both Washington and in our local communities. Trump is moving to close our borders and increasingly isolate the U.S. from ...

Red Tent Chapter Reaches Beyond Name

Jackie Brant, Columnist

March 31, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Many students around the country are facing increased levels of political and social distress in the wake of the tumultuous presidential election and subsequent increase in hate crimes. In response to this, juniors Hannah Cook and Caitlin McCuskey are seeking to build a safe space for women and nonbinary people on campus through their efforts to officially charter Oberlin’s Red Tent Foundation chapter at the College. The Red Tent Foundation is a national organization named for the tradition of requiring women to gather in red tents during menstruation in certain early Jewish customs. During these times of exclusion, women developed strong bonds of friendship, support and unity among themselves. The Red Tent Founda...

Activists Must Tackle Bigotry on Local Level

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Donald Trump’s presidency endangers many people in the United States, citizens and non-citizens alike. Over the past week and a half, this threat has materialized in a very real way for the Oberlin and greater Lorain County communities. Earlier this month, a swastika and hate speech were carved into the door of a synagogue in Lorain. A Facebook page called Oberlin Illegal Immigrant Tipline began encouraging people to report undocumented immigrants in our community. These dehumanizing acts of hate are local, immediate examples of how Trump’s rhetoric is inciting violence in increasingly personal and intense ways. We as a country put a virulent racist in the White House, and now we’re seeing the impact of that...

Global Redistribution of Wealth Could End Poverty

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The futurists once had a dream: Through technological advancement, all of humanity’s needs would someday be provided for automatically, leaving us free to pursue our passions and aspirations. In the 1930s, for example, economist John Keynes predicted that his grandchildren — now the people of today’s workforce — would need to work a mere 15 hours a week, and their descendents would work even less. Someday, according to this dream, everyone would have a home, enough food to eat and the resources to cultivate ourselves into the very best people we could be, unhindered by a rat race for basic necessities. And then, miraculously, technology surpassed these expectations. In the United States alone, empty homes...

Emotional Focus Puts Facts Second in Politics

Amber Scherer, Columnist

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Since the election, President Donald Trump’s opponents have struggled to find their role in the new era. Political norms seem irrelevant and liberals are struggling to make themselves heard. Two weeks ago in the Review, Will Cramer suggested that activists rely on intuition over facts to make arguments, particularly in regard to immigration reform (“Immigration Raid Discourse Requires Moral Intuition,” Feb. 24, 2017). I agree that appealing to people’s compassion and morality can be persuasive. I also share in Cramer’s frustration about the cold, empirical politics of establishment Democrats. But this perspective, fairly prevalent among Oberlin progressives, could exacerbate the anti-truth trend in American...

Internet Levels Authority in Media Industry

Ben Silverman, Columnist

March 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The New York Times ran an ad during the Oscars two weeks ago, featuring the words “The truth is…” followed by various assertions made by political candidates and pundits over the past year. The final line read “The truth is hard.” The commercial is part of a new Times campaign painting the newspaper as a protector of truth, with other billboards and online ads featuring the word “truth” in bold with the byline “it's more important now than ever” or “it needs your support.” The campaign is a reaction to the “fake news” debacle that gained attention following Trump’s win, as well as an attempt to regain ground now that President Donald Trump has commandeered the term “fake news” to disc...

Progressives Learn From Tea Party

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

March 3, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

Democrats have a tough time getting into the trenches. This has been clear from the beginning of the Obama era, when the Tea Party was able to thwart a number of progressive policy initiatives, despite being a political minority. It became frustratingly apparent when Senate Republicans successfully blocked federal Justice Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for an unprecedented 293 days. Facing partisan impediments at nearly every turn over the past eight years, congressional Democrats chose to take the high road. They chose to place their faith in the system, believing that if only they could weather the storm, the ship would right itself, and the Republican Party would be exposed and punished for the...

Student Senate Strives to Centralize Activism

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

February 17, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS, Student Senate

This op-ed is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, Student Senators provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. Student Senate is an inherently political body. Former Student Senator and College sophomore Kameron Dunbar wrote an op-ed for the Review last December about Senate’s role as a political actor, including its freedom to take preemptive action and stances on contentious issues on and off campus (“Senate Activism Vital to Political Resistance,” Dec. 2, 2016). Now, almost three months later, it has become obvious that Student Senate has embraced that role and will continue moving forward as a political b...

Russian Connections Warrant Investigation

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Opinions Editor

February 17, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

One of the most disturbing stories to come out of the brutal 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle was that Russian operatives, publicly encouraged by then-candidate Donald Trump, had allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to tip the scales towards Trump, a much more pro-Russia candidate than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In the wake of the election, significant evidence has emerged of further inappropriate actions by Trump’s campaign team and Russia — actions that could easily be characterized as treasonous. On Tuesday, for example, The New York Times published a story revealing private contact between Russian intelligence officials and senior members of Trump’s team, incl...

To Enable Social Mobility, Start Before College

Ben Silverman, Columnist

February 10, 2017

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

A study by The Equality of Opportunity Project recently featured in The New York Times painted a dramatic picture of the socioeconomic statuses of students in elite colleges and universities: Students from the top economic 1 percent outnumber those from the bottom 60 percent at 38 top U.S. colleges, and most others are barely more equitable. The study is a reminder of the work left to do to expand access to higher education after centuries of restriction to the highest classes. Since the 1960s, there have been a string of measures to encourage socioeconomic diversity in higher education, including affirmative action and the Pell grant for low-income students. But the intentions of the ’60s seem to have been washed...

Dakota Access Pipeline Latest Case of Environmental Racism

Russell Jaffe, Columnist

December 2, 2016

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

While many students were preparing themselves for a Thanksgiving full of feasting and celebrating with loved ones Nov. 21, law enforcement officers at Standing Rock were assaulting protesters with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been assaulted, terrorized and arrested since April for exercising its right to peacefully protest against the unethical construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, designed to serve as a key link between the state’s oil wells, was originally mapped to cut through Bismarck, ND — an area with more than 92 percent white residents as of the 2010 census — but was instead rerouted through tribal nations. The U.S. Army Corps of...

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