More people live in tension than in resolution.

Don’t feel like your story has to be resolved before you can tell it to encourage others; people may find comfort in your coeval brokenness.



“This is how the future voted. This is what people 18-25 said in casting their votes. We must keep this flame alight and nurture this vision.” – Eliza Byard

I was actually avoiding writing about the political atrocity that happened last night because honestly, I’m so mind boggled right now, I don’t even think my sentences would mirror coherent English. This is absolutely crazy. This is so insanely absurd.

But this image above is incredibly hopeful, so instead of writing about how a misogynistic sexist hog will reign as the 45th President of the United States and stand in honor among some of the nation’s greatest presidents, this message is going to be one of hope.

I can write hate comments all day, but we don’t have time for that. Let’s be hopeful because this map looks like an ocean of openness and love and not the bloodbath of last night. Let’s be hopeful because these are the people that will be America’s future leaders – the ones who make progress in every direction, in every milestone. I’m hopeful for all the people, especially the young people, who believes in the rights of every individual, and I’m incredibly blessed that our progress as a country hasn’t been devalued. The results of last night’s election is not representative of America, it’s only representative of the white supremacists who voted, and I firmly believe that is not the America I live in. Believe in the people of the greater good – there’s more of them.

And have hope because no one’s done fighting.

“Many times throughout this election season, Donald Trump has proven himself unfit to be president of the United States, and this is precisely why he is the most important candidate.

Trump’s rhetoric is blunt and unrestrained, his demeanor undiplomatic. As commander-in-chief, he would be a national security risk, and his proposed trade policies make him an international economic liability. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Trump has exposed and debunked the greatest fiction to date that both the left and the right claim as fact. According to these experts in fabrication, the election of Barack Obama proves that America is a post-racial society. The American people elected a black man as President. We have supposedly reached the finish line of racial progress.

While Trump is undoubtedly sexist and racist, he is not stupid. Rather, he is a tactful and brilliant opportunist who has managed to captivate the fears of a largely uneducated, poor and rightfully angry white America. It would be wrong and callous for me to suggest that these Americans shouldn’t be angry: American jobs have gone overseas due to the rise of globalization and the economically rational push by multinational corporations to cut costs. The rise of technology and the internet has also contributed to the shrinkage of job opportunities in this country. This problem can be encapsulated in a simple rhetorical question: why pay 10 men and women to do a job when a machine can do it more cheaply and efficiently? Simply put, Americans are realizing that they are woefully unprepared for the workforce and mediocrity will not cut it anymore.

Americans are likewise angry about racial tensions in this country. The “controversy” surrounding affirmative action has brought cases to the Supreme Court involving white plaintiffs arguing that their spots at colleges were taken by minority students. For example, in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, a white woman claimed to have been discriminated against by the university on the basis of race. The university’s “Top 10 Percent Program” guarantees admission to top students in every high school in the state under Texas House Bill 588, and this program has lead to increased diversity. Oddly enough, the plaintiff Abigail Fisher finished in the top 12 percent of her graduating high school class.

Considering this, it is absolutely and objectively absurd that the Fisher v. University of Texas case was able to make it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case serves as a sobering reminder to Americans that the American legal system continues to not only protect but also benefit certain individuals. Our country’s justice system never ceases to amaze — regardless of seemingly counterfactual evidence and confounding circumstance detailed in chapters of our American history.

Trump welcomes the Abigail Fishers of America to his rallies and encourages them to release their anger through racism and bigotry. By doing so, Trump has tacitly recognized that his voter base is fundamentally driven and catalyzed by racial, religious and xenophobic fears. Immigration? Build a wall to stop the Mexicans from coming in and stealing jobs from and killing and raping American men and women. In addition, halt all Muslim immigration until ISIS is nuked. Economic woes? Screw China. Police brutality? Blacks need to stop resisting arrest. These supposed panaceas he proposes are working, at least when it comes to his campaign. In some national polls, he is in a virtual deadlock with his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s use of bigotry and racism as a vehicle for electoral success is not new in American politics. In 1962, former Alabama governor George Wallace, for example, initially rejected the support of the Ku Klux Klan and was eventually endorsed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People instead. Despite the NAACP’s support, however, Wallace lost the gubernatorial election, leading him to instead adopt a hardline segregationist stance — a stance that would eventually help he successfully be elected governor four times. Like Wallace, Trump recognizes how racism is a fundamental fabric sewn so deeply into our country that it determines the fate of politicians.

Thankfully, unlike Wallace in 1962, I do not believe Trump will win this election.

I cannot believe that Trump will win this election.

However, when Trump walks off the stage after his concession speech, I will tip my hat to him. He did America a public service and saved us from believing the fiction that we are past racism, that we are a post-racist society, that we don’t see color. By exposing America’s most carefully bandaged and infected wound, he has now given us the opportunity to further heal and treat a 240 year-old gash in our collective ethos. Even if Trump loses, tens of millions of people will still harbor hateful beliefs and feel they were wronged.

It’s our job not to forget them.

As First Lady Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”

Donald Trump, thank you.”

-Duncan Blair, Dartmouth College

What is the world like when it is experienced, developed and lived from the point of view of difference and not identity? That is what I believe love to be… [it] invents a different way of lasting in life… everyone’s existence, when tested by love, confronts a new way of experiencing time. – Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love

Let someone love you just the way you are — as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.

Just a School

“In life, certain defining, almost metaphysical events divide history into before and after. When I was a high schooler, I had such a moment that came to define my life for two years: I realized I was unhappy and needed a change. I came to chafe at the sprawling and oppressive suburbia of Raleigh, North Carolina, and yearned to trade in the banal hallways of the public high school I attended for something much loftier; I decided I wanted to go to Harvard, and would dedicate the remainder of my high school career to reaching this goal.

This goal, however, required a considerable sacrifice and psychological burden on my behalf. I invested all my energy in maintaining a spotless academic record and preparing myself to score high on standardized tests; I needed to make myself as palatable as possible. The inexhaustible work ethic I developed also served as a double-pronged anesthesia: I dedicated so much energy to my aspiration that I became numb to the world surrounding me, and, in turn, constantly reassured myself that the eventual letter I would receive from Harvard would atone for all that I was missing out on in high school.

It was this simple yet powerful logic that governed my life for two years. In my eyes, only admission and thereafter matriculation at Harvard could validate my purgatorial high school experience. The admission rate was miserably low, so the reward would be proportionately great, I reasoned to myself. In the same vein, I had seen valedictorians in classes before mine apply to no avail, and yearned to be the one who seemingly violated the laws of statistics by receiving the golden ticket to Harvard.

On the surface, it may seem that it was merely petty megalomania that drove my efforts in high school. This interpretation, however, disregards the deeper psychological dynamics that underlay my determination. In the words of David Foster Wallace in his famous “This is Water” speech, “there is actually no such thing as atheism,” since “everybody worships.” This supposition is not about religion so much as the way in which we humans approach our lives; we have a constant tendency to cast our marbles with some sort of higher entity that will enable us to construct some meaning out of our mundane lives, a higher entity that serves as an existential lens whose diffraction dictates our perceptions and day to day experiences.

I chose, perhaps not even consciously, the desire to go to Harvard as my existential lens. This lens, however, served most of all as a shutter. It exempted me from having to make an effort to find friends or to show much regard for my parents, since I had convinced myself that in two years’ time I would be shipping up to Cambridge. It enabled me to spurn the world surrounding me for my hypothetical conception of myself as a Harvard undergraduate.

My far-off aspirations, however, were more than detrimental to my appreciation of the world that surrounded me; they were a delusion. Contrary to my expectations, the stardust in Harvard’s rarefied halls fades after a few months. I do not wake up each morning and pinch myself in order to make sure I am living a Harvard reality rather than a Harvard dream. Granted, I now have 20/20 hindsight, but it was only my admission to and matriculation at Harvard that removed my shutters and allowed me to see past the myopic notion that attending the right college could gratify me on a deep, existential level as nothing ever had before.

Despite the subjectivity of the narrative I present, I think that my story is not uncommon, especially in an age of unprecedented deflation in college admission rates and competition among high schoolers. These factors make it all too tempting for high schoolers to choose admission to an elite college as their existential lens, a choice that both deludes and numbs them.

All of this is not to deny Harvard’s many merits as an elite college. It is truly a place steeped in bright undergraduates and world-class scholars. The benefits of attending Harvard, however, do not go beyond that scope. It is a just school, admittedly a very good one. Nevertheless, it is not and never will be what I hoped it would be for two years: a true raison d’être.”