Edit desk: Time to wake up

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Saad Monsoor

When I remember moving to Lehigh from the Middle East last summer, I think of something I said to myself on the first day of classes:

“I finally made it.”

I was going to do my best to fulfill my version of the so-called “American Dream.”

However, over a year later, the reality is completely different. All of the things I envisioned, like a thriving career on Wall Street and an apartment in Manhattan, seem unreachable.

The current political landscape of the country has made me reconsider what I’m doing. I don’t want to live in a country where a vast majority of its residents are so divided in their core beliefs that they can’t even do what’s best for the greater good.

Both liberals and conservatives are to blame for America’s current situation. The right can’t stop blaming the left, and vice versa.

The divide between these two groups has only increased since Donald Trump was sworn into office just eight months ago — to me, it feels like Trump has been president for much longer.

He is the most polarizing president in history, targeting and belittling people over social media daily while simultaneously governing the most powerful nation in the world.

Trump has made some questionable remarks before, and during, his presidency. The worst was when he defended white nationalists in the Charlottesville attacks by saying, “You had some very fine people on both sides.”

The fact that elites and a vast majority of the right still support his actions baffles me.

Meanwhile, the left can’t seem to stop criticizing the right for the simple fact that they either voted for Trump or consider themselves Republicans.

The Democratic party’s ignorance has resulted in the Republican party’s control of the White House, Senate and House for the second time since 1929. The Republican party’s dominance extends to most state legislatures and governments across the nation. Twenty states across the country are at least two-thirds Republican.

The left should instead spend time trying to understand other people’s perspectives on important issues. They should try working with Republicans on passing major legislation rather than gridlocking them on every corner.

The media has played an equally influential role in turning people against each other with their rhetoric. Trump consistently calls news networks such as CNN and NBC News “fake news” and has declared them “the enemy of the American people.”

To defend themselves, liberally-biased media try to do everything in their power to undermine the president and, at times, twist his words to get their messages across. Conservatively-biased media does the opposite, trying their best to defend the president and find ways to deflect negative attention.

The political tensions throughout the country have also influenced life on college campuses.

The country has seen an increase in the number of protests condemning policies set forth by the Trump administration. Members of the Lehigh community recently showed their support for “Dreamers” at a rally held by DACA defenders.

A petition to rescind Donald Trump’s honorary Lehigh degree has already amassed almost 31,000 signatures, further highlighting the campus’ divide and disapproval of the president.

It is important to realize the actions of some prominent members of the left and the right are not how most Americans want their country to be represented.

About 46 percent of eligible voters didn’t participate in this past election. A record 77 percent of Americans perceive the country as divided.

Media outlets aren’t helping either — they seem to be focused on spreading their agendas.

Most Americans want to move on and unite the country rather than fight with one another. One of the only positive aspects of our political climate is the level of Americans’ political awareness.

The United States is currently experiencing the effects of several catastrophic hurricanes that have cost the country billions of dollars, but the administration still denies finding a permanent solution to help slow down climate change. Matters like these suggest a necessary change is needed in the operations of this political system.

As college students, we should start pushing for change at campuses across the country. We should stand united and spread the message of unity and tolerance. We should encourage conversation on topics where people have contrasting opinions.

It is time to wake up and fight for an America that is not split in its values, an America where hatred and bigotry are condemned and not accepted, and an America where the actions of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis are punished.

I want to regain the confidence that got me to the United States in the first place.

Saad Monsoor, ’20, is an assistant lifestyle editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]

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2 Comments

  1. So the argument is that the DACA rally should not have happened because it’s “polarizing”? A petition about the president not meeting the values of the Principles of our Equitable Community simply should not be discussed?

    I’m sure the organizers of these events were interested in “unity and tolerance.” I’m not sure how you want people impacted by DACA to respond when their entire lifestyle in the United States is imminently threatened. It is a very personal question for these people, it’s not a political talking point. It’s not the kind of issue that can be solved through talk alone.

    America’s pluralistic government is literally designed for interest groups to spar with one another in order to get their needs met. DACA recipients come from an oppressed group in the U.S. and therefore need to engage in activities like protesting in order to have their voices heard. This is how the system is supposed to work.

  2. I made a comment countering some of the points in this article and it seems to have been deleted. This seems antithetical to an article about “encourag[ing] conversation on topics where people have contrasting opinions.”

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