JFMK School of Government
Thanksgiving break is such a tease. Family, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and the annual decorations of Christmas trees provide a taste of the stress-free holiday environment awaiting those who make it through finals period. But the halcyon time mere weeks away can feel unreachable with the endless amount of papers, final projects, and exams one must first overcome. Unfortunately, in a fit of hypersensitive political correctness, Harvard seems to downplay the joys of the holiday season, creating an even more unwelcoming environment when compared to the familiar confines of the home. It is thus incumbent upon students to create their own happiness in this naturally dreary time.
This year I voted for (and even liked the Facebook page of!) Sam Clark and Gus Mayopoulos, and I found myself legitimately rooting for them as the results—and their victory—were announced last night. For the first time in my three years here, I have actually found one of the options for UC leadership to be genuinely “relatable”—despite the myriad individuals and tickets who make that claim each year. Perhaps driven by the fact that Clark and Mayopoulos are the only “UC outsiders” running—most Harvard students are not on the UC—these two candidates seem to somehow understand the relationship between the student body and the Undergraduate Council much better than the so-called “establishment tickets.” This is no better represented than in the following Clark/Mayopoulos response to a question in the annual IOP-sponsored UC debate: “It’s not just us who are confused about the UC, where the UC meets.” This may have been jocular in its nature but it rings true—to my knowledge, there is no UC building on campus. For all I know, they might very well hold their meetings in a dorm room; or maybe they are the only student organization to utilize the Student Organization Center at Hilles.
The next presidential election is shaping up to be the end-all be-all brawl for the future of the Republican Party. The battle lines have been drawn. In one corner stands the scion to the political dynasty founded by the self-proclaimed father of the Tea Party. In the other, we have the supposed champion of the moderates, the man who still receives puritanical flak for consorting with President Obama during Hurricane Sandy last year. The friction between the two transcends ideological disagreements, and their rivalry is clearly personal. Earlier this year, Christie characterized the privacy concerns of libertarians like Paul as “esoteric, intellectual debates,” and Paul responded by attacking the conservative credentials of “the king of bacon talking about bacon.”
That the nation’s top media outlets refused to sugarcoat the failings of the president and his administration is a welcome sign. However, while the reactions of editorial boards and other card-carrying members of the punditocracy have not spared Obama from ultimate blame, critiques from each side do not manage to escape the inevitability of political spin. While opinion writers on the right use the website snafu as a prime example of the central government’s inability to administer an entire country’s healthcare industry, editorialists on the left view the blunder as an infuriating road bump with the potential to derail their prized progressive triumph. These reactions are not surprising, nor are they necessarily unpersuasive. But these boilerplate responses do demonstrate the media’s unalloyed tendentiousness and overarching refusal to address concerns beyond those that come straight from their respective talking points.