Assistant Managing Editor
After the events of Saturday morning in Pittsburgh, I need to get this off my chest.
I am not Jewish myself; however, I would not be here today without the help and support of my Jewish friends, Richard, and Sue Herschlag.
They are family to me. When I was homeless, poor and needing someone to help me get back on my feet, they opened their hearts and home to me.
This tragedy has hit deep at my core, although I am not surprised.
This is not to say that this sole event is why I am writing this column, because I am angry as well at a myriad of issues, chief among which is the indiscriminate killings of people of color at the hands of police.
What has deeply troubled me long before the rash of public shootings, or the toxic political discourse, or general discourse for that matter has been the lack of empathy.
President Donald Trump stood in front of a rally not 12 hours after the events at a Pittsburgh synagogue and opened with remarks that were tired and calloused at best saying that it was a “rough, rough day for all of us.”
Trump continued, talking about how the perpetrator should potentially face the death penalty, and invoked the Jewish vow on the events of the Holocaust, “Never again.”
I do not care if you are Republican or Democrat or how you feel about our current president.
If this were your community, if you personally were directly affected, would this be the sort of response you would want?
The government is not responsible for soothing us after every tragedy, but in the name of common decency, do not hold the rally.
Political capital be damned, the country needs leadership. While the turmoil will not be solved by one man’s remarks or lack thereof, a unifying voice of any kind might help in the interim, to force all of us to be introspective.
We should ask ourselves, is this the country we really want?
Do we want to continue to be a punchline in the eyes of the United Nations?
Do we want a Congress that feels out of touch and outdated for the most part?
I remember Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing in front of the United States Senate.
The questions asked in the hearings by some members of the committee were embarrassing, simple inquiries that anyone with a working knowledge of the internet would know.
If we want the country to change, to be more compassionate, to represent us, we as students need to vote and make our voice heard.
If you do not like the candidate, be active.
Engage the politicians, and if that does not work, start a grassroots campaign.
These things are not easy, but living in a country where income inequality, debt, racism, sexism and xenophobia plague the fabric of the nation is a lot harder.
We as media members have a responsibility as well. I am going to say this at the risk of it not making the print edition:
“Have to hear both sides” is the biggest crock of shit in journalism.
We preach objectivity, and organizations like Fox News have used this to exploit the worst in people, spreading disinformation at an alarming rate.
The media needs to begin to hold those in Silicon Valley accountable for the social engineering on their platforms that allows racism, misogyny, and overall intolerance to fester.
The people in government will not change unless we vote, unless we make our voices heard.
We are the same country that put a man on the moon, and we can get our way out of these times, but it will take a revolution, not violent, but in spirit and in actions.
It is very easy for us, and I am guilty of this, to say that the system does not work for us, and to bemoan the lowly job prospects and debt that await us upon graduation.
If this generation wants to change the country, we need to be engaged, now more than ever.
It will not be easy. It may take sacrifice.
Colin Kaepernick demonstrated that.
It may require us to be forceful in our demands, to protest our grievances.
This begins Nov. 6. We need to vote.
And after we vote, if we feel that we are still unsatisfied, we need to engage those in power, to make them understand what it is that we want as the next generation in charge of the country.
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