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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Opinion

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An argument for affirmative action

On Oct. 31, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from lawsuits against both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who are being sued over the legality of affirmative action. A Supreme Court ruling that affirmative action is unconstitutional would prevent institutions like Tufts from cultivating diversity within their student body.


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The End of the World Has Just Begun: The long peace ends

The security architecture of the world will soon be changed as the United States somewhat recedes from its role as guarantor of global security and challengers seek regional hegemony to take advantage of America’s apparent weakness. The two main trends I have pointed to, the fracturing of critical supply chains and global depopulation, are depleting resources across the globe, and subsequent increasing scarcity enforces the feeling by states of being forced to play their hands before they lose the power to do so.


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Ukraine at War: The siege of Mariupol

Will it ever be possible to not freeze from grief and tremble from anger at the mention of Mariupol? The name of the Ukrainian port city decimated by Russian forces triggers shivers all over the body. So do the words Azovstal, a demolished metal plant nearly twice the size of Midtown Manhattan which served as a shelter for civilians and the site of the city’s last stand, and Azov, the group of fighters that protected it, some of whom are still in Russian captivity.


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How America's institutions are failing us

Joe Biden is on top of the world. Or at least he should be. Throughout his presidency, Biden has been quietly making changes popular with the American people. Yet, polls show Republicans are highly likely to win back the House from Democratic control and are more likely than not to win the Senate. Given the popularity of Biden’s policies, our electoral system ought to be altered to better reflect the will of the people. 


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Debates are dwindling, but discourse is more important than ever

In an era of political polarization, the increasingly-rare swing voter becomes all the more important. Campaigns rush to promote their ideas as well as discredit the opposition’s. Of course, these goals have always been present, which is why the campaign debate has become one of the most honored traditions of each election cycle. However, debate numbers have been dwindling recently and some worry that this is the start of a scary new trajectory.


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New executive director of sustainability brings hope for positive change

On Oct. 24, Dano Weisbord became the new executive director of sustainability and chief sustainability officer, and “plans to further Tufts’ commitment to becoming a high education leader in sustainability and climate matters,” according to previous reporting by the Daily. As a past graduate of Tufts’ masters program in urban and environmental policy, and past associate vice president for campus planning and sustainability at Smith College, Weisbord’s leading efforts in sustainability are encouraging signs that his claim will hold true for the Tufts community. 



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It's Happened Before: A more violent normal

The late Roman Republic is, in many minds, synonymous with political violence, civil war and the erosion of republican values. Less remembered, however, is how it got there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes, and neither did it — or at least its republican version — fall in a day. Thus the long path to Caesar began with a man who, unlike Caesar, never got a Shakespeare play: Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Gracchus’ life and career are surprisingly unimportant in examining his impact. Suffice it to say that, after pursuing radical populist solutions to economic problems and obtaining political power through uncustomary methods, he incurred the wrath of a conservative faction of the Roman senate. Given his policies, this was unsurprising. What was surprising is how they stopped him: by gathering a mob to massacre him and his followers. Violence had, for the first time, become a political tactic, one that soon became irresistible.


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Ukraine at War: The dual purpose of the Ukrainian metro

Daily trips to the Park Street T station in Boston bring back memories of riding a train to get to Kyiv’s city center. First and foremost, I am also taking the Red Line, with the starting point in the suburbs. The T also goes above the ground, passing a river. The only difference is its name — the Charles, not the Dnipro. 


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Stop voting for celebrities

What do lawyers, soldiers, peanut farmers and movie actors have in common? They are all former professions of U.S. presidents. While the first two seem like a better fit to the presidency title, the different professions of politicians influence the way they serve constituents in different ways. The benefit of public officials with a background in law is that they tend to comprehensively understand systems of government; soldiers have experience serving their country; farmers understand the food and agriculture industry that feeds the nation. However, celebrities’ benefit to their constituents seems more ambiguous. 




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Ukraine at War: Weaponizing cold weather

Just like New England, Ukraine is lucky enough to enjoy all four seasons. Yellowish and reddish fall leaves inevitably trigger the memories of the beginning of school. Cherry trees blooming signal the forthcoming of the warmer days. We know it is summer when everyone is complaining about the heat while still enjoying the time spent in nature without heavy jackets and boots. Winters are reserved for evenings at home when it is snowing outside as well as celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. 


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Venezuela has become a humanitarian emergency

Venezuela was once Latin America’s wealthiest country and was praised for its functioning democracy. Often called South America’s Saudi Arabia due to its oil-dependence, Venezuela was known for its booming economy in the 1970s. Yet, New York Times headlines about Venezuela have turned from  “Democracy, as Usual, in Caracas” and “Democracy in Venezuela” to “The Disaster That Is Venezuela” in recent years. 




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How the Democrats lost Florida

0As midterm elections draw closer and voting registration deadlines pass, pundits look at the polling of “swing states” — states with a roughly even population of Democrats and Republicans that have the potential to vote either way in national elections. The results are especially important this year as polls show neither party has a large advantage in either congressional chamber, with Democrats favored in the Senate and Republicans favored in the House. The governorships are also significant, as state law determines hot-button issues like abortion, education and immigration. 


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It’s Happened Before: Putin’s scare tactics won’t work

 In the 1930s, Britain was terrified of the bomber. It was thought of as the ultimate weapon: It could swoop in virtually undetected and deliver devastation of biblical proportions upon vulnerable cities, wiping them out. A massive aerial first strike, some military experts claimed, could bring Britain to its knees before it had a chance to fight back. In World War II, these ideas were put to the test. Nazi Germany, victorious in France by 1940, moved on to Britain. 


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High maintenance: Biden works to reform federal marijuana policy

Last week, president Joe Biden announced a pardon for all those with federal charges for simple possession of marijuana, calling on governors to do the same at the state level and announcing that current classification of marijuana would be reviewed. The move is restorative, just, and a first step toward reform. Biden acted completely within his domain and made a reasonable adjustment to the national policy on marijuana that focuses on helping people, specifically people of color, rather than just focusing on legalization. 


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Ukraine at War: What does grief feel like?

Each time I hear about another Russian military crime, I naively think that the situation cannot get any worse. It always can; apparently, it hits differently when a friend is killed. For me, the grief feels like a heavy fabric thrown all over the body.