14 November 2018
By: Aydan Büsra Çelik & Zeytun West
At this point, we are so stoic and numb to news of loss, that hearing about another mass shooting has become as normal as brushing our teeth. The recent synagogue massacre carried out by a white supremacist with the intent of killing Jewish people on claims that they were aiding members of Central American caravans seeking to “invade” the United States, is one of the latest expressions of the hatred being harboured within our country. The Thousand Oaks shooting in Los Angeles last week, again, emphasizes the urgency of policies needed to limit gun accessibility. The wildfires raging across California also remind us of the looming and catastrophic reality of climate change caused by human activity which continues to be ignored or worse denied by those most senior in our administration. In light of these events, our team thought it appropriate to express our thoughts.
As citizens of the world and current residents of the United States, we stand by those who have lost their lives and by those who feel unsafe due to the sentiments perpetuated by President Trump and his administration. The ways in which the vilification of millions has taken place, as encouraged by a leader with neo-fascist proclivities, makes it easy to despair. These skewed ideals that have led to shootings and hostility towards people who are “other,” seem to be impregnable. Yet, we as young people, should all be aware of the power we hold in altering the current civic discourse and course of the future, and exercise this power accordingly, in order to create a world more in line with fundamental principles of our country--that all men were created equal and were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
As Princeton Students
As members of the Princeton student body, we would like to express our disappointment in the lack of student engagement, the scarcity of outrage, and near indifference we have perceived on campus. Throughout monumental occurrences in the recent political and social realm, our campus has remained silent, lacking not only agency in defending the currently threatened ideals we as a community hold, but also lacking any kind of widespread conversation about the state of the country and world beyond our orange bubble. We do not seek to slander our peers, but we believe that criticism is due, especially when disinterest is expressed in the face of such adversities. We aim to encourage dialogue within the student body - dialogue that has the potential to be a catalyst for individuals beyond our campus, and that motivates us to be civically engaged, responsible citizens.
The countless digital posts, organized protests, and even lives lost have become commonplace and have little to no effect, given that these tragic events are cyclical. This implies that it is becoming part of our nature to normalize hate and violence in the name of nationalism masked as patriotism.
So, what should we do as a community?
Although there is still much to be done we would like to acknowledge the work that the campus has put in to acknowledge and honor the lives that have been lost. This includes a vigil sponsored by the Center of Jewish Life, President Eisgruber's letter to Betsy DeVos, and VP Calhoun, Dean Dolan, and Dean Leslie's letter to the students of the school reminding the student body of the services available to them.
Additionally, although we encourage students to express their sympathy, we also realize the extent of how personal such topics can be. Ultimately, it is up to you what you want to share. You do not need to share anything you don't want to, nor should you ever feel pressured to. Lack of expression or externalized feelings DOES NOT mean you are disinterested or unsympathetic.