The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a decades-old struggle, has caused immeasurable suffering and the destruction of millions of people’s lives throughout both Israel and Palestine. Dating back to the late 19th century when Jewish immigration to Palestine increased, tensions rose between both groups; The Jewish immigrants wanted all the land since it was their holy land, while the Palestinian civilians living there just wanted to continue living in the land they had been living in for several hundreds of years. With the establishment of Israel in 1948 and subsequent wars, Palestinians have faced displacement, loss of land, and several other horrors.
In an attempt to remedy the conflict, in 1947, the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 pushed for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem as an international city. Instead, the Israeli government created the Gaza Strip and West Bank as Palestinian territories—four times smaller than the land that they were originally inhabiting. The Israeli occupation of these Palestinian territories has resulted in several human rights violations. They restrict Palestinian movement through several checkpoints in the West Bank, first implemented during the Second Intifada, and have implemented a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007, restricting the movement of both people and goods between Gaza and the West Bank. This blockade has severely limited access to basic necessities like food, medicine, and clean water, to two million Palestinians, one million of which are children. Prior to the October 7th Hamas attack, one million Palestinian children lacked access to food and clean water. The people of Gaza have lived in constant fear for their safety and in constant food insecurity.
On October seventh, 2023, everything changed. Frustrated with the terrible living conditions, Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization, unleashed an unquestionably horrific and deadly sneak attack, killed 1,400 Israeli civilians, and kidnapped an additional 240 civilians. Since then the IDF, or Israel Defense Forces, has killed over 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza in a barrage of airstrikes, and has left over 350,000 Palestinians displaced. Israel has also ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off electricity and blocking food and fuel from entering the region. Next, the Israeli government calls for the people of Palestine to evacuate the Gaza Strip or face military violence, despite their lack of access to food and medicine, and having no fuel to get out of Palestine. Additionally, Egypt, which borders Gaza, had made it clear that they would not be allowing refugees into the country at this point, demonstrating that the Israeli government had trapped the Palestinians in an impossible situation. Forced to evacuate but with nowhere to go, Israel deliberately trapped these Palestinians and have them waiting for their deaths. On October 17th, Israel all but comes mask off about this genocide. They bombed the al-Ahli Hospital in the middle of Gaza, which was being used to shelter thousands of displaced Gazans. At least 500 of them were killed. President Netanyahu deflects all blame of the attack, and claims the explosion was caused by Hamas bombing their own civilians. This horrific situation continues to this day; more Israeli citizens are killed or kidnapped by Hamas, while exponentially more Palestinians are murdered by the IDF, majority of which are children. These children have been forced to witness horrific crimes against humanity, like their siblings and friends being blown up in front of them by and unexpected Israeli airstrike. This is an inhumane occupation which will only end in the genocide of the Palestinian people—which is being swept under the rug similarly to the Armenian genocide—unless the international community unanimously condemns Israel and calls for the siege to end. In the meantime, it is important to stand with both the Israeli and Palestinian citizens, as they are all facing hardships and extreme violence. Both antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes have been on the rise, and it is important to stand against hate from both sides, and it is important to side with humanity during these trying times.
Here are some ways that you can help:
- You can donate to organizations such as Mercy Corps or Doctors Without Borders that provide on-the-ground aid through supplies like food, water, and medicine.
- Contact your local congress representative and call for a ceasefire.
https://undocs.org/A/RES/181(II) https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2022/country- chapters/israel/palestine https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-strip-humanitarian-implosion https://abcnews.go.com/International/timeline-surprise-rocket-attack-hamas-israel/story?id=103816006 https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/live-updates-whats-happening-in-the-israel-hamas-war-as-calls-for-pause-in-fighting-grow#:~:text=Hamas%20kidnapped%20about%20240%20people,according%20to%20Palestinian%20health%20officials.
Willem Cohn '26
When drafting the Constitution, the Founding Fathers decided that their new nation should be a republican democracy led by a head magistrate called the president. While they had a clear vision of the president’s role, they were now faced with an equally critical issue: how the president should be elected. Fearing both foreign and internal interference and partial to federalist ideals, they resolved to create a system above a simple majority vote, in which the states held individual power. Thus, the Electoral College was born, a procedure in which each state’s population votes on a group of electors who, in turn, vote for the president based on the desires of their state’s people. This system, though still controversial, has stood the test of time. Today, the Electoral College is more important than ever, not just to maintain voter integrity but also to ensure candidates’ engagement with less densely populated states.
The first and most important reason the United States still needs the Electoral College is that it forces presidential candidates to visit the smaller ‘swing’ states. If the Electoral College were to be abolished in favor of a popular vote, presidential candidates would focus their efforts on densely populated urban areas. As the Heritage Foundation highlights, the “Electoral College prevents presidential candidates from winning an election by focusing solely on high-population urban centers,” and the Electoral College “[forces] them to seek the support of a larger cross-section of the American electorate.” In essence, the Electoral College incentivizes these candidates to build a nationwide coalition of voters. Not only does this improve the quality of presidential candidates, but it also gives representation to rural areas of the United States and works to preserve the culture of those areas.
Second, the Electoral College helps reduce fraud in the presidential election. The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College with the prevention of voter fraud in mind. They recognized that if the leader of the country were to be elected with a popular vote, fraudsters could easily fabricate votes and insert them directly into the voting pool. As James Madison said, if America had a popular vote, “[t]he ministers of foreign powers would have and make use of the opportunity to mix their intrigues & influence with the election.” In contrast, the Electoral College system mandates that anyone attempting to manipulate the election must pinpoint exactly which states will affect the swing of the election, visit each of these states individually, and manufacture enough votes for each one.
The electoral college is a crucial reason for the success of the United States’ republican government, but is highly criticized due to the misconception that it is a Republican party ideal. Contemporary Democrats often condemn the Electoral College purely because it currently favors the Republican party. For a brief time in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, a Democrat, found himself winning the Electoral College vote but losing the popular vote. To preserve his image, Gore had his legal team prepare a defense of the Electoral College, despite it being against his party’s beliefs. Of course, Gore lost that election as a result of his efforts to win the popular vote instead of focusing on the Electoral College. In conclusion, we all have reason to support and uphold the Electoral College system, as it benefits not just the minority states, but the country as a whole.
Eli Babbit '27
It’s long past time to reform the Electoral College system. The Electoral College was adopted 250 years ago as a racist compromise to empower white slaveholding men. It is profoundly undemocratic, giving us presidents who lose the popular vote and undercounting most Americans’ (especially members of minority groups’) votes. It is unpopular, archaic, susceptible to manipulation, and entirely unnecessary. It’s time for change.
The Electoral College stems from a racist history. It was adopted at the Founding as a compromise between northern and southern states to avoid a popular vote, which would have disfavored the South where so much of the population was disenfranchised. Adoption of the Electoral College enabled use of the “Three-Fifths Compromise,” which allowed southern states to simultaneously deny Black residents the right to vote while counting those same residents for purposes of gaining more power in the Electoral College. The result was that enslaved people could not vote but were used by white slaveholders to increase their own voting power, which they used to continue slavery.
The Electoral College still has racist effects today. Because most states choose their electors with a ‘winner takes all’ system, people who vote against the dominant party in their state often have no effect on the outcome of the election. For example, more than 50% of Black Americans live in southern states, which are usually Republican strongholds, and 87% of Black Americans vote Democratic. Because many of those Democratic Black Americans live in Republican-dominated states, their votes have no effect on the outcome of the election.
The Electoral College is also profoundly undemocratic. First, it does not follow the one person- one vote principle because different voters are worth more than others. For example, because California’s population does not scale with its number of representatives, a voter in California has 3.5 times less power than a voter in Wyoming, just because of where they live. Second, because the Electoral College does not always represent the will of the people, two of our past four presidents have won in the Electoral College without winning the popular vote (Bush in 2000, Trump in 2016). The undemocratic nature of our presidential elections has knock-on effects to the Judicial Branch. Since presidents nominate members of the Supreme Court, 5 of our 9 current Supreme Court justices were picked by presidents who lost the people’s vote! True, two were appointed by George W. Bush in his second term, for which he did win the vote, but that victory was only possible because of his first term “win” against the majority’s will.
The Electoral College is subject to manipulation as well. Because of the unnecessary complexity of our election system, there are often loopholes that can be exploited to change outcomes. For example, former President Trump attempted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census that would have discouraged an estimated nine million people from filling out the census. Because the census determines how electoral votes are allocated, the question would have also prevented electoral votes from being allocated as they should be. His actions are part of a longstanding tradition of manipulating the Electoral College, usually in a way that harms minority groups.
The United States is unique in its use of such a flawed system, which is unpopular both at home and abroad. 65% of Americans would prefer a system in which the president was decided by a popular vote. Internationally, the Pew Research Center says that “only the U.S. has a system in which voters elect a body of ‘electors’ whose sole function is to actually choose the president.”
You may be wondering why we still have the Electoral College given all its flaws and unpopularity. Well, that points to another uniquely American problem: how incredibly difficult it is to amend our Constitution. Amendment requires a two-thirds vote of both houses in Congress (or a request from two-thirds of the states), followed by ratification in three-fourths of the states. Naturally, it is hard to reach such a majority in favor of changing the Electoral College when so many of the politicians who would have to be involved in revising the system actually benefit from keeping it the same.
So, to review: the Electoral College is an undemocratic system with a racist legacy that continues to affect us today, is easily manipulated to thwart the will of the people, and is unpopular both domestically and abroad. It sounds pretty bad, but there is a ray of hope. Recently, many states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement among states to allocate all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. We need to change the Electoral College for the better.
Sebi Hume ‘25
Is there anything that Republicans and Democrats can agree on? According to the Pew Research Center’s June 2023 survey of the nationally-representative American Trend Panel, not much. The survey asked 5,115 participants whether they considered each of the 16 political topics to be major national problems, then grouped the percentage of people that responded “yes” by party. Republicans and Democrats did not agree on much; there were only five issues for which the percentage of Republicans was within 10% of the percentage of Democrats. Interestingly enough, one of these issues happened to be the ability of Democrats/Republicans to work together.
Not only was this issue one of the five on which the parties agreed, but it was also the second closest margin of agreement - the percentage figures from the two parties were separated by a single percentage point (62% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans voted “yes”). Only unemployment demonstrated more bipartisan consensus, as 23% of each party viewed it as a national problem. However, unemployment came in right at the bottom of the list, while the inability for opposite parties to cooperate was found right at the top - it ranked third out of all 16 issues in the overall percentage of respondents that viewed it as a very big national problem (62%).
Found only below inflation (65%) and the affordability of healthcare (64%) as well as above issues such as gun violence (60%), the federal budget deficit (56%), and climate change (39%), it is clear that the parties’ inability to work together is something that many Americans believe needs to be addressed. It stands as a roadblock to national progress because it inhibits our ability to tackle other pressing issues on the list. Furthermore, the dominance of party agenda over individual agenda will lead us into a world in which allegiance to political parties replaces allegiance to nation, religion, or even common sense - they will poison the free will and individual liberty that makes our country so special.
We have already entered into this type of world, and the effects are seen on national and local scales. The upcoming presidential election demonstrates how the party system has made the presidential election less democratic. With Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both vying for the Republican nomination, Republican voters are forced to choose which of the two candidates they want to run against Biden. When one of the candidates is chosen, the other can still run as an Independent, but their chances of success diminish greatly because they lack a loyal party backing them. Even the voters who wished to see them as the nominee most likely would not choose them in the general election because they feel an obligation to their party to choose the Republican candidate, even if they think him the worse option.
In addition to the presidency, the detrimental effects of the Republican/Democrat divide are seen in the Houses of Congress. At the beginning of our nation, the greatest debate relating to Congress was how it was to be structured: should states be represented equally or proportionally? Nowadays, however, the concern over how states are represented has all but disappeared and been replaced by the question of how the parties are represented. With the Senate having even 100 members, members of each party are always vying to gain a majority of 51 seats so that they “control” the Senate, and the same ambition motivates the representatives in the House. The language used to describe the houses nowadays suggests that Congress is no longer being viewed as a collection of individuals representing the interests of their states, but rather two powerful entities battling against each other - our national political climate has prioritized the party over the individual and the state.
Belonging to a party has become an extremely slippery slope in the age of social media. Since 2000, the percentage of Americans who consistently side with one party over the other has doubled, as has the number of Americans who view the other party as a national threat. Algorithms used by the apps we spend much of our time on (like Instagram and YouTube) feed us content that confirms our own opinions instead of exposing us to new ones, leading us farther and farther down the path of our party. This cycle of affirmation at best makes us more sure of our preconceived notions, and at worst it gives us new, radical, and potentially dangerous ideas produced by the extreme edges of our parties.
The polarization that is becoming an increasingly large threat to our country’s well-being is not a new phenomenon. In fact, when our first president left office, he warned against the development of political parties that “serve[d] to organize faction”. I urge the reader to thoroughly examine their political views and whether they arise from individual conviction or party allegiance, and I hope that our politicians will consider Washington’s words as we head into a new era of American politics.
Among Top US Problems: Inflation, Health Costs, Partisan Cooperation | Pew Research Center
Are Social Media Driving Political Polarization? (berkeley.edu)
George Washington's Farewell Address (1796)
In the early morning hours of October 7th, 2023, an Islamic militant group known as Hamas, launched a surprise attack against Israel, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 1, 00 lives, mostly civilians. This event marked a new chapter in the Israel-Palestine conflict. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and initiated airstrikes on Gaza. In addition, Israel disrupted power and water supplies within Gaza preventing medical aid for injured citizens. The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza reported that 10,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7. This conflict is significant on the global stage because it may involve external powers (like the United States), lead to the destabilization of the Middle East, and result in thousands of casualties on each side. This article's aim is to provide essential information and encourage further exploration of the conflict.
To understand the war's origins, we must examine the historically tense Palestine-Israel relationship. The land's religious significance led to disputes among various religious groups, including Jews and Muslims. In the modern period, the land was controlled by the Ottoman Empire, but British rule followed World War I. Jewish immigration to Palestine increased significantly after World War II and the Holocaust. On May 14, 1948, the Jewish settlers declared independence, and Israel became the only explicitly Jewish nation. US president Harry Truman immediate recognized Israel as a state. Within 24 hours of its establishment, Israel was attacked by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq—a conflict from which Israel emerged victorious. The conflict displaced 700,000 Palestinians, leaving many stateless. An armistice was declared in 1949, but no official peace agreement followed. This ongoing conflict has led to escalating tensions.
In modern Israel, 20% of the citizenry is Palestinian. Arab citizens have the same legal rights as Jewish Israelis, but there is a large socioeconomic divide that some attribute to structural discrimination. The majority of Israeli citizens are Jewish, making it home to the two largest Jewish populations in the world (after the US). Religious differences, with Palestinians being Muslim and Israel being Jewish, are a significant contribute for the tension between the two groups. Jerusalem's religious significance further escalates the dispute. There have been countless attacks from both sides, and numerous attempts at peace deals that have all failed. However, tension has escalated in the past years. This year alone the Israeli military has lead raids on Palestine villages, and a Palestinian killed 7 Jewish worshippers on the doorstep of a synagogue in Israel. In recent years, Israel has been improving relations and broken peace deals. The recent attack may result in some of these peace deals falling through, destabilizing the Middle East.
In addition, to understand the attack involves it is important to examine Hamas and Gaza. Hamas, formed during the 1987 Palestinian uprising, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Its primary goal is Israel's destruction and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Hamas rejects peace deals and is labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. and Western nations. Suspicions of Hamas' funding from Iran remain unconfirmed. Gaza, where Hamas operates, faces extreme poverty due to Israel's 2007 blockade. Israel's attacks on Gaza aim to dismantle Hamas.
Where do things stand today? The most recent attack involved Hamas launching simultaneous air, land, and sea attacks on Israel. For example, Hamas fighters flew paragliders from Gaza, but they also used bulldozers to poke gaping holes in a barrier fence to gain access to Israeli territory. Over 1,000 Israelis, including civilians at a rave, were killed, with at least 100 hostages taken. This attack killed the largest number of people since the holocaust. The fate of hostages complicates the Israeli military's efforts. In response Israel launched a massive retaliation on Hamas including an official declaration of war and bomb and air strike. The Israeli government has vowed to destroy Hamas for protection.
Multiple theories explain the attack's motives. Ali Barakeh, a senior Hamas official, cited "Israeli crimes" in Jerusalem and the West Bank, seeking to "break the Gaza blockade" and free Palestinian prisoners. Maintaining dominance, discouraging Palestinians from joining other resistance efforts, and inspiring other groups to target Israel are other motives. In addition. there is speculation about Iran's involvement, aiming to lure the U.S. into defending Israel.
Predicting the outcomes of this conflict is complex because the conflict is only in the early stages and extremely complex. It is certain that Israel's attacks on Gaza will continue. Supplies of food, fuel, electricity, and medicine have been cut off, causing suffering. The WHO condemned both sides' actions as "inhumane," urging Israel to end the Gaza siege. Hamas continues missile attacks, and a ceasefire is unlikely. Regardless of the outcome, human lives will be lost, and previous solutions like the two-state proposal seem improbable.
The attack escalates tensions in the already volatile Middle East. It questions Israel's military strength and draws external involvement, especially from Iran and the U.S. The U.S., historically supporting Israel, pledges assistance. This could lead to issues for the U.S because they are already supporting Ukraine, and backing to war efforts will be extremely costly. Still, President Biden has given speeches supporting Israel and signed an aid deal. Finally, there is speculation about Iran's involvement, and how this could lead to a broader regional war.
In conclusion, the Israel-Palestine conflict's human toll is devastating. We hope for a peaceful resolution, regardless of one's stance on the issue.
Let me get to the point right away. The killing and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7th is unacceptable, but so is the systematic, long-term state violence perpetrated by the Israeli government on the Palestinian people. It is outrageous that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land since 1967, that there has been a siege on Gaza since 2007, that the occupation of Palestinian land has escalated with far-right settler coalition. It Is outrageous that the fact that Palestinians have been subjected to daily assaults, killings, collective torture and humiliation by Israel for the last 75 years has been missing from the narrative.
The historical context is important. Israel came into being in 1948. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians from a 1.9 million population were made refugees beyond the borders of the state. Zionist forces had taken more than 78 percent of historic Palestine, destroyed about 530 villages and cities, and killed about 15,000 Palestinians in a series of mass atrocities.1 Before World War 1, before the Balfour Declaration, Palestine was an active part of the Ottoman Empire. Following World War 1, European powers pushed out many Jewish people into Palestine. In 1967, Zionist forces, in their mission to create a “Jewish state”, continued expel thousands of Palestinians, destroying their homes. Israel absorbed the whole of historical Palestine, as well as additional territory from Egypt and Syria. By the end of the Arab Israeli war, Israel had expelled another 300,000 Palestinians from their homes. Let us not allow anyone to distort history in the bid to erase Palestine.
Hamas is said to be the source of all problems. Well, the Palestinian Authority is a different leadership group in the West Bank. It cooperates far more with the Israeli government. What are they getting in return? Hundreds of innocent Palestinians are still killed in the West Bank every year2. They are stripped of their basic human rights. Israel’s settlement projects have brought 600,000 Israelis to the West Bank. Israeli authorities expropriate the land and carry out Palestinian home demolitions on a regular basis, either to expand existing settlements, or build a new ones.
Those of you who think the Israeli government is a bastion of Western democratic ideals, should know that according to Amnesty International, Israel’s oppression of Palestinians constitutes a system of apartheid that is no different from South Africa's apartheid Bantustan system. These are crimes against humanity. This conflict is not between two equal parties, one is the occupier, one is occupied, one side has all the privileges The world has failed to hold the oppressor accountable for these crimes.
Many western media outlets have covered the human death toll in Gaza as just numbers or reverberate Israel’s “right to defend itself” and “Hamas using civilians in Gaza as human shields.” Supporters of Palestine on any talk show have their humanity cross examined and their moral compass assessed, yet supporters of Israel are never asked if they condemn the daily human rights violations of the Palestinian people by their government. How come Ukraine’s right to defend itself is praised by international leaders and Russia’s invasion is condemned, but the same rules do not apply to Israel’s occupation of Palestine? The Palestinians are also fighting for the right of self-determination. Biden emotionally and graphically described the beheading of Israeli children by Hamas, an unfounded statement later retracted by the White House, while doubting the reliability of death toll figures provided by the ministry of health in Gaza.
It seems international rules of engagement in war only apply to one side. What makes the Israeli government different from Hamas? Is shooting a family at gun point worse than shell-bombing three generations of a family? The Israeli government says they are only targeting militants. Yet, over 11,000 Palestinians have died in Israel’s retaliation, more than 4000 of which are children.Over 70 percent of all those killed are women and children, the majority of which are civilians. There’s a new acronym coined by medical workers in Gaza, WCNSF, which stands for Wounded Child No Surviving Family. Why does Palestinian blood matter less? Is it nationality, origin, skin color, and faith that dictates the worth of someone’s life?
They have choked off access to medical supplies. Fuel is running out. There is no electricity. Telecommunications were made inaccessible. Palestinians have been cut off and disconnected from everything. People cannot call ambulances or civil defense. White phosphorus is being used on civilians.4 Refugee camps, hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches have been bombed. Aid workers and journalists have been killed. What is more, Israel is suppressing news reporting in the Gaza Strip, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF)5.
The fact that the Israeli army gives 24 hours' notice before bombing civilian infrastructure is said to be an act of magnanimity. Gazans are told to leave their homes or face death or collective punishment. Queen Rania of Jordan frames it as “the choice between expulsion or extermination between ethnic cleansing and genocide.” No one should ever have to make those choices. Historically refugees that have been displaced have been unable to ever return to their homes. In fact, a Palestinian expelled from his home in what became Israel, has never been allowed to return. They have every right to remain in their home, on their property.
Also missing from the narrative is the fact that Palestinians have tried diplomacy, political advocacy, armed and unarmed resistance. Yet their situation has not changed. The imprisonment of Palestinians, the freezing of Palestinian funds, and the dire socioeconomic conditions in Gaza, and the occupied West Bank remains.
As responsible and moral human beings we must call out these inequalities, injustices and glaring double standards. The right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, the right to safety and healthcare are non-negotiable human rights. Palestinians like any other human beings want to achieve their dreams, have safety, peace, and happiness, and the right to self-determination. There will be no peace in Israel and Palestine until the occupation of the Palestinian people has ended and there is a free, sovereign, independent Palestinian state.
I ask that you look at this war not as a Muslim, Palestinian, Jew, Christian, or Israeli but as a human being; if you believe that all human beings deserve fair treatment, respect, and dignity, regardless of class, creed, color, or culture, you should ask why Palestinians are treated with a different yardstick.
Whether your information of the Israel Palestine Conflict comes from the news, social media, conversations with friends, etc., there is one statement which needs to be recognized: discussions of tensions and violence between Israel and Palestine have become too polarized.
Whatever one’s opinion may be or the “side” one takes, there is an increasing large amount of blind support (unending support without proper information), bias, and willful ignorance. Increasingly, portrayals of the conflict show clear bias toward either side, describing the horrors the other has committed on the “innocent” group they support. This form of extreme generalization placed upon either side when arguing about who is in the right, solutions, etc., completely disregard the intricacies and complexities this conflict brings. By blaming all of Israel for what only the Israeli government can control or blaming all Palestinians for acts committed solely by Hamas, innocent civilians are being looked at through the action of their government. Now, some may argue that some Israelis or Palestinians may support the acts committed by their respective governing bodies, and while this is true, this fact does not counter the fact that civilians are being killed, no matter their views. Additionally, following spikes in tensions and the recent attacks leading to war being declared, there has been extreme violence committed against members on either side, in and out of the area. A frequent example are acts of antisemitism. Massive increases in cases of recorded antisemitism are a perfect example of how generalization of all Jews as supportive of acts committed by the Israeli government has caused violence against innocents and subjection of unnecessary hatred.
When viewing the Israel Palestine Conflict, there are some distinctions which must be made. One, this is not happening between all of Israel and all of Palestine, there are four (or more) groups: Palestinian citizens, Hamas, Israeli citizens, and the Israeli government. In this war, it is the actions of the Israeli government against the actions of Hamas. Two, no matter which group one supports, if either, support needs to be given to civilians on both sides who are being attacked and are living in fear. While it is true Palestinian citizens are being forced into inhumane living circumstances with food, water, electricity, etc. cut off by the Israeli government, this does not decrease the fact that Israeli citizens are also innocent in this situation. Three, Hamas is a terrorist organization. The United Nations definition of terrorism is “…criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act…”. Following this definition, the actions of Hamas on Israel define it under these guidelines. Four, the common idea that the solution to this conflict is to sign a treaty and have a peaceful two state method, or to just remove Israel or for both parties to live under Israel or Palestine, are, with current circumstances, impossible. In the 75 years that Israel has existed, the present two state solution has been ineffective and only caused conflict, and because of the time Israel has existed, simply kicked all Israeli citizens out of the area would only recreate a similar situation with large numbers of uprooted refugees. And five, Israel deserves to exist. The premise of Israel as a country was to create a Jewish homeland following the atrocities of the Holocaust. The fact that this country of persecuted peoples has begun treating others in a similarly inhumane way cannot be justified by this. But still Israel, under the premise of a Jewish homeland, deserves to exist. An ongoing theme in Hamas’ actions and the actions of some supporting countries are anti-Zionist and antisemitic, Zionism being a movement for the re-establishment of a Jewish nation in the area where Israel now stands. Because of this, anti-Zionism and antisemitism have become irreversibly intertwined into the Israel Palestine conflict.
When it comes to bias, Western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the entire EU, tend to show support for Israel. Alternatively, countries like Qatar, Iran, Morocco and Egypt, support tends to lean toward Hamas. This bias also exists strongly on a personal level by following the beliefs of one’s identity, community, etc., and absorbing those views onto oneself. While this course of action is understandable, it is important in this situation to find nonbiased sources or sources from both sides and research for yourself, see the information and weigh the actions of both sides without influence of others. Some common biases against Israel frame it as the inciter of violence against the weak Palestine, or the land stealing Israel against the Palestinians who where their first. In the opposite direction, frequent biases against Palestine include claiming antisemitism as the only factor of Hamas’s violence against Israelis, who came their after the Holocaust, or arguing that Palestine was not a cohesive country before the creation of Israel therefor disregarding the culture, history, and traditions that exist. Maintaining that either side is at fault or innocent in the contentious situation shows willful ignorance, especially when said persons attempt to interject their opinions which have no factual backing.
Feeling hatred toward the civilians on either side for the actions of their governing body solely because of some connection to the civilians on the other side is only further enforcing the polar viewpoint. Similarly, when observing the Israel Palestine Conflict like we are, from the outside, even if you have some personal connection, only as what the news or your community presents further enforces the spread/strength of the polar lens. Overall, the most important thing for anyone to do is to recognize that the polarity of the situation presented by the media is overly simplifying the Israel Palestine Conflict and to conduct one’s own research before forming a well-informed opinion.
Tuck Sands, ‘27
Drugs have been a detriment to American society. In 2022, about 200 Americans died each day from the use of fentanyl. More than 106,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021. Opioids were responsible for approximately 68,630 American deaths in 2020. The opioid crisis is clearly getting out of hand in the United States. Marijuanna is often compared to these opioids. Unlike fentanyl, marijuana is not classified as an opioid or a deadly drug.
Legalizing marijuana would boost economic growth, create new jobs, and create more revenue through taxes. The marijuana industry produced 24.6 billion dollars in tax revenue in 2022, which exceeds the market for both milk and energy drinks! Colorado raised more than 78 million dollars in their first year of having legalized marajuana, and 129 million dollars in their second. Washington collected over 220 million more dollars of tax revenue in their first year of legalizing cannabis. With only a few states having legalized marijuana, the federal government collected millions of tax dollars paid by the cannabis industry. The tax revenue from the cannabis industry has been responsible for paying for drug treatment, the police force, housing programs, and schools. The cannabis industry in Nevada raised 1.7 billion dollars in income. 428,059 jobs have been created since 2021 due to the cannabis industry. In Colorado, 40 million dollars of tax revenue from marijuana went into schools, and 105 million dollars went into housing and mental health programs.
A law legalizing marijuana would reduce the potential for there to be negative consequences for using marijuana. If marijuana is legalized by the federal government, the federal government can enforce regulations to ensure that marijuana does not contain deadly toxins or opioids, such as fentanyl. In states where marijuana is illegal, people are buying marijuana off the streets and other places on the black market that don’t have regulations to protect the consumer. Marijuana sold on the black market is far more likely to contain pesticides, fentanyl, or other deadly toxins. In the state of Washington, it has been legal to sell and consume marijuana since 2012. Yet health warnings, quality assurance, and other regulations have been put into place to reduce the harm of the drug. A federal regulation would also keep marijuana out of the hands of children. In the states where consumption of marijuana is legal, there are age restrictions to who can buy cannabis and ID requirements. In these states, marijuana consumption for minors has fallen. A study from the Center of Disease Control(CDC) showed data that in states with less cannabis restrictions, the use for minors fell by 17%. There was a 12% drop of cannabis consumption for minors in the state of Colorado, shortly after they made it legal to sell cannabis.
Most Americans agree that we should legalize marijuana for recreation. 59% of Americans support legalizing marijuana. While 73% of Democrats support legalization of cannabis, only 45% of Republicans support it, but 62% of younger Republicans support legalization to sell and consume cannabis. A study done by NORML shows that two thirds of American adults support legislation to legalize cannabis.
Will Marino ‘25
Five of the most common arguments for the legalization of marijuana are as follows: Firstly, the legalization of weed allows for a controlled market and thus safer consumption. Secondly, incarceration or fines for possession of cannabis can ruin lives over a relatively low-level offense, next that marijuana is a relatively safe drug to consume. Fourth, that a hardworking American should be able to do what they want with their wage, and lastly, that a controlled cannabis market can be taxed and provide revenue for the government.
The first three arguments presented do not take the affirmative side of promoting a positive effect of legalization, but rather attempt to minimize damage in the wake of poor regulation. Essentially, while they admit that consumption of cannabis has negative side effects, they take the position that there is no effective way to humanely make it illegal. The first argument for the benefits of producing a ‘safe’ weed product ignores the danger inherent in all forms of weed. Use of marijuana in the short term passifies and provides an escape. As marijuana use is more common among people without college degrees and low wage earners, the proliferation of marijuana serves as an effective tool for the subjugation of the lower classes, as action is transformed into despondency. While incarcerating those using marijuana would no doubt serve the same purpose; however, making either the sale or growth of marijuana illegal while keeping simple possession or use legal would keep incarceration rates low while striking the root of the problem. In addition to this, marijuana use among teenagers has been shown to have long-term negative effects on cognitive function. Allowing the use of marijuana to become as common as the consumption of alcohol gives those under the age of 18 more opportunities to cause long-term damage to themselves.
The fourth argument, commonly made by libertarians, that a hardworking American should be able to do what they want with their money and we should not constrict their freedom or purchasing power ignores runs against a libertarians own internal logic. Take for instance a scenario in which a stoned driver hits a pedestrian, killing them. In the name of liberty of one citizen (the stoner) ultimately the liberty of another was taken away. The obvious counter argument would make the point that similar to driving while drunk, driving while stoned can be made a criminal offense without making weed illegal. Obviously, the legalization and proliferation of weed in general allows for a higher likely-hood of one driving while stoned (following this train of thought it is high time alcohol is made illegal as well).
The final argument presented makes the claim that controlled cannabis can be taxed and provide revenue for the government. This is true; however, this logic puts government revenue over the wellbeing of its citizens, a dangerous game to play and a stunningly hypocritical move for a liberal democracy to make.
For these reasons, the case of marijuana is one in which, as James Madison would put it, ‘liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty.’
Most aspects of American life are commercialized: from transportation to education to our medical system, corporations always find a way to squeeze money out of the population. One of the greediest practices is direct to consumer (DTC) advertisements for pharmaceuticals, which includes advertisements on television, movies, and brochures. The United States is unusual, however, in that it is one of the few countries in which advertising drugs is legal. DTC pharmaceutical advertising has been allowed since 1997, and since then it has caused major damage to the American people.
One major disadvantage of pharmaceutical advertising is that it contributes to the escalating costs of healthcare. A study by researchers at John’s Hopkins University found that the marketing and promotion of prescription drugs increases the price of drugs for consumers. These costs are particularly burdensome in the United States, where many people would struggle to afford medical care even without these extra costs tacked on by direct-to-consumer advertising, which does nothing to benefit the individuals it targets. In this environment that prioritizes turning a profit for large corporations over most everything else, pharmaceutical companies are often able to set unreasonably high prices for their products. This can increase the financial burden of healthcare on individuals, insurance companies, and the government—all while American Big Pharma turns billions in profits every year.
Not only does pharmaceutical advertising financially exploit people, it also has the potential to provide misleading health information. These advertisements often oversimplify complex medical conditions, promising quick and easy solutions with minimal side effects. In reality, the efficacy and safety of drugs are rarely as straightforward as they are portrayed in ads. Patients may become misinformed, developing unrealistic expectations, and potentially neglecting other effective treatment options. Misleading information can lead to inappropriate medication choices and negative health outcomes—yet somehow it is justifiable if it allows large corporations to stay absurdly profitable. Besides aggressive pharmaceutical marketing’s impact on prescribing the wrong medications, it can also lead to overmedication, as patients may request drugs they see advertised, even if it might not be a suitable or necessary treatment. Physicians, under pressure to satisfy their patients, may prescribe medications that are not entirely necessary. This overmedication can lead to adverse side effects, drug interactions, and a vicious cycle of polypharmacy, in which individuals take multiple medications simultaneously, with potentially harmful consequences for their health. Another concern is the portrayal of medication side effects in pharmaceutical advertisements. While these ads are legally required to disclose potential adverse effects, they often do so in a rushed or dismissive manner. This can downplay the risks associated with certain drugs, leading patients to underestimate potential harm. As a result, individuals might not be fully informed when deciding whether a particular medication is right for them.
After inhibiting access to healthcare by driving up prices and reducing the quality of care through misinformation, pharmaceutical advertising takes another hit at the population by undermining the trust and communication between patients and their healthcare providers. Patients armed with information from advertisements might question their doctors' recommendations or request specific medications. This shift in the power dynamic between patients and healthcare professionals can disrupt the doctor-patient relationship, making it more challenging for physicians to make informed decisions and provide the most appropriate care. Pharmaceutical advertising often focuses on symptom management rather than prevention. Medications are promoted as quick fixes for various ailments, and this approach tends to overshadow the importance of lifestyle changes and preventive measures. Consequently, individuals might be less inclined to adopt healthier habits, like improved diet and exercise, in favor of relying solely on medications.
While DTC pharmaceutical advertising in the US remains legal under the guise of improved health awareness, we cannot in good conscience continue to prioritize corporations over the well-being of the people.