by Haley Burnside
The following is a staff member’s opinion and does not reflect the views of the The Quadrangle’s Editorial Board, the College or the student body.
Growing up, I remember learning about historical human rights atrocities and thinking that I would have “done something” if I had been alive in that era. Now, I am in that position to “do something,” and I do not know what to do.
I am not Muslim. My parents are not Muslim. I am not an immigrant. My parents are not immigrants. I am as safe as one can be from President Donald J. Trump’s new executive order, which bars entry into the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries in the Mid-East and North Africa.
I will probably never be personally restricted by this executive order.
Regardless of the fact that my life is not hindered by the ban, I still feel a pestering urge to act against it. I feel that it goes against the principles upon which this country was supposedly founded. I struggle with this feeling because I know that I do not possess the power to do much about the ban.
The only arena in which I hold power is within the Quadrangle, and even that is limited.
As I spent the weekend pondering my social responsibility to act and my relative inability to change the situation before me, I began to feel that familiar feeling of hopelessness that comes in waves since Trump was elected.
Then I scrolled through the trending tweets addressing the ban. I saw some images and quotes that changed my view.
The first image, tweeted by Wall Street Journal writer Danny Gold, was a group of lawyers sitting on the floor of an airport with laptops, papers, and coffee cups cluttered around them. The caption read, “Volunteer lawyers here on the ground in terminal 1 drafting habeas petitions to free detained Iranians and Yemenis.”
The tweet was followed by several similar images of legal professionals gathered in McDonald’s and on dirty airport floors to work tirelessly for those being detained. These people were working voluntarily, not expecting reward or fame for their efforts. Their only motivation was their determination to help the oppressed.
As I scrolled through these pictures I realized how right Michelle Obama was when she said,
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great.”
Our country has been riddled with hatred, contempt, misunderstanding and disrespect as of late.
In a time where it can be nauseating to turn on the news or skim a newspaper, I think it is important to call attention to these wholesome, hopeful moments.
As a news writer, I want to be able to deliver information to the people. As an American who is dissatisfied with the actions of my government, I want to be involved in marches, protests and resistance efforts that can peacefully oppose these actions.
I started to understand that writing and reporting news is a valid and valuable way to contribute to this movement. By remaining vigilant and giving people the chance to confront the truth, I can participate in this hectic political world.
I doubt I am the only one experiencing feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness these days.
I would encourage those of you who feel an urge to be involved to contribute to the Quadrangle.
Writing to make your voice heard on a platform other than Facebook is a powerful way to makeyourself a part of history.
If writing is not your forte, attend a protest and take some photos. Observe, record and submit what you see. News sources have more responsibility and power in the current political climate
than ever before, and participation is essential.
In summary, if you are staring at your screens wondering how you can “do something,” consider the Quadrangle. It is your way to have your name tied into a part of history.