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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way….”
Are you listening?
Yes, that’s what Ludacris and Usher and countless other men have told me and my friends that they want out of a woman.
The United States is the richest nation on earth. Despite this fact, millions of hard working Americans live check to check, struggling daily to make ends meet. Many have to make difficult choices between healthcare or childcare, having a meal to eat or having adequate heat. More than 11 million workers earn between $5.15 and $6.64 an hour, and 70 percent of them are age 20 or older. More than one quarter of the population earns less than $10 an hour.
Oct. 5, the 2004 vice presidential candidates were asked to speak “…not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS here in this country where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts.” Both had poor responses, generally skirting the issue. Vice President Dick Cheney’s answer was particularly appalling. “I had not heard those numbers with respect to African-American women, I was not aware that it was—that it’s that severe an epidemic there.”
That’s so gay.” “He acts like such a fag.” “He’s clearly gay, look how he’s dressed.”
The Students Against Terror concert and rally occurred Oct. 14 on West Campus, complete with a live webcast funded by groups including the Freeman Center and Hamagshimim: The University Zionist Movement. Its organizers claimed it was completely apolitical, leading me to wonder just how naïve they think we Duke students are, and later I was saddened at how many of us were. Many groups condemned the Palestine Solidarity Movement conference as a supporter of terror because of its lack of an explicit denunciation of terrorism. As they zealously asked students to join them in their denunciation of terror, I wondered if my refusal somehow inversely allied me with terrorists in the same way.
The final question of the Oct. 8 presidential debate was addressed to President George W. Bush by a woman named Linda Grabel: “Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it.” After informing the audience of what Linda was really getting at—the War in Iraq—the president talked for a couple of minutes without naming one real mistake.
“It’s a paradox we call reality/ So keepin’ it real will make you casualty of abnormal normality…”
I remember when I first heard the term “Gothic Wonderland.” Duke seemed like your standard Ivy League-ish looking school, so it didn’t resonate deeply. As time passed, I heard this term more and realized that it was not only referring to the architecture but the blissful life and welcoming atmosphere people enjoy here at this paradise island we call Duke.
Nobel Prize winning author Elias Canetti said, “You have but to know an object by its proper name for it to lose its dangerous magic.” In a world where we are constantly focusing on using “politically correct” terms for things, we often lose sight of the important power that lies in our language. A name has the power to shape the attitude people have towards something, and while we sometimes take this for granted, the people that have power over our nation, and even our school, are researching daily to ensure everything sounds pleasant, despite the truth. What would the world be like if we renamed some things, giving them a moniker that fits more closely with their description? Here’s a glimpse:
On Feb. 3, 1994 at the Republican National Convention annual gala, President Ronald Reagan stated: "I'm not one for looking back. I figure there will be plenty of time for that when I get old. But rather, what I take from the past is inspiration for the future, and what we accomplished during our years at the White House must never be lost amid the rhetoric of political revisionists." In the wake of the death of this country's 40th president and the apparent wave of amnesia that has struck the hearts and minds of journalists and reporters, I think now would be an appropriate time to look back at the events of Reagan's presidency, which have been lost amidst a cloud of revisionism.