The time has come for me to bid farewell to this wonderful university, to The Daily Cardinal, and perhaps to writing opinion pieces. Before I embark upon my final call to action, I just want to thank all the people who have made it possible for me to do this for the past six years: all of my editors, past and present, my parents, my readers and my high school journalism teacher Mr. Matt Johnson. It has been a strange and remarkable journey that I have thoroughly enjoyed and it will always be special to me. I have chosen my final topic with great care.
Our university has but five core requirements: two classes in quantitative reasoning, two in the communication arts and one ethnic studies course. These are the only five things our campus deems essential for an education, things that every college educated person ought to know. While this may seem like too little, considering the wide range of subjects taught on this campus, one of these requirements seems unnecessary at best, racist at worst. The ethnic studies requirement should be abolished.
This week I have chosen to address an issue of 'softball' politics in order to get at something much larger. I take issue with the name of a street in Madison. On the surface this may seem like useless complaining, but I assure you I have a point. We have many streets named after the founders. The city itself is named after James Madison. However, there is one particular founder who we should not be naming streets after: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.
President Barack Obama has now been in office for five years, and his approval rating is in the relatively low mid-40s range. Only about 40 percent of Americans approve of the way he has handled the economy. Despite these low numbers, almost every economic indicator has greatly improved over his presidency, and he has objectively done a great job of managing the economy. There seems to be a disconnect between public perception and the cold hard facts. Perhaps he is being blamed for long-term problems that admittedly require a long-term fix, such as the evaporation of America’s manufacturing base and the decline of wages as a percent of gross domestic product. These problems, however, are not new, and while he should attempt to remedy them, he should not be blamed for something that has been happening for 30 years. The truth is he has improved the economy and I for one, am glad that Obama’s economic policies have been guiding this nation for the past five years.
Last week, the Senate voted to not allow the minority party to filibuster presidential nominations other than Supreme Court justices. I disagree with this move in principle, as I believe that the minority party should have rights. However, as someone who studies government and has watched as the minority party has acted in a self-serving manner in order to prevent the president from making basic appointments, it is difficult to make a pragmatic case against what the Senate Democrats did. The Republican strategy of blocking every nominee they can in order to prevent the Democratic president from getting what he wants is childish, and impedes the function of government. The minority party, regardless of which party it is, has no right to use politically opportunistic tactics to keep our democracy from functioning as it is intended. While the use of the nuclear option is justified to assure that the president can appoint people to fill vacancies in the government, it would not be justifiable if it extended to legislation.