A Teach-in: Trump’s Inauguration

By: Kianna Haskin

On February 20,  in the Hyman Forum, located in the Athenaeum, four of Goucher’s professors came together to discuss President Donald Trump’s election.

President Donald Trump was the winner of the 2016 election. According to the New York Times, President Trump received three hundred and six electoral votes and Hillary Clinton obtained two hundred and thirty-two electoral votes. This election caused an uproar across the United States, leaving many with unanswered questions.

At the Teach-In, each of the professors answered three questions. How did Trump win? What will he do? What should we do? “ It goes without saying that not all of us have the answers,” stated Professor Yousuf Al-Bulushi.

Martin Shuster Professor of Judaic Studies, spoke on the Trump Phenomenon: Novelties and Consistencies. Shuster brought up key points about nationalism and the America First policy. He also recited a part from the Declaration of Independence, one of the key documents in American history:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

He also stated the dictionary definition of nationalism.Nationalism as defined by Merriam-Webster; loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially:  a sense of national consciousness. He said, “2.5 million undocumented people had been deported by immigration authorities since President Obama took office in 2009” and called it an “accepted norm.” An accepted norm is something that is known to the public but remains unquestioned by the same people.

This relates to the ideals of nationalism; who counts as an American? Who counts as a citizen? He then described the history of nationalism. At the start of U.S. history, nationalism was reserved for white citizens, meaning the country was founded in White supremacy, as he explained. “People are seeing what the American experiment is not and what it has failed to do…What the American experiment can be because we will fall back to what the experiment has been.” To Professor Shuster, Trump is continuing the American experiment by focusing on how America was in the beginning, in the past. To break the mold, he believes we need to break the power of white supremacy and allow for a broader definition of who an American is.

Professor Lana Oweidat works in the Writing Center and the English department here at Goucher. Oweidat spoke about feminist disruptions of Islamophobia and misogyny.

“And the identity American, can not be Muslim because it cannot be terrorist. We need to think how the identity American constructed through forces of inclusion and exclusion, who belongs and who doesn’t. Every program targeting Muslims is justified under the umbrella of national security. How does this impact the rest of Americans? How does this fear affect the health of our democracy? We become more accepting of totalitarianism, conformity, and prejudice,” Oweidat said.

Oweidat spoke about becoming an involved and responsible global citizen. Here at Goucher College, students are asked to become global citizens by taking foreign language courses and completing a study abroad course. “Our responsibility is to engage ethically with one another across our differences and to investigate, resist and disrupt the rhetoric of fear that allows Islamophobia and other forms of oppression to stay intact,” Oweidat stated. “We need to ask ourselves: What are my responsibilities as a global citizen to others? How can I engage with others in an ethical way? What skills and knowledge do I need to work on to be an involved and responsible global citizen?”

Professor Danny Kimball, from the Center for Arts and Media, also spoke he started by asking how one defined the failure of media and the role of the press. He emphasized the need for an independent press to “uphold commitment” to the people in a democracy that it serves. He also questioned the notion of democracy: whether or not it was possible to have too much democracy whether that was a positive or negative notion, and if too much democracy could be harmful.

The last professor to speak was Yousuf Al-Bulushi, discussing liberalism and the polarization of global politics. “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?” stated President Trump in an interview.

Al-Bulushi brought forward the number of refugees former United States President Obama had deported. Former United States President Obama had removed 2.5 million people through immigration orders, which doesn’t include the number of people who were self-deported, or was turned away or return to their country by border control, according to ABC News.

The Teach-In ended with a question and answer session, which brought forward key points that were important for discussion.

2/25/2017-The Goucher Eye originally misquoted Professor Oweidat regarding student responsibilities. The article has been changed to reflect the truth. We apologize for the mistake.

 

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