For all the failures we face, we are notoriously unwilling to discuss them. And when we do discuss failure, we frame it as though failing is something that must be accepted, but is itself not desirable.
Increasing access to healthcare information will improve healthcare outcomes. For a student at Stanford who will soon need to get vaccinated, an app encouraging me to do so moves me one-step closer to the waiting room. It helps cut through the cluttered busyness of Stanford life and remind me that, hey, my health actually matters.
Students are less willing to listen to the opinions that irk us, and when we do, we respond by drowning them out in self-righteous indignation. What might Pearl have written, I wonder, in the wake of such momentous changes and ingrained polarization? What can we do to honor his legacy?
While Netanyahu’s tenuous political standing and upcoming elections are likely the catalysts for his divisive address to Congress in defiance of Obama, blaming the pain away will not resolve our allies’ qualms. In fact, it is not unlikely that Netanyahu will win the Israeli elections and retain his leadership position in the Israeli government.
But if we are to honor the legacy of Charlie Hebdo on campus, let us do so by discussing the state of free speech at Stanford, and by welcoming those with whom we disagree to campus with open arms and discerning minds. The value of this approach was made clear when the Westboro Baptist Church came to Stanford to preach its message of intolerance and Stanford responded by coming together to peacefully oppose the group. Only if we resolve to continue and improve Stanford’s commitment to free speech can we rightfully tweet, “je suis Charlie.”
In his column “Not another Clinton, not another Bush,” Daily columnist Joel Gottsegen rightly points out the potential corrupting influence of nepotism in American politics. But, missing from Gottsegen’s impassioned advocacy is an analysis of why Clinton remains the frontrunner of the Democratic Party and why Bush tops the list of potential Republicans. Is it that Americans are so bedazzled by the personalities of political aristocrats that we become blind to the merit of its candidates? Are we unwilling to look beyond the party platform for political inspiration?
As students in the Silicon Valley it is difficult for us to conceive of a world in which innovation is not rewarded. However, without sufficient action to deter economic espionage, this will increasingly be the reality we face.
This is the quandary we face in preventing the cycle of mass killing. It is not always easy to justify humanitarian missions when it seems not to follow our strategic interests. Yet time and time again, from Nazi Germany to Rwanda, we will retrospectively realize the mistake of inaction and the grave human cost of standing by.