Letter From the Editor: Renewing America’s Promise of Justice and Liberty for All
By Shadi Bushra, published October, 2010
Welcome to Stanford, freshmen and transfers, and welcome back to returning upperclassmen! Thank you for taking the time to read Stanford’s only independent, student-run political journal. The Stanford Progressive seeks to promote a civil, intelligent dialogue on the political issues of our time. And, for better or for worse, this year has provided us with an abundance of political issues to address.
This is a year that has seen the passage of America’s greatest reform of health care, firmest regulation of the financial system, and the largest economic stimulus since the Great Depression (during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression). We have witnessed the most disastrous environmental incident in American history. Overseas, we have increased our commitment in a conflict begun in the wake of the most destructive terrorist attack in the United States. Months later, we saw the end of our most ill-conceived war since Vietnam.
The year has also seen some of the most overt xenophobia in the last decade. This is visible in campaign ads, political protests, and media commentary, from laypeople and professional analysts. Some seek to close the border to the south and would have us limit Americans’ right to worship where, when, and how they choose.
With hate crimes against both Muslims and Latinos rising in frequency and intensity, it is clear that America’s discomfort with these “others” takes the form of not only prejudiced thoughts or hurtful words, but actions. As we learned this summer, these actions can turn violent. And, when given the proper media exposure, this unchecked hate runs opposite our national interests. It is crucial to our continued prosperity and liberty that all Americans take a stand against such hate-mongering.
Now, as always, the Stanford Progressive does its part. Our last issue (“Illegal Until Proven Innocent,” June 2010) addressed the complications and constitutionality of the legislation and rhetoric used to discourage immigration. This issue takes a different perspective by focusing on the Islamophobia that is sweeping the nation. While the two are incredibly different topics, you will find a common theme in these pages: the United States of America is better than this.
Perhaps it was simply the combination of a slow summer news cycle and the lead-up to the somber ninth anniversary of September 11th. Perhaps America feels as though the country has repaid its debt of racism by electing a black president. Perhaps Americans are simply tired and hungry enough to lash out at the nearest target.
Regardless of the reasoning, the vilification of Muslims in America is not in keeping with America’s reputation as a land for freedom-loving people of all faiths. This reputation is the reason the United States has been seen for centuries as a beacon of freedom in the world (whether our policies reflected this interpretation is another story). Because of this reputation we have been able to attract the most intelligent scientists, ambitious entrepreneurs, and industrious workers from around the world. They, as much as anyone else, are responsible for our country’s prosperity.
An Argentinian schoolteacher is no less crucial for preparing the next generation of citizens than her Irish-American counterpart. A Ukrainian physicist contributes no less to our attempts at pushing the boundaries of science. A Lebanese factory owner provides employment just as well as anyone else.
In these times of economic hardship and flux, the emotions are understandable. But it is absolutely imperative that we show the world that the United States is as true to its founding principles now, in this time of uncertainty and strife, as we were when things were going our way. There is no clause in the Constitution stating that we provide justice and liberty for all unless we’ve had a bad year. The United States of America billed itself as the land of the free – now it is time to make good on that commitment and renew our promise to all who make this land so great.
Just as the Progressive is doing its part to ensure the rights of every person in America are respected, you must do your own part. But first, allow me to correct a common misconception: You don’t have to agree with all things progressive to contribute to progress. You can support gay marriage but not believe in global warming. You can be staunchly antiwar and still believe the Second Amendment is the backbone of our Constitution. There is no monolithic liberal agenda being peddled and there is no single definition of a “progressive,” and this newsmagazine reflects that.
Whether you founded a group concerned with human trafficking, volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club, lecture in the history department, or chair the ASSU Advocacy Committee, there is a place within these pages for your thoughts. Most of us on the Farm are above-average writers and most of us have some idea of how humanity should progress spiritually, politically, socially, and economically. So harness that skill and passion and let the world know. Let the Stanford Progressive be the voice of progress on this campus – however you define it.
The Stanford Progressive
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