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We give ourselves to the future everyday. It is our hope that as the future inches closer, our masks will be enough, our vaccines will be enough, and our trust in each other will be enough. Now, Princeton is open. Friends pull in chairs to crowded tables, professors raise voices to quiet lecture halls, and music echoes throughout weekend nights. Yet the haunting fear remains. Will this “normal” last?
In the summer of 2018, incoming first-years encountered Princeton Professor Keith Whittingon’s book “Speak Freely” as the Princeton Pre-Read. For his introduction, Whittington expressed the hope that universities are “First Amendment institutions'' because they are “where ideas begin.” Universities are “bastions'' of “critical dialogue.”
On April 9, President Biden appointed Whittington to his 36-member Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. In the spirit of dialogue which Whittington himself espouses, we might hope for Whittington to engage in a meaningful exchange of views with Princeton’s student body concerning the future of the Supreme Court and of the United States.
In a recent article for The Daily Princetonian, Andi Grene ’24 wrote that we should “expect, not glorify, Princeton’s financial aid.” Although I believe the issue of whether financial aid should be expected or glorified is an unnecessary binary, Grene’s piece encourages an important and difficult discussion: how might students talk about their aid, and should they expect their aid?
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” writes the poet Elizabeth Bishop, “I lost two cities … two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.”
On the wintry morning of his inauguration, President Joe Biden sought to comfort a weary nation. “As the Bible says,” he told us, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
“Few … bend history,” Robert Kennedy said in 1966, “but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of these acts will be written the history of this generation.”
“We respect the choice of the American people,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.” Coming nearly a week after the Biden-Harris ticket won, China was one of the last global superpowers to recognize the incoming administration.
When Japan surrendered in 1945, the Nassau Bell rang for three and a half hours. From Nassau Street to Nassau Hall, a “milling crowd” of townspeople, military, and students cheered, celebrating the end.
Months ago, in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden quoted the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. “The longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up,” Biden told us, “and hope and history rhyme.”
“How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be trying on masks here because of a faraway country … [because of] people of whom we know nothing,” stated Neville Chamberlain more than 80 years ago. Londoners were donning masks, fearing what might cross the ocean waters from “faraway” Germany in the lead-up to World War II.