Washington U niversity
POLITICAL REVIEW 27.3 | November 2017 | wupr.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS 4
Terrorism vs. Gun Violence: A
Desensitized: Violence in the Media
Hanna Khalil & Ryan Mendelson
Gun Control Likes Change, Country
Aching on the Periphery of Pain Dan Sicorsky
Obsession and Phobia of the Improbable
Reconstructing Our Conscience
A Night on the Town
Did the Confederacy Ever End?
The Rhetoric of Dehumanization
Remember Flight 93
A New Solution to a New Kind of Gang Violence Connor Warshauer
Out of Excuses Max Handler
America, the Pendulum Sabrina Wang
The American Civil War Was Not a Civil War Luke Voyles
Mapping Violent Crime Hanna Khalil & Ryan Mendelson
My First Protest Ryan Mendelson
Authoritarianism: A Quick and Easy Guide Syrus Jin
The Consciousness of Trauma Hanna Khalil
How Shootings Spread
China's 19th Party Congress Yumeng Zou
EDITORS' NOTE Editors-in-Chief: Rachel Butler Dan Sicorsky Executive Director: Sam Klein Staff Editors: Michael Fogarty Max Handler Katelyn Taira Sabrina Wang Features Editors: Hanna Khalil Ryan Mendelson Finance Director: Adya Jain Director of Design: Dominique Senteza Web Editor: Nicholas Kinberg Director of External Operations: Jack Goldberg Programming Director: Liza Sivriver
Dear Reader, Nothing quite strikes a nerve for most people like the mention of violence. It’s a sensitive subject, one that gets at our deepest worries, traumas, and questions. But violence affects too many spheres of life — politics, interpersonal relationships, race issues — to be ignored. In the aftermath of Spain's repression of Catalan voters and tragic deaths in St. Louis and Wash U, amid the U.S. president and “Rocket Man” launching nuclear threats, and faced with a series of mass shootings — including the deadliest in U.S. history — and terrorist attacks, violence appears abundant, inescapable. Many are left wondering: What leads people to violence? Can political violence be purposeful? Effective? When does it cross over into terrorism? Contributors to this issue engage with these questions and several others. Some delve into familiar political questions. Connor Warshauer addresses gang violence and Hanna Khalil comments on the situation in Catalonia. Others shared personal stories of how violence touched their own lives. In a feature, Lulu Feldman considers the memory of Flight 93 and its passengers. Helen Li discusses the language barriers she and others encounter when trying to talk about violence. And Sophie Tegenu shares her experience surrounding the Jason Stockley verdict. As always, we include writing on political issues beyond our theme. Yumeng Zou provides an analysis of China’s 19th Party Congress, held in October. Other writers examine such topics as conservatism’s link to racism and the political implications of the Las Vegas shooting. We hope that the content herein prompts reflections and discussions, particularly about the omnipresence and deeply individual impact of violence. We invite you to participate in these discussions as well as future ones by submitting your feedback and content ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Front Cover: Dominique Senteza
Rachel Butler and Dan Sicorsky Editors-in-Chief
Dominique Senteza Neema Samawi Avni Joshi
TERRORISM VS. GUN VIOLENCE: A PROPORTIONAL THREAT? Hanna Khalil & Ryan Mendelson
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
for every 1 American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad in 2014, . . .
ost Americans would find these numbers surprising, expecting that more violence results from the terrorist groups at the forefront of our national security efforts. However, the data says otherwise.
One reason for this discrepancy between actual and perceived violence is where we see violence depicted most - in the media. Consider how the media covers the issue of gun violence in the aftermath of events such as the Las Vegas shooting, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. In the days and weeks following such events, there are calls to action and in-depth reviews of existing and proposed policy. But too soon, the dialogue dies down until the next tragedy makes the topic relevant once again. In contrast, the threat of foreign terrorism is covered consistently, making it a looming threat in the minds of most Americans. This dissonance between our responses to these forms of violence is not only seen in media depiction, but in our nationâ€™s allocation of money and resources as well. According to the New York Times, in the decade following 9/11, approximately $3.3 trillion was spent on anti-terrorism efforts. Compare this appropriation of funds to the lack of gun control reform in the wake of mass shootings, and instead, the money actively spent by lobbying groups such as the NRA against measures to combat gun violence. This is not necessarily to suggest that we should spend less on counterterrorism efforts. But these numbers should put into perspective how we perceive different threats, and they should cause us to question our inaction against the form of violence that is far more likely to affect us. The majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are committed by white men. Perhaps we have become desensitized to this image of perpetrator but are especially attuned to those who are Muslim or Arab. It is easier to perceive a world in which violence is enacted by outsiders. It is much harder to face a form of violence that we as a society inflict on ourselves everyday.
. . . more than 1,049 were killed by guns.* *Deaths caused by guns include all manners of gun deaths, such as homicides, suicides, and accidents.
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THE UNPRODUCTIVE RESPONSE TO SHOOTERS Sophie Attie
wo years ago I wrote an article about gun control for my high school’s political review following the tragic shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College. Prominent news sources were quick to follow the tragedy with articles describing both the shooting and the shooter himself. Many of the articles I read focused on the shooter, his background, and his ideology. Descriptions of the shooter were especially prominent in the titles of these articles, which included, “Oregon Killer Described as Man of Few Words,” and “Who is Chris HarperMercer?” At the time I thought nothing of these titles; the media was doing its job and reporting on the suspect of another tragic shooting. After the recent shooting in Las Vegas, I immediately turned to my online sources to find more information on what happened. Unsurprisingly, some of the first headlines I encountered included titles such as, “Who Was Stephen Paddock? The Mystery of a Nondescript ‘Numbers Guy’,” “Las Vegas Suspect Was a Gambler Who Drew Little Attention,” and “Las Vegas Shooter Liked Gambling, Country Music.” Are you beginning to see the pattern here? A substantial proportion of news articles on such shootings focus on the suspect as the main issue and frame him or her in misrepresentative lighting. The decision of these prominent new sources to publish such articles with titles like these frames the public’s opinion on tragic events. This type of media framing is especially prevalent when articles speak about shootings in the United States. The decision of these sources to publish such articles is a significant detriment to the United States’ perception of shootings by 1) deciding to focus and prime their viewers’ attention on the suspect instead of on issues surrounding gun control, and 2) focusing on the suspect’s life before the shooting and their mental health as opposed to framing them as murderers with access to guns. Framing and priming are two central terms here
that serve to describe how media sources can easily manipulate their viewers into thinking about certain stories in biased ways. This is seen everywhere, no matter what the broadcast or article is about, and in most cases there is nothing you can do about it since it is done so discreetly. In the cases of mass shootings, however, it is extremely detrimental to our society that these primary American news sources tend to not represent shooters and gun issues in the appropriate lighting. By focusing on the faults of the shooters as opposed to on gun control issues, they manipulate viewers to assume that the real threat in each case is the shooter and not the lack of gun regulation in the United States. When the press and politicians pin the cause of shootings on the shooters and their personal issues, backgrounds, and mental health states, they step away from the issues of gun control and avoid the burden of having to think about gun reform. Instead of implementing legislation that could prevent unstable persons from attaining a handgun or a semi-automatic, people tend to focus on mental illness and the individual issues that the shooter dealt with before the time of the shooting. The titles of articles also point to how humanely these shooters are framed in the public’s eyes. In mentioning how these shooters “enjoyed country music” and were “timid,” they step away from characterizing these killers in a way that accurately portrays their mental instability and the extreme violence they perpetrate. I’m sure, however, that if these shooters were of Muslim descent, these stories would take a completely different perspective and actually acknowledge the fact that they terrorized society. The fact is, the United States is incapable of responding correctly to a shooting when the shooter is American. When the public knows that these shooters grew up in our land, with our norms, assimilating to our expectations, we simply cannot accept that these horrific shooters were molded and raised on our own soil. How
The United States is incapable of responding correctly to a shooting when the shooter’s origin is the United States. can our country, arguably the most patriotic land there is, be patriotic about that? Americans need to face the issues surrounding gun reform, take a look at the Second Amendment again, and rethink how they respond to these shootings. When you look at the numbers, it’s not surprising that the United States has the highest rate of gun violence compared to other developed countries. The United States has the highest rate of civilian-owned firearms and, unsurprisingly, has the highest rate of homicides by firearms, opposite Australia who has the lowest rate of gun homicide, largely as a result of their total ban on guns. As the saying goes, more guns mean more gun deaths. I’m not saying there is a simple solution for this; I don’t believe Americans will abandon the Second Amendment in a day. But I do think it is time Americans begin to confront the issue our country is facing with gun violence and gun control, and a good start might be with how the media and important public figures frame shootings — and shooters — in the eye of the public.
Sophie Attie ‘20 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
OBSESSION, AND PHOBIA OF THE IMPROBABLE Liza Sivriver | Illustration by Eddie Ho
une 12, 2016 broke me. The entire world mourned in tragedy as a gunman launched a horrific hate crime at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Waking up to a phone full of notifications led to my disbelief, anger, and eventually terror. I didn’t leave my bed for hours or leave my house that day, fearful of being on the receiving end of the same crime. This narrative felt not too different from a weekend of my own — only a week earlier I had visited a dancehall club in Uptown Minneapolis with a friend. We danced, drank, laughed, and enjoyed safety that now felt fabricated. Where would I go if a shooting happened there? With only one exit in the front and a broken bathroom lock, the nightclub now had no escape nor hiding place. That summer I was learning how to define my sexuality and anticipated being with other LGBT people in these safe spaces, but now the thought of “that could have been me” made going out to a gay nightclub completely out of the question. I’ve always been a little superstitious. Russians pride themselves on how many ridiculous superstitions they follow. Don’t whistle in the house or you’ll lose money; you shouldn’t sit at the corner of a table or you won’t have friends; the list goes on and on. I followed these out of a sense of nostalgia and tradition, but after June 12, I ditched all my weird habits and became obsessed with mass shootings instead. Terrified of being a victim, I took precautions that now seem extreme. For the whole summer of 2016, I rarely went to public places. I remember going to watch the second installment of The Purge, and running out of the movie theater before the opening credits even rolled. My obsession with mass shootings followed me wherever I went. The diner that my friends and I visited every Friday felt like a deathtrap. Barely able to finish a plate of fries, I would fake an excuse to leave every time. This annoying voice compelled me to locate possible exit routes whenever I entered a room, forced me to duck behind the cash register at work whenever a customer came in with a suitcase, and convinced me that every loud noise was a gunshot.
Arbitrarily I would be compelled to complete a task an odd number of times to “ensure” that I wouldn’t be a victim of a mass shooting that day. Nevertheless, I couldn’t shake this feeling of guilt that followed my fear. All statistics concluded that I was the improbable gun violence victim — a white female from suburbia, and on an elite college campus. Men (and boys) make up the vast majority of gun homicide victims (84 percent in 2010). Black men are 14 times more likely than non-Hispanic white men to be shot and killed with guns. Many, but not all, my demographic factors made me less susceptible to gun violence or a mass shooting. Why should I be scared, when clearly the odds are in my favor? Processing my privilege along with the numerical evidence still didn’t make me less afraid every time I left my bedroom. I had a difficult time rationalizing that OCD doesn’t accept likely probability, but rather just is.
News stories report the unordinary, but by doing so, they normalize violence and tragedy. I can’t help but wonder if I would have still developed this phobia if my phone wasn’t constantly blowing up with notifications. Since I so easily empathized with the events in Orlando, I now visualized myself in terrorist attacks that followed. Every recent development I took to heart, agonizing about how I would have reacted in that situation. Notifications about this bombing or that shooting made me even more anxious, so I unplugged from all my news apps. The shame that came with not following tragedy was unshakable. It felt morally wrong
to dismiss people that died in these tragedies, almost an insult to their memories not to learn their names and the circumstances around their untimely deaths. However, this shame felt better than perpetual fear. My fear eased, and implied to me that the news feeds off of our common insecurities. Through my news detox, I learned that it’s okay to take a break, but it’s also important to contextualize current events. Political scientist John Mueller points out that in most years bee stings, deer collisions, ignition of nightwear, and other mundane accidents kill more Americans than terrorist attacks. But of course, we’re not getting push notifications about these humdrum, although tragic, accidents. News reports the unordinary, but by doing so, normalizes violence and tragedy. These events are so extraordinary that they will almost certainly not happen to the vast majority of people. Being critical of news coverage not only taught me about how news coverage operates on fear and anxiety, but also played a significant role in recovering from OCD.
Liza Sivriver ‘20 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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RECONSTRUCTING OUR CONSCIENCE Ishaan Shah | Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
as Vegas county sheriff Joseph Lombardo called him a “lone-wolf type actor.” President Trump called him “pure evil.” Las Vegas mayor Carol Goodman called him a “crazed lunatic.” But why does Joseph Paddock — a 64-year-old man and now the perpetrator of one of the largest terrorist attacks in American history — not get called a terrorist? The federal government characterizes terrorism as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." While the motive of Joseph Paddock remains unclear, it is undeniable that his actions were meant to “intimidate and coerce the government and civilian population.” It is clear that the conflict over using the t-word when referring to domestic terrorism lies deeper than its poor legal definition. The policy choice of what we decide as terrorism may be tied to deep-seated bias which has hidden acts of domestic terrorism that have plagued America’s history. To reflect back on America’s tension with domestic terrorism, it is essential to look at the most successful terrorist organization in America’s history: The Ku Klux Klan. In 1866, former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest founded the Klan primarily to fight the efforts of Reconstruction and radical Republicanism. The Klan’s primary motive at the time was to disenfranchise voting African Americans and make sure power structures which oppressed African Americans largely remained in place post-Civil War. This effort was primarily enforced through a network of violent murders to intimidate black voters and Southern sympathizers so that Democrats could continue to hold public office in the South. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, there were over 3500 racially-motivated lynchings reported between 1865 and 1900 along with multiple mass murders, arson, and systemic voter suppression. The wave of violence seen in the South after America abolished slavery was unlike anything seen in any other society that abolished slavery in the 19th century. This bloody account of America’s transition to a post-slavery society is often misrepresented and
suppressed in American history textbooks. In 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported that high schools students knew less about Reconstruction than any other period in American history. A study conducted on Mississippi history textbooks from 1887 to 1976 found that Mississippi textbooks primarily taught Reconstruction through the lens of the “Lost Cause” myth, an ideology which paints the Civil War as an honorable struggle to preserve the Southern way of life. When sociologist, James Loewen attempted to publish his own textbook, Mississippi: Conflict and Change, that included the bloody details of Reconstruction in Mississippi, he was fiercely challenged in the U.S. District Court in the lawsuit Loewen v. Turnipseed. Clearly, Reconstruction has not been an easy topic to broach but what has caused this contention? At its core, the issue comes down to how the story of Reconstruction is told. The popular interpretation of Reconstruction in the mid1900’s was the “Dunning School,” pioneered by William Archibald Dunning, a professor at Columbia. It portrayed post Civil-War America as a country recovering from a brutal war which attempted a series of disconnected actions somewhat related to increasing liberty for freed slaves which were largely unsuccessful. Consequently, many of today’s textbooks tried to maintain this perspective in their own historiography of Reconstruction. What this perspective misrepresents is that there was in fact a legitimate, organized effort by the country to make a transition to a post-slavery society. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, after Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867, there were many jurisdictions where black voter turnout reached 90 percent and over six hundred African Americans were elected as state legislators. Furthermore, Republicans successfully passed the 14th and 15th amendment to erase race-based discrimination and a preliminary version of the Civil Rights Act in quick succession in 1868 and 1869 marking further progress towards racial equality. So, where was the monumental change resulting from these landmark legislations? It was nonexistent in the South largely due to the largest terrorist network in American history. The Ku
Klux Klan managed to prevent real legislative progress with strategic violent riots before elections where they murdered hundreds of African Americans in order to scare them from voting so that Democratic leaders controlled the South. The violent terrorism was so pervasive in the South that it required federal attention. In response to multiple reports about racial violence in the South, President Grant asked for and passed the Second Enforcement Act which allowed the government to suspend habeas corpus to respond to the Klan’s terrorism. This successfully allowed Grant to super-
The reality of Reconstruction is ugly, bloody, and terrible, but we should not let America’s failure in the 1870s and 1900s define how we address domestic terrorism today. sede state disobedience in enforcing the 14th and 15th amendments, creating precedent for the use of federal power to curb mass violence. While Grant’s enforcement acts were successful in decreasing the violence and the prominence of the Klan’s tactics, the social order that oppressed African Americans remained. However, there was now precedent for using federal power to combat the Klan’s terrorism and its organized violence. Grant’s progress with the Enforcement acts would largely be erased prior to the second rise of the Klan, as the Klan resurges in the 1920’s. Largely due to the film, Birth of a Nation, a movie which romanticized the Klan and was
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screened by president Woodrow Wilson in the White House, images of the Klan as a terrorist organization that incited mass violence were erased from America’s conscience. What instead followed was a shift in ideology to look at these domestic terrorists as heroes, “restoring order to the chaos of the South during Reconstruction.” What is apparent is that Birth of a Nation not only brought back the Klan but also normalized violence in the vein of “preserving America.” It cemented that violence created by domestic upheaval is not an ideological or cultural threat; instead, violence at home is a symptom of progress. The repercussions of this era are far-reaching. Brown v. Board of Education, the first truly successful push for progressive civil rights reform came 90 years after the Civil War ended. The Klan’s methodology for pushing change through violence was very effective and its success in doing so only ingrained its romanticizing in the South. Undeniably, the Klan’s tactics were the use of violence to incite terror, a practice which the U.S. wholeheartedly derides today. Unfortunately, both the embarrassment from the North and the nostalgia from the South of America’s history with these crusaders makes Reconstruction a topic which America continues to avoid as a whole. Its own sensitive history and
its deep ties to American identity are a reminder of America’s visceral failure to combat domestic terrorism yesterday and today. Arguably, the era of Reconstruction has shaped how we as Americans address the concept of domestic terrorism. The press and many politicians will refuse to label “homegrown” acts of violence as “terror” even though the legal federal definition clearly includes it. As a country, it seems as if it is hard to acknowledge that terrorism has a powerful influence in America even today as it did during Reconstruction. A large part of this fear of domestic terrorism is clearly rooted in America’s own intimate relationship with it during the period. And because of this fear, America continues to choose to define domestic terrorism narrowly such that we can explain away these acts of terror as merely unfortunate events. It is a strong American belief that its society is not controlled by violence but by just, democratic principles. Anything which calls that into question threatens American character and identity. The fact that Reconstruction highlights a period not only where violence was successfully but was also celebrated makes it an incredibly tense topic. This is why Reconstruction historiography attempts to hide or reorient the
focus of Reconstruction towards the instability during the period and how that was resolved making it seem less important. Yes, the reality of Reconstruction is ugly, bloody, and terrible but we should not let America’s failure in the 1870’s and 1900’s define how we address lingering problems with domestic terrorism today. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that the KKK had such a strong influence on America’s history, but an honest reading of our own history is what we need to solve today’s problems. Terror comes from a universal use of violence in order to intimidate the citizen population; it is not concerned with whether the terrorist is someone we relate to or not. Evaluating our past for what it is will help us come to terms with the reality of domestic terrorism in all of its forms so that we can have a real conversation about reducing it. Maybe then we will be able to call Joseph Paddock what he is: a terrorist.
Ishaan Shah ‘20 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
A NIGHT ON THE TOWN S Sophie Tegenu | Photo courtesy of Flickr
even kids sit on a curb. They try to sit on the curb next to the gas station but the owner kicks them out. Still, they sneak into the station one by one and use the only bathroom around for miles. The last person comes back from the bathroom and the group gets ready to leave, only to find that they are still only six. “Where’s number 7?” someone asks. “Oh, he always wanders away,” another answers. A small search party disseminates and everyone starts calling out for 7. They walk up and down the side of the road, unease gnawing at each of their stomachs. A black car pulls up beside them and slowly creeps up the same road. The unease quickens their pulses.
Finally, the seventh member appears, though the car remains. He storms back to them from the opposite direction of their search, drink in hand. “Where did you go?” someone asks. “Why am I here?” he counters. Pale yellow light covers the sidewalk where everyone has become silent. They look at 7 apprehensively. An alert pops up on a few of their phones. The emergency is over. “Why am I here,” he repeats, "when I should really be at home?” The black car continues to inch up the road. One girl gestures at it menacingly. “Why am I here when they are destroying my home?” The driver looks out his window at the group, waiting or wanting something they can’t give him. “I need to go to the Loop. I need to go home.” OK fine, let’s all go to the Loop. “No, you shouldn’t go to the Loop.” He gestures at the girls. “But I have to. Maybe I could stop this.” “What could you possibly stop?” someone asks. “I’m angry. I’m angry, too. But what does destroying my home — what does this help?” But if you go… “If I go, maybe the Starbucks wouldn’t have been shattered. Maybe I could have stopped one
person from doing one thing.” None of the others can respond. Most have never been so directly confronted with the realities of this city. The black car finally turns right at the stoplight. Another alert pops up. Ignore the last message. The emergency is not over. “Back at school, I make a point to be active. I’m… I’m involved, politically. In Richmond, I’m involved with social issues; I make my presence known. But now I’m here. I’m here and I’m home and the one time I’m home I should be there but I’m here. I should be there but I had to find out about the riots on Twitter instead of being there myself. I’m here, avoiding it, when I should be there.” He looks around, shaking his head. His voice is beginning to break. Everyone’s eyes are beginning to water. Please, someone says, don’t be stupid. Don’t die. “If I die… that’s it, if I die. But I need to be there. I need to go. I am going. They are destroying my home.”
“I need to go to the Loop. It was nice visiting Wash U, and thanks for letting me park on campus, but I need to pick up my car and go home now.” He looks up at the lamp. 4 looks down at the pavement and imagines herself casually walking to Starbucks, surrounded by shattered windows. She imagines 7 purposefully walking to his home, picking up pieces of broken glass. The day before, the Balloon Glow had taken place in Forest Park. Around 9 p.m., after every balloon was taken down, an announcer entreated the crowd to wait for fireworks. The audience waited and waited and waited, but no fireworks ever came. Disappointed, they made their way home. A park worker was overheard saying that after the Stockley verdict that came out that day, fireworks just didn’t seem right. The Uber finally arrives and all seven pile in. The driver tries to make conversation but no one is in the mood. They drive in silence. A few of them feel disgusted with themselves, wondering how they could have gone out the night before. Some others feel carsick. Everyone feels hopeless. The lights of downtown cross and blur in their eyes. They drive past the Arch and it just doesn’t seem right. It feels like it should be broken, or maybe just a little cracked.
No one breathes. Hearing 7 speak of dying so seriously causes them all to shake. They are so close to the headlines that flash endlessly on the news. He swings his arms, stretching them wide and bringing them in close to his body. No one else moves. Is your grandma OK? “Yeah, yeah she’s fine. She’s a strong black woman. No one can mess with her. But. I. Need. To. Go.” They check on the Uber. It’s still five minutes away. “Will you go with him?” one of the girls asks one of the boys. “Yes,” he responds.
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DID THE CONFEDERACY EVER END? Luke Voyles | Photo courtesy of Flickr
n July 30, 2017, April Reign posted a message onto Twitter that would reverberate throughout the night. She created
a hashtag called #NoConfederate in response to HBO’s Game of Thrones creators plans to create a show called Confederate where the Confederacy triumphed in the American Civil
War. Overnight, the hashtag became the second most popular on Twitter and forced a defense by HBO of the show. When I heard the news about the protest, I pondered to myself a singular question. Wouldn’t it be more interesting
Wouldn’t it be more interesting to see if and how the Confederacy survived in spite of the Union’s victory?
Though the New York Democrat Grover Cleveland
change in fortune after Grant’s retirement.
1892 and would win the electoral college in 1884
Confederate influence on American politics contin-
spite of the Union’s victory? Admittedly, there is
ued throughout the entirety of Reconstruction. In
no government that rules over a country called
the 1876 election, Rutherford Hayes (Republican)
the Confederate States of America and there has
defeated Samuel Tilden (Democrat) in the elec-
not been such a nation since 1865. However, its
toral vote while losing the popular vote while an
influence on American politics and on American
Electoral Commission (with an eight Republican-
culture continue through various facets even now.
appointed majority out of fifteen) voted based
ernments ruled in the former Confederate states. Even when the federal government allowed the states of the South to participate in Congress, they remained under observation and Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi did not participate in the 1868 presidential election. African-Americans could vote under the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 and 1868 and the Force Bills of 1870 and 1871. Law professor and historian Bruce Ackerman pointed out that were African-Americans not allowed to vote in 1868, Horatio Seymour (Democrat) would have carried the popular vote despite the pro-civil rights Ulysses Grant (Republican) burying him in the electoral college. This happened despite Seymour’s vice presidential candidate Francis Blair of Missouri denouncing civil rights for African-Americans and urging full acceptance of the South without any more repercussions. In 1872, the Democrats could not find a candidate to unseat the popular Grant. Therefore, they endorsed the Liberal Republican ticket of Horace Greeley for president and Benjamin Gratz Brown for vice president that arose when Greeley criticized the numerous scandals surrounding Grant’s cabinet. Greeley lost and the Democrats of both the North and the South could only hope for a
swept the former Confederate states in the closest popular vote margin among the two major candidates in American history. A major reason that Hancock (a Union general) was able to win the South was that white Southerners tended to vote solely Democratic after Hayes compromised with the South to end military Reconstruction.
would win the popular vote in 1884, 1888, and
to explore how the Confederacy has survived in
In 1865, Reconstruction began and military gov-
poll. Both candidates won 19 states and Hancock
on their parties 8-7 to end the election in favor of Hayes when the voting results in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida was too close to call. In 1880, James Garfield (Republican) defeated Winfield Hancock (Democrat) in the electoral college by a vote of 214 for Garfield to 155 for Hancock. However, he won the popular vote in all polls though by wildly different amounts. He won by less than 10,000 votes according to one
and 1892, increasing Republican support in new states in the northern and western United State and the Panic of 1893 during Grover Cleveland’s second term rendered the Fourth Party System from 1897 to 1933 virtually dominated by the Republican Party with the exception of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. Nevertheless, the former Confederate states consolidated their control over both white and especially African-Americans by refusing the right of most African-Americans to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment. There was also a decided split between the South and the Deep South. The Deep South is an admittedly vague term that usually connotes states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The other states would usually vote for Democrats over the next 80
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years for president. States like Tennessee could
Edward Douglass White from associate justice to
Virginia, the president of the United States from
go to Warren Harding in 1920 or even Louisiana
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court! Such actions
1841 to 1845, and John Breckinridge of Kentucky,
could go to Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. After the
did not provoke widespread disgust and were
the vice president from 1857 to 1861, both sought
1876 election, no state from the Deep South ever
accepted by the American people as being in the
positions within the new Confederate govern-
voted for a Republican for president until the anti-
spirit of meritocracy and of reconciliation.
civil rights Republican Barry Goldwater won sev-
ment and military respectively. Additionally, Justice John Archibald Campbell left the U.S.
I do not oppose Confederate as I believe that that could lead to other controversial shows being cancelled in the future. I do wish they had looked at the century and a half following the Civil War’s conclusion.
Supreme Court to join the Confederacy in 1861.
his pro-Southern mother and Democrats such
Though the Confederacy affected government
are readily available books. Americans should
as Walter Mondale of Minnesota helped to
directly, it also harmed the South’s image in such
learn to accept the fact that the Confederacy was
pass the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Northern
a way that the image of the South has never com-
an even more oppressive version of South Africa
Democrats and Southern Democrats split
pletely healed. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson became
or Rhodesia. At least in those countries, slavery
during the election of 1860 over the Northern
the first person elected to the presidency from
was illegal while apartheid was the law of the land.
Democrats’ refusal to announce the territo-
a former Confederate state since 1848 with
ries completely open to slavery and the split
Zachary Taylor of Louisiana’s election in that year.
remained palpable well into the 1960s.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter of Georgia became the
eral Deep South states in 1964. Both before and after the 1964 election, independent Southern candidates won states in the Deep South such as Strom Thurmond winning Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina in 1948, Henry Byrd winning Mississippi and Alabama in 1960, and George McGovern winning Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia in 1968. Even after the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s and the Republican shift in the South during the 1960s and the 1970s, Democrats remained in control of the position of governors for far longer. In 2003, Sonny Perdue became the first Republican governor of Georgia since Benjamin Conley in 1872 and the same patterns emerged in other Deep South states, albeit more quickly than in Georgia. To be clear, the parties do not openly show any vestige from the Confederacy. While the Republicans became vilified in the South as the party of Abraham Lincoln and of the conquerors, Theodore Roosevelt spoke fondly of
The Confederacy also had an enormous impact in the national government besides the presidency. Hayes promised to always have a southern Democrat in his Cabinet and to that end he hired a Southerner as his postmaster general. Both Republican and Democrat presidents rarely balked at nominating former Confederate soldiers for positions not only in the Cabinet, but also to the United States Supreme Court. Grover Cleveland nominated Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar of Mississippi and Edward Douglass White of Louisiana to the Supreme Court while William Howard Taft (Republican) appointed Horace Lurton of Tennessee while promoting
However, a key question following such a historical background is whether vestiges from the Confederacy still survive today. Certainly the reforms during the latter half of the twentieth century destroyed most of the most egregious effects of the Confederacy after Reconstruction, but not all of them died. Mississippi remains the only state with a Confederate flag on its state flag and the people of the state confirmed as the de jure flag in 2001. On May 29, 2017, Brandenburg, Kentucky, accepted a monument to Confederate soldiers formerly standing at the University of Louisville. In 2008, H.W. Crocker III even wrote a book called The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, stating on the cover that the South “had the moral high ground” and falsely stating that the Vatican supported the Confederacy. I have seen Crocker’s book in a public library this year and in a Barnes & Noble store with other books in the Politically Incorrect Guides series and they
first man the American people elected from the Deep South since 1848. In both the Republican and the Democratic Party, candidates from the former Confederacy did not help out tickets because the South was so solidly Democratic that no candidate from the South appeared until Senator Joseph Robinson of Arkansas ran as the vice presidential nominee with Al Smith on the Democratic ticket in 1928. The South formerly held great clout in the presidency, as eight of the first twelve presidents came from a state that
The Confederacy as a government and even as a strong governmental influence died decades ago. However, American culture has not recovered from its seismic effects. I do not oppose HBO producing Confederate as I believe that such a reversal could lead to other controversial but important shows being cancelled in the future. I do wish the producers of Game of Thrones had looked at the century and a half following the Civil War’s conclusion. The actual historical events and phenomena are almost certainly more interesting and more complex than any screenwriter could create or could even imagine.
would join the Confederacy. Formerly respected figures in antebellum politics became disgraced for their support of the Confederacy. John Tyler of
Luke Voyles '18 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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THE RHETORIC OF DEHUMANIZATION Rachel Butler
n the evening of April 19, 2013, crowds in Boston cheered, waved American flags, and shouted, “USA! USA! We got him!” as Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody. Mayor Thomas M. Menino was recorded saying that he hoped the court system “throws the book at [Tsarnaev]” by giving him the harshest sentence possible. Both scenes seemed out of place given the grimness of the bombing itself and of Tsarnaev’s violent arrest, which involved a manhunt and multiple shootouts.
People across the country voiced their opinions of what they felt were suitable punishments for the suspect, often extremely graphically. I was a junior in high school in a suburb of Boston at the time of the bombing, and my classmates joined in the national display of hatred towards Tsarnaev. My social media feeds filled with such statements as, “I hope he rots in jail,” “He deserves to be murdered,” and even the disturbingly common sentiment of wanting to personally torture Tsarnaev. One of my classmates wrote on Facebook that Tsarnaev should be hung from a lamppost in Boston, and the people of Boston allowed to do whatever they wanted to him. That day in 2013, I was appalled by these sentiments that my peers openly shared. The bombing itself deeply shocked and scared me – my dad ran the marathon that day, and my mom and brother were at the finish line when the bombs went off – but the reactions of people close to me felt in some ways more jarring. Not only was I faced with the monsters who were the bombers themselves, but I also saw people I knew showing a new, and to me monstrous, side of their characters. In 2013, the outright dehumanization of a person by those close to me, no matter how terrible the crimes that person had committed, seemed new, foreign and horrifying to me. But the rise of Trump has made that kind of dehumanization – and the support for extralegal action that it engenders – part of mainstream America. At an event discussing the Trump administration’s efforts to combat the MS-13 gang, Trump
The bombing itself deeply shocked and scared me — my dad ran the marathon that day, and my mom and brother were at the finish line when the bombs went off — but the reactions of people close to me felt in some ways more jarring. said of police treatment of suspected criminals, “Please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over it. Like, don't hit their head, and they've just killed somebody. I said, you can take the hand away, O.K.?” He was effectively arguing for extralegal violence against crime suspects – erasing their legal and human rights in the service not of public safety, but of violent and as yet legally unfounded retribution. This is just one example among many other similar statements made by Trump directly or obliquely endorsing extralegal violence against perceived criminals and opponents. As many have noted throughout Trump’s rise, his presence on the national stage makes this kind of rhetoric, which strips human and legal rights away from its targets, feel more acceptable to many Americans. Even those who do not agree with this rhetoric are no longer surprised by it when it comes from those around them, as I was following the marathon bombing. That lack of surprise is dangerous. Resignation to violent rhetoric can lead to indifference to it, which eventually could lead to a failure to prevent the violence described in the rhetoric from actually occurring. Our president ‘rules by tweet,’ as many political commentators have noted. The immediacy of social media allows rhetoric to quickly spread, and quickly mutate into action. If tweets and Facebook statuses were to dictate the law after the marathon bombing, Tsarnaev might have been hung from a lamppost for the people of Boston to exact
their revenge as they wished. Rhetoric that dehumanizes criminals and terrorists and calls for extralegal action appeals to people’s desire for immediate gratification and retribution. It also prevents us as a nation from facing the underlying issues that create acts of crime and terror in the first place. By turning the perpetrator of a crime into a monster, we avoid facing the monstrous forces in society, and perpetuate them by unleashing a cycle of violent rhetoric and actual violence. Tsarnaev was, in fact, given the given the harshest sentence possible: he was sentenced to the death penalty in May 2015, two years after the bombing, to little fanfare in Boston. My high school classmates who had posted about wanting his death were silent on social media following the sentence. The justice system, though it had condemned Tsarnaev to death, had treated him as a person, respecting his rights. That was not what my classmates had wanted; they had wanted revenge, at the expense of human rights and the moral systems of our country.
Rachel Butler ‘18 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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TRANSLATING VIOLENCE Helen Li | Illustration by Avni Joshi
t was 7 p.m. I had just gotten off the phone with family.
“Are you doing okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine.” “Okay, I just wanted to make sure. Sheng lu yi si zheng zai naoshi. 圣路易斯正在闹事” My mother was referencing the recent protests that had erupted in response to the St. Louis verdict, where the court acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley for the 2011 fatal shooting of black driver Anthony Lamar Smith. I was very surprised. Naoshi. After our phone call, I quickly looked up the definition of naoshi. “闹事” (naoshi) - "to create a disturbance, to make trouble." The sentence, roughly translated, meant “people are making trouble in St. Louis”. Over the course of the following days, while I talked to friends and professors here at Wash U about the verdict and its ramifications, past present and future, I increasingly realized that I had been using English only, to talk about police brutality and violence. I grew up in a first-generation immigrant household in Connecticut and then Virginia, where Mandarin, Chinese was my first language until the age of three. While my parents wanted me to maintain a connection to our heritage, Mandarin was also the language that they were most comfortable with. It was the language I used to communicate with my grandparents and extended relatives in mainland China. However, when I started college in St. Louis and started to explore my identity, my vocabulary expanded to include new words that I no longer knew how to translate. Structural Violence. Model Minority Myth. Microaggressions. Privilege. Suddenly, there was a whole part of my
experience that I did not know how to explain to my family whenever I went back home. Sometimes, when I heard something that I did not agree with, I tried to challenge their thought process. However, often the end result turned out to be that we held different understandings of the connotation of our words. The language with which we use to talk about violence can be inclusive and exclusive. Often, small nuances are lost when we try to translate them. Take the word “violence” for example. “Violent”. “Violence”. “Violently.” Depending upon how we use the word in a sentence, it holds largely disparate connotations. Similarly, in Mandarin Chinese, there are many words to describe public displays of organizing. Depending upon which word you use, the picture is totally different. For instance, 1) 游行 (youxing) = "to parade", a parade 人们 穿着古装参加游行。 People wore historical costumes to participate in the parade. Here, the word youxing connotes something celebratory, organized, and peaceful. 2) 示威游行 (shiweiyouxing) = "to demonstrate", a demonstration 警方派出大队人马 在示威游行的现场戒备。 The police were present at the demonstration in (full) force. When you add shiwei (which literally means “to show power”), the original word for “parade” becomes political. 3) 骚乱 (saoluan) = "to riot", unrest 警察大批 出动，以制止骚乱。 The police were out in full force to stop any riots. Saoluan becomes something undesirable. It connotes a sense of chaos and disorder.
Word choice can reflect a lot about the conception or misconception of an event. The word my mother had used, “闹事” (naoshi) - "to create a disturbance, to make trouble" values harmony and peace. However, it also seemingly holds the connotation of creating something out of nothing—which is not true. African Americans in the United States have faced decades of structural oppression and violence that did not just suddenly culminate into one verdict. By using this word, we erase history. We fail to acknowledge historical injustices. In contrast, the word: "抗议” (kangyi) is a verb that means “to protest, to express strong opposition to the speech, actions, or measures of someone, a country, or a unit". The verb in its function often takes a direct object. By having the ability to take a direct object, the word prompts us to find a reason. We start asking ourselves: what are people protesting? Is there a reason for their anger? Each language in this world holds deep nuances and the translator holds a lot of power in shaping the conversation. Language can thus become an intergenerational barrier to social justice conversations, which may in return affect political participation within immigrant communities. According to the Pew Research Center, eligible Asian American voter turnout still lags behind blacks, whites, and only surpassed the Hispanic voter turnout rate in the 2016 election. Although Asian Americans have been deemed a possible “swing vote”, many have also pointed out the lack of political action. Keep your head down and work hard. Where are the Asian Americans in protests? Where is the show of solidarity? In the summer of 2016, Christina Xu, a Chinese American ethnographer, started a crowdsourced grassroots online letter translation campaign titled “Letters for Black Lives” to create a space for “honest conversations about racial justice, police violence, and anti-Blackness in our families and
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communities.” The letter is to family members and speaks about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in languages such as Korean, Urdu, Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and many others. Most importantly, each translation tailored to each “community’s historical and cultural context” because “after all, the first rule of Asian America is that there is no single Asian American experience”. This letter reflected attempts of first generation immigrant youth to speak to their parents about the BLM movement in a language that their family understood. I recall jumping on the Google document when the first versions came out and seeing a flurry of action in the comments sections. People from across the country and beyond revising
each other’s translations, holding each other accountable for the connotation of the words that they were using. When we try our best to communicate about these events happening around us, we may not have the exact language to do so that does justice to what we are trying to say. As a result, things are lost in translation. Things that may not be “violent” suddenly become “violent”. The lack of activism may be due to other historically grounded reasons. However, the lack of activism may also be due to the ways that violence and protest can become lost due to the language we use and the generational gap we must overcome. While language can be a barrier, it can also be
a bridge. As children of immigrants, we can begin creating dialogue with past generations of our families regarding protest by starting with how we talk about these issues. We must strive to deepen our vocabularies so that we can start to build more empathy.
Helen Li ‘19 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REMEMBER FLIGHT 93 Lulu Feldman | Illustration by Avni Joshi
n September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda hijackers took control of four passenger planes to destroy buildings central to the United States, to harm its citizens, and to spread violence. The first two planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, flew into the twin towers in New York City. The third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, slammed into the western side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth and often least discussed plane, United Airlines Flight 93, flew towards the Capitol, where the House and Senate were currently in session. When the passengers aboard Flight 93 became aware of their hijackers, they contacted friends and family, and learned that their plane was part of a larger attack on the United States. Although the passengers were able to disrupt the hijackers and save the Capitol, the plane crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania, killing all 44 passengers on the plane. Before this past September 11, I had only known about the first three planes. The images of the twin towers collapsing and the sunken west side of the Pentagon remained prominent in my mind, while the image of the barren field where Flight 93 crashed was absent. In school, I had dedicated each annual moment of silence on 9/11 to the victims of the twin towers and the Pentagon, mourning for their friends and family while completely unaware of the victims of Flight 93. On this most recent 9/11, I was talking to my dad on the way to class when he mentioned the fourth plane. I was shocked-- How could I not have known about Flight 93? I felt guilty, depressed, and tremendously curious. I wanted to get to know the passengers from that fourth plane—who they were, how they felt, and what they said to their friends and family in those terrifying moments. Here is what I learned.
Alan Beaven was an environmental lawyer. He had one last case before he would travel to India to do volunteer work with his family. His motto, taped on the wall of his New York office, was “Fear—who cares?” Jeremy Glick told his wife Lyz, who was safe at home, "I need you to be happy, and I will respect any decisions that you make." Then he explained that the passengers were taking a vote to decide whether they should take back control of the plane. CeeCee Lyles retired from her job as a police officer and detective for six years to pursue her dream of becoming a flight attendant, much to the dismay of her family who felt that flying was more dangerous. In her last call to her husband she said, “My plane's been hijacked… I love you. Tell the boys I love them." Pilot Jason Dahl moved his flight schedule earlier in the month so that he could spend more time overseas with his wife Sandy on their fifth wedding anniversary.
Christine Snyder and Mary Steiner traveled to New York after attending the American Forestry Conference in Washington, DC. Mary flew Northwest while Christine flew United to build up her frequent flier miles. "See you tomorrow!" Mary called out, as the two parted at the airport.
Melodie Homer does not remember if her husband, Leroy, the First Officer of Flight 93, kissed her goodbye. It was 4:45am when he left the house, and she had been sick the night before. He was supposed to end his night in San Francisco.
Deena Burnett called her husband Tom from home and said, "They're taking airplanes and hitting landmarks all up and down the East Coast." Tom replied, "OK, we're going to do something," indicating that the passengers would try to take back control of the plane.
As passengers recognized the sacrifice they were making in order to divert the plane from the Capitol, Honor Elizabeth Wainio told her mother Esther, "It hurts me that it's going to be so much harder for you all than it is for me.” In 2015, a memorial was built in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed down. Gordon W. Felt, whose brother, Edward Porter Felt, died in the crash recalled the moment when he first visited the site. “I found violence,” he said. “I found the horror of the day was everywhere. Now, when I come back to the memorial, I’m much more at peace. Not to say that the emotions aren’t raw. Not to say that I still don’t harbor anger.” In the wake of instances of extreme violence such as this one, I do not know what I can do but to feel— to feel angry, violated, and confused that this happened, to feel amazed and awestruck at the initiative of the passengers to fight back, to feel that I do not want to feel anymore. But that it is the one way I know how to remember.
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A NEW SOLUTION TO A NEW KIND OF GANG VIOLENCE Connor Warshauer | Photo courtesy of Flickr
n January 24, 2017, just four days after taking office, President Donald Trump tweeted, “if Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” His rash instinct to resolve violence in Chicago with federal troops represents a dangerous misunderstanding of violence in Chicago. Trump’s tweet embodies a view of Chicago that sees the streets as a battleground for large and hierarchical rival gang factions to wage bloody wars over drug money and territory. Much of the contemporary discourse on violence in Chicago remains focused on solving the gang problem of the '90s, and not the problem of today. Most people think of gangs as empires operated by kingpins rolling in drug money and commanding their subordinates. Entertainment media depictions of organized crime feed our presumption that gangs operate as illegal quasi-corporations managed through violence. This understanding of gang organization largely describes Chicago in the 1990s, but not the modern streets. Police efforts effectively took down the leadership of those drug enterprises, fragmenting gangs and leaving hundreds of disorganized cliques in their place. Today’s gang
members control only a few blocks, or in some cases, only a single street corner. These cliques still sell drugs, but there’s no longer any signs of anyone making money behind the scenes. Instead, gangs consist of young men with no other means of supporting themselves, struggling to scrape by on meager drug profits. Rather than fighting over business disagreements, gangs today get caught up in interpersonal complications that escalate to violence. These shootings create a cycle of violence in which family members or friends of victims engage in retaliatory shootings for revenge, setting off a wave of back-and-forth violence. Understanding the cause of this new violence requires a careful look at the economic situation in which these young men live. In most poor neighborhoods on the South Side, businesses have packed up and left, creating a dearth of services and employment opportunities. With no means to travel far from home to work, men living in these neighborhoods often have no ability to find employment. This lack of employment opportunity along with cycles of incarceration and little help from the government or the police breeds a profound sense hopelessness. People in these neighborhoods can find
it difficult to comprehend a life outside of their plight of poverty. The convergence of economics and hopelessness draws these men to gangs. In neighborhoods where there exists almost no legal economy, the drug dealer on the corner represents the only chance for some men to support themselves and their families. Gangs provide protection and community for people who have been traumatized and denied emotional support. The men of Chicago do not lack morality. Men make a rational choice to join gangs, at which point their situation and psychological abuse pushes many of them toward violence. If the young black men involved in gang shootings had been born into affluent white families in wealthy neighborhoods, how many of them would still wind up in shootings? Conversely, how many affluent children would have avoided the fate of these violent offenders if born into their situation? To answer either question with anything but “very few” would be inevitably rely on a tacit acceptance of racism. Confronting this conclusion forces us to realize our responsibility to give these men another option. Even the most violent offenders almost
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universally express a desire to end the cycles of violence and escape gang life. Providing these men with a job opens the door to a brighter future. Legal employment eliminates the choice between gangs and an empty table, and instead offers a third option. Still, jobs cannot effectively reduce violence without a community support system outside of the gang structure to help young men deal with emotional trauma. Without care and support, these men won’t be able to handle the difficulties of new employment and will inevitably be drawn back into gang life. On the other hand, support won’t be effective if the drug dealer on the corner is still the only way to make a living. Jobs and emotional support must work hand in hand. I propose the consolidation of many existing nonprofit and government programs to create a unified support network that isolates at risk individuals and intervenes before violence erupts. The core of this network would utilize the empirically supported CeaseFire model. CeaseFire violence interrupters and outreach workers would identify individuals for intervention, with the help of the Strategic Subject List (SSL). These outreach workers would connect at risk individuals to a government-funded jobs program and a variety of social work services. CeaseFire is an anti-violence initiative operating under the theory that violence acts as a contagion that spreads through social norms and retaliatory violence. CeaseFire employs violence interrupters, primarily ex-felons and ex-gang members, who patrol the streets and use their street cred to diffuse conflicts. Unfortunately, CeaseFire’s tense relationship with the police force, due to the identities of the interrupters, cost it most of its government funding in March 2015, resulting in dramatic program cuts. These cuts correlated down to the month with the spike in violence that has plagued the city for the past two and half years. Even leaving aside this powerful anecdotal evidence, strong statistical evidence supports CeaseFire’s effectiveness. A comprehensive 2009 Department of Justice study found that CeaseFire had a significant link to reductions in violence: “In four sites it appears that the introduction of CeaseFire was associated with distinct and statistically significant declines in the broadest measure of actual and attempted shootings, declines that ranged from 17 to 24 percent.” A separate 2014 study by the McCormick Foundation concluded that
“compared to districts that had not received intervention, CeaseFire intervention in the targeted districts was associated with a 38% greater decrease in homicides, 1% greater decrease in total violent crimes, and a 15% greater decrease in shootings.” Similar studies in other cities that use CeaseFire’s model have reported comparably positive results. The city of Chicago must overcome its discomfort with ex-felons, and should even acknowledge that these interrupters are on the whole more effective than the police. The city should increase funding to sufficient levels to allow CeaseFire program offices to operate in most or all violent Chicago neighborhoods. The CeaseFire model also employs outreach workers in conjunction with violence interrupters. According to the Department of Justice study, outreach workers “engaged likely-looking candidates on a one-to-one basis in order to gauge their situation, and asked around to find out what was known about them … 82 percent of clients had been arrested … 45 percent reported having been arrested five times or more.” These outreach workers should continue to operate in harmony with the violence interrupters to identify at risk individuals, but the city should do far more to aid these workers. The Chicago Police Department has developed an algorithm known as the Strategic Subject List to assess the risk of over 400,000 individuals in Chicago. In the hands of a community organization like CeaseFire, the SSL could be quite useful in helping outreach workers locate at risk individuals. The SSL could be used as a confirmation of on-street reporting or could help outreach workers find individuals predicted to be at especially high risk. Because CeaseFire would have no ties to law enforcement, most criticisms of the algorithm carry much less weight. The most important component of the network that I propose is connecting outreach workers with the resources needed to help at risk individuals. Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has suggested public resources be used to employ the top 2,000 most at risk individuals on the SSL. Rather, I propose that the government should develop programs to employ and educate individuals contacted and deemed high risk by CeaseFire operatives. Chicago could adopt WPA-style community development programs that employ any individuals referred to
them by CeaseFire. Surprisingly, the city could accomplish tremendous amounts of good at a low cost. Using data from the New York Times, I calculated that individuals with a score above a 380 on the SSL account for 42 percent of the total gun violence in the entire city. There are approximately 7,400 people who score above 380. For the government to employ every single one of these individuals at minimum wage (about $17,000 per year) would cost it about $127 million, only 10.17 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s annual budget. Would providing these individuals with a job really reduce gun violence by the whole 42 percent? It’s highly unlikely, but the payoffs would clearly be massive in comparison to the costs. In addition to providing CeaseFire referents with employment, the government should use the network to connect these individuals with support organizations. Chicago has many programs designed to psychologically aid violent offenders, but these programs often fail in recruiting efforts. Chicago should commit to pairing every job offered to an at risk individual with some type of emotional support structure. Working in conjunction, the many anti-violence initiatives in Chicago can succeed. The city needs to stop worrying about feeding the ego of its police department and start caring about the lives of its citizens. That means recognizing the effectiveness of the CeaseFire model and giving it the funds to work effectively throughout the city. Using CeaseFire, equipped with SSL data as the identification method for at risk individuals, the city should commit to finding employment and support for each individual. There are not tens of thousands of people out there in need of help. A small proportion of individuals perpetrate most of the violence, and a unified support network could have a tremendous impact on those individuals.
Connor Warshauer ‘21 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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DESENSITIZED: VIOLENCE IN THE MEDIA Max Lichtenstein
was three years old on the morning of September 11, 2001. I have no memory of that day, a day the nation remembers as the most violent attack on the United States in its modern history. My parents told me of their experiences on that day and the weeks of shock and depression they underwent following the attacks, just like so many other Americans. This concept of being absolutely shaken to one’s core from a violent episode in the news seems absolutely alien to me. Perhaps this stems from the unique nature of the 9/11 attacks. Such a deadly, deliberate attack on the American people and their ideals has never again occurred in my lifetime. There have been several tragedies in recent memory with casualties numbering in the thousands (the May 2013 Iraq attacks, the 2007 Yazidi bombings), which points to the idea that 9/11 had such an exceptional impact on Americans because they were the target. Why should national boundaries impact the value we give to a human life, and the time we spending mourning its loss? Desensitization to violence in the news is a common trend in the world of push notifications and around-the-clock news, but this spectrum of feeling towards a tragedy proves especially troubling. Part of this lies in human nature; one will naturally feel more of a connection to an act of violence in their hometown than one halfway across the world. Yet questions of morality arise in the realm of the press with regard to prioritizing certain tragedies over others.
The public needs a consistent and reliable source of information, and logistically speaking, information must be compared and prioritized in terms of relevance. If two tragic acts of violence occur on the same day, and one has more casualties than the other, more press time will be spent on that tragedy. Mathematically it makes sense. Morally it is troubling. The choices made regarding coverage force the press to be cold and calculating when addressing tragedies. But beyond the numbers, these choices reflect the Western-centric nature of American politics and general focus.
An excellent case study for this phenomenon lies in the presentation of news on November 13, 2015. If you think back to violent attacks in November of 2015, or recent acts of global terrorism in general, many minds jump to the series of attacks on Paris, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. Fewer may consider the suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon which occurred on the same exact day. While both resulted in immense casualties (137 and 43, respectively), these violent attacks received very different types of coverage in Western news sources, in type, degree, and depth. An article in The Atlantic posted two days after these attacks analyzed this disparity in coverage, pointing out that while the news reports surrounding the Paris calamity had the benefit of to-the-minute updates as the violence unfolded, the situation in Beirut was essentially just another headline. Journalists poured out a plethora of articles with first or second-hand accounts of the experiences of survivors and victims, highlighting the emotion and human suffering behind the tragedy. As for the language surrounding Beirut, a reader could easily shrug it off as another unfortunate act of violence in the vague conflict of Middle Eastern politics. Take the main headlines alone from the November 12 and November 13 issues of the New York Times. One November 13, they ran a huge banner headline announcing “Paris Attacks Kill More Than 100, Police Say; Border Controls Tightened,” with a powerful picture of distraught French paramedics rushing to rescue. The day before, the story covering the Beirut bombings ran on page A6, with the headline reading “ISIS Claims Responsibility for Blasts That Killed Dozens in Beirut.” Right out of the gate, journalists put the violence in a political context, rather than holding off on politicization like they did for Paris. So what are the implications of such patterns in coverage, and what do they mean for desensitization? Do we, as Americans, simply care more about people that look like us? Is there an implicit bias toward white lives, or is it just a matter of familiarity? When a violent
The choices made regarding coverage force the press to be cold and calculating when addressing tragedies. But beyond the numbers, these choices reflect the Western-centric nature of American politics. episode occurs in a first world country, or when violence takes place domestically, the threat becomes much more tangible. Regardless of the cause, only letting these “familiar” tragedies affect one’s psyche skews the perception of human value. And furthermore, turning off our emotion to any of this violence presents problems in itself. Some will argue that if we let each and every violent attack in the news affect us fully, then we would not be able to function. However, I think channeling the emotions we feel--anger, frustration, sadness, fear--are key to inciting change. Politics is emotional, and shutting yourself off emotionally impedes progressive thought.
Max Lichtenstein '20 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACHING ON THE PERIPHERY OF PAIN Dan Sicorsky | Illustrations by Madeline Montoya
ou and I are alive and thus we have not died. But have you ever been in pain?
I was chatting with a friend by the bleachers when the shooting began at the high school athletic field where I recently found myself during a dream. The concrete area was spacious, but it was fenced off. The rhythm of shots bounced off the fences: there was nowhere to go. As the tempo grew, other young people were climbing and falling, or scouring in corners. I thought them shortsighted and scattered — easy targets. I would be tactful. I would survive. I grabbed my younger sister, who was standing nearby, clutched her to the point of her immobilization, and ran, hid under a set of bleachers with enough room for two bodies, hers and mine. I felt canny. He would never find us here. Once he did, I looked at the bore of the rifle he pointed directly at my face and imagined it delivering my life’s end. I awoke just as he changed his mind and shot someone else. I do not know where that victim was hit, nor how he or she fared. Conflict and terrorism: 150,457 dead*
♦ My father walked into the bathroom around 11:30 p.m. on the night seven years ago that he fell and damaged his brain. Lung and bone cancers had for five years worn him, but it was a stroke on this night that started his end. A leased hospital cot had to be placed in his bedroom to cradle his body. Though it was once strong-limbed — that of an athlete, family man, and full-time surgeon (who worked also as a banker) — now it was falling apart. After the fall, his figure was feeble and gaunt, and his cancerous bones were failing. My father’s body was distressed as he progressively lost his speech, cognition, and bodily functions. His eyes used to be intense, emboldened by a lifetime of performing intricate surgeries and spotting bank clients’ lies; now, he could hardly keep them open, and in those moments when he could, they squinted at you. His mouth, used
to sharing jokes and emphasizing words, now creaked open just slightly whenever the nurses tried to feed him blended food that dripped out of the corners of his lips. His legs, those of a runner and swimmer, now laid limply on his wheelchair. He would attempt sometimes with all his might to stand. But with all his frail muscles straining, he would fall, his wheelchair there to catch him.
her on their bed, a king-sized comfort from my father’s past life. At around 2:00 a.m., as I slept, the nurse let my mother know it was time. I do not remember my mother waking me and walking me to my own bedroom. Better that way. I slept soundly as twilight grew and his life faded. Falls: 678,458 dead
One rough night in June, his breathing was more broken than usual and his energy waning. My mother suggested to my sister and me that while our father slept in his cot, we sleep with
In a stairwell about 20 meters away from my high school English classroom, a 17-year-old Black junior was caught with an empty bag containing marijuana residue. Suspended for 10 days from our Miami public high school, the student went to visit his father in Sanford, Florida, where he lived with his fiancée. While the couple were out for dinner on the night of Sunday, February 26, 2012, the young man stayed home playing video games. At some point in the evening, he walked to a convenience store, where at 6:24 p.m., he bought some candy and iced tea. At 6:54 p.m., he began talking on the phone with his friend Rachel. At 7:09 p.m., while the young man was still headed home, a Hispanic man, the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community, called the Sanford Police
ride to school. This is the Anyeli my sister and I expected to find as we opened the door of the van one Friday morning in 2008, when I was 11. Instead, we found her sobbing into the phone at the driver’s seat and waving around three moist tissues. When we opened the door, she paused her conversation, turned to us, and asked that we return home and ask our parents for money. The night before, she said, her close friend’s 10-yearold son, Esteban, had been shot dead. Her friend was distraught, so Anyeli was overseeing the funeral arrangements, and every penny helped. At home, we sputtered to our parents the jumbled story we were just told. They gave us $25 cash to return to Anyeli, but the dollar amount did not please her very much. “What good will this do?” she said in Spanish on the phone.
Department to report “a real suspicious guy.” The watchman told the dispatcher he was frustrated that "these fucking punks” walked around his neighborhood aimlessly. He was concerned that "these assholes, they always get away.” The “punk” told Rachel on the phone that he saw a man tagging him in a truck. He began to run. At 7:11 p.m., the watchman told the dispatcher that the young man was running, and that he was going to follow him. The dispatcher told the watchman: "OK, we don't need you to do that.” The watchman disobeyed. At 7:13 p.m., the watchman ended his call to the dispatcher, and at 7:16 p.m., the call between the “punk” and Rachel was dropped. At 7:17 p.m., the watchman shot the young man in the chest, 65 meters from his townhouse. At 7:30 p.m., a paramedic pronounced Trayvon Martin dead.
of my schooling, the court case dragged on, George Zimmerman was acquitted on self-defense grounds, and Trayvon’s name rightly pervaded. It was on the intercom, loud during the moments of silence led by the principal to be broken only by her crackling sobs. Everywhere, gossiped about when the same principal received dozens of death threats blaming her for Trayvon’s suspension and therefore death. Trayvon’s death was on the tidy sidewalk demonstrations and weak walkouts—results of students wanting to do something but unsure how. It was everywhere when then-President Obama shared that Trayvon “could have been my son.” Everywhere. Trayvon had died, and it was everywhere. Executions and police conflict: 4,378 dead
At school, Trayvon’s death was everywhere. It was in the hallways where some students whispered and others stayed to themselves. It was on the news, where over the next three years
Anyeli, our Colombian bus driver, was a joyous and gushing person, her permanent makeup lighting up her face as she gossiped with her grade-school-aged passengers in Spanish — her only fluent language — the whole 10-minute
That night I thought of Esteban. He was younger than me and attended a different school nearby, but he sometimes joined our afternoon route. He would sit by the window, quietly, his withdrawn and soft eyes staring out, his brown skin smooth and pure. Nothing about Esteban suggested a story. Much less one of a violent household where Dad threatened Mom with a barbell while she was pregnant and once hit her newborn in the head, where Mom verbally abused Dad, and where both parents lived embroiled in courtroom battles over their children. In the weeks that followed, local news outlets could tell me only so much about Esteban’s death. But Anyeli was always ahead; every morning ride, she delivered the latest detail. Slowly, her gossip built the story: Esteban’s father broke into the house where Esteban lived with his mother, and Esteban ran. He hid in his bathroom. The door was broken down. Esteban was shot in that bathroom. At 3:45 p.m. his mother found his body in that bathroom. Eleven hours later, at 1:50 a.m., police found his father: dead, too. He had shot himself in his brown Jeep, parked in the back of a Tony Roma’s. Esteban’s mother for a while avoided the scene of the murder. She stayed instead in Anyeli’s home. Anyeli told us that every morning, while we were on our way to school, Esteban’s mother slept in. I imagined her curled on a couch, holding her newborn in her arms, weeping. Interpersonal violence: 390,793 dead. Selfharm: 817,147 dead.
not keep up with your head’s rapid movement, and so it would hit your skull, hard. Your brain tissue would bruise, blood vessels tearing, and your neurons’ axons would stretch (and sometimes break), interrupting connections vital to everyday functions from speech to movement. Trauma might not affect your brain, but another organ. If you are, instead, struck by an assailant anywhere else on your body, such as your abdomen or crutch, fluid could build up inside, or maybe outside, your point of injury, causing it to swell. This in turn would potentially lead to a local fever or, in a worse case, the impairment of that organ’s function.
♦ “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”**
♦ Should you suffer an injury, your body would instantly initiate an inflammatory response. What this response would look like depends on the type, location, and severity of your hurt. In the case, for example, that you are stuck in a wildfire or fumble with the oven, your contact with temperatures above 111oF would lead the proteins in your skin cells to begin to break down. A burn like this one would elicit an inflammatory response that would lead your capillaries to leak fluid, thereby inhibiting your circulation and restricting blood flow to organs such as your kidneys and heart. If your skin remains intact but you nevertheless sustain trauma from, say, a car crash forcing your head into a windshield, the inflammatory response would look different. Your brain would
Your inflammatory response would be different if you experienced blood loss from a gunshot wound or other type of gash. Here, trauma’s “triad of death” — the positive feedback loop of hypothermia, coagulopathy, and acidosis — would take over your system. Because of blood loss, your oxygen levels would subside, leading your body to cool and likely enter hypothermia. The diminishing temperatures would prevent your blood from coagulating, or clotting — the self-repair mechanism that prevents further blood loss. Your blood flow would remain unimpeded, and your oxygen levels would keep diminishing, but, naturally, your body would continue to burn glucose for energy. This would represent your body’s last-ditch effort to survive. And the effort would likely fail. It would fail because you need oxygen to burn glucose, and — remember — your oxygen levels are low. Your body’s inefficient glucose-burning would only make things worse, leading to the release and buildup of acids that would further diminish your oxygen levels. The triad, uninterrupted as it often goes, would kill you. Injuries, all types: 4,610,990 dead
♦ Will hurricane winds need to launch your roof onto you as you sleep? Will a landslide need to bury you? Exposure to forces of nature: 7,058 dead. Will your city need to be overtaken by smog? Does your carbon monoxide alarm need to miss a gas leak? Poisonings: 57,076 dead. Will wildfires need to overtake your state, too? Fire, heat, and hot substances: 132,084 dead. Must you capsize while escaping your war-torn home on an overloaded
vessel? Drowning: 302,931 dead. Does your sedan need to tackle a ditch and skid off an overpass? Road injuries: 1,342,284 dead
♦ Must you bleed to ache? Who will be left to care if it is those who die who care? Why are those who advocate mostly those who have been hurt? How far does your empathy go? Will it take your own suffering for you to shout “enough?” Can you care about preventable injuries if you have not experienced one yourself? What sight will change you? What feeling will disturb you? What violence must you witness? Who must die? A parent? Child? Lover? You? Must you die? You have not died. But have you ever been in pain?
*Global death tolls for 2016 are based on data from the Global Burden of Disease Study. **Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran minister, writing on the dangers of apathy shortly after surviving eight years in the Holocaust’s concentration camps, where he was sent for opposing Hitler’s regime. His words, which are on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, have been borrowed and adapted by protest movements over time.
Dan Sicorsky '19 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
HOW SHOOTINGS SPREAD Tommy Yu
n October 10 at about 10 pm, Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers. From his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, he shot and killed 58 people, injuring hundreds more.
National discourse on gun control erupted, as it does whenever there is a gun massacre. Paddock had committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, overtaking the 2016 Orlando shooting at the Pulse nightclub. The public was in shock. Paddock, a 64-yearold rich, white retiree, didn’t fit the profile of a typical shooter. Why did he do it? The media dug into Paddock’s life. They discovered that he was an antisocial gambling addict. His father was once on the FBI’s most wanted list. He had prescriptions for Diazepam, an anti-anxiety drug. They’re still trying to find a motive for why Paddock decided to commit the massacre; currently, Paddock’s brain is being analyzed for mental disorders. All this should sound familiar. Whenever there’s a mass shooting, we think about gun control and frame our debate around gun control—rightfully so. Not often enough do we analyze shootings as a self-influencing trend. Malcolm Gladwell likened the phenomenon of mass shootings to that of a riot, a situation in which normal people are influenced by others to commit acts of destructive violence. To explain this connection, Gladwell looked to the theories of sociologist Mark Granovetter, who thought it was a mistake to look at riots as individual acts. He saw riots as a social process and believed that people have “thresholds,” barriers to committing acts of violence that they wouldn’t otherwise, barriers that they are willing to overstep when they have seen enough people commit the act. Granovetter’s theory runs against how we cover mass shootings. We dig into the personal histories of the perpetrators of shootings to understand them, individualizing their motives and influences. Adam Lanza had severe mental health issues and played violent video games; Elliott Rodger was racist and misogynistic; Omar Mateen was influenced both by ISIS and a rejection of his attraction towards other men.
News cycles like to focus on and uncover the stories behind each shooting individually, but they spend little time discussing how shootings beget shootings. For example, both the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook shooters were influenced by the Columbine shooting.
There are things the media can do to reduce the number of people carrying out shootings. News outlets don’t often think of the role they play in shootings. We talk about how lethal each shooting was. The way we choose to cover shootings encourages potential shooters to commit future crimes. There was an emphasis with the Orlando shooting in 2016 and the Las Vegas shooting now on how both were, at their time, the deadliest mass shooting in the US. We talk about the methods by which the shooters planned their crimes: how far in advance they started planning, what weapons they used, how they carried out the shootings. We talk about the shooters’ lives—the media essentially writes a biography for them. It’s important to recognize that talking about how bad a shooting was and how the shooters carried out their crimes are necessary to draw urgency to gun control, public safety, mental health, and other issues. But at the same time, the way we portray shootings in the media gives shooters an incredible amount of agency. Potential shooters are drawn to this power. What can we change about the way shootings are covered in the media? A possible answer may lie in the way suicides are covered. Although they might seem unrelated, shootings and suicides are similar in two respects. First, both involve those who aren’t in a right state of mind. Mentally healthy people don’t try to commit mass murder or end their own lives. Second,
both shootings and suicides are contagious. Hearing about them makes susceptible people more likely to attempt them. Suicide contagion following highly publicized accounts of suicides was an issue for a long time. In 1962, following the probable suicide of Marilyn Monroe, the suicide rate in the US increase by 12 percent when compared to the rate in months prior. The increase in suicides following highly publicized reporting of them eventually led to suicide prevention advocates establishing guidelines on how to cover suicides, with focal points being to avoid dramatizing the suicide, and to avoid portraying suicide as a solution to problems. The biggest takeaway from the suicide prevention guidelines is that there are things the media can do to reduce the number of people committing shootings. Suicide rates decrease when news reports covering them focus less on how a person went about their suicide attempt and “succeeded” or “failed,” and instead try to raise important issues such as depression. For shootings, the most crucial step media can take is the same: stop covering the personal lives of shooters so much and instead focus on the shooting itself, and more importantly, the issues the shooting raises. Stop trying to dig into Paddock’s life—if we want to talk about mental health and shootings, we should do it in a broader context. By doing so, hopefully we can prevent a tragedy such as Las Vegas from occurring ever again.
Tommy Yu ‘17 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF TRAUMA Hanna Khalil | Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
undreds Hurt as Spain Cracks Down Catalan Referendum.” “800 injured in Catalonia.” “Violence Breaks out in Spain.”
I scrolled through these headlines during the days following the historic Catalonian independence referendum, and I was in shock. I couldn’t imagine the scenes described by these titles in a country that I had visited countless times before, spending peaceful summers with grandparents and cousins. When my Spanish mother sent one of these articles to my family, she followed it with, “This is what happened under Franco. Feels like back in time.” Her instant connection to a time when this violence wouldn’t have sounded so shocking struck me as noteworthy. As a child born two decades after the death of the Spanish dictator, I lacked the memory of previous generations. Instead, this current event felt like an isolated incident, something unthinkable in a country like Spain that I viewed, wrongly, as a long-standing democracy. Our varied reactions highlighted the way in which we, as a society, often fail to apply a historical lens onto instances of violence. Too often, our instinct to quickly process and move on does not allow us to reflect on the deeper wounds left by violence – trauma. In recent years, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder have received more national attention as mental health advocates have challenged us to destigmatize these serious conditions. But in addition to confronting individual experiences, I believe we must also come to terms with the collective trauma held by entire communities, as well as the social and political consequences that result. In this regard, Spain provides a perfect case study for the ways in which trauma has shaped the consciousness of its people. Following the short-lived democratic Second Spanish Republic, and a brutal civil war, General Francisco Franco led a 36-yearlong authoritarian, religiously conservative, and fascist dictatorship. His regime suppressed regional diversity, free speech, and political difference in the name of a Nationalist, unified Spain. The civil war and the years following it were characterized by the mass killings, imprisonment, and torture of Republicans (those supporting the government prior to the war), communists, free thinkers, and anyone in opposition.
Many Spaniards carry stories of members of their village that disappeared one night, never to be heard of again, joining over 35,000 other unaccounted for individuals. Others have family lines started in foreign countries after a family member was forced into exile. And to this day, unmarked mass graves continue to be excavated, retelling a story of loss and memory. Despite the brutality and length of this regime, Spain is often characterized more by its transition into democracy than its experience of autocracy. Following Franco’s death in 1975, his appointed successor, Prince Juan Carlos, rather than continuing authoritarian rule as expected, led a peaceful and exemplary transition into the constitutional monarchy we know as Spain today. Its success at a process that many countries around the world have failed to achieve makes it easy to forget that Spain has been a democracy for not much longer than it was a dictatorship, and that many of its citizens today still carry experiences from a time they would rather forget. But this urge to move on from the past without coming to terms with it is a mistake. As a country, Spain has not done enough to reckon with, on a national level, the pain of that era. For many years, the experiences of the dictatorship were simply too recent, the wounds too fresh, to confront directly. But those experiences of collective trauma shape the country’s politics and sense of self whether they are discussed or not. That is why the events in Catalonia shook not just Catalonians, but all Spaniards, in an especially painful way. In the crowds of injured stood elderly citizens who remembered the daily physical and
psychological violence of living under oppressive dictatorship. It was a reminder that peace and stability, though taken for granted now, had a history shorter than many Spaniards’ life times. Spain’s use of violence in Catalonia was inexcusable for the most basic moral reasons. But beyond that, the Spanish government did the worst thing it could do: remind Spaniards that that the trauma of their past shouldn’t be easily forgotten. That it could come back to haunt them at any moment, like flashbacks experienced through PTSD. It will take a movement of recognition and reckoning to overcome these feelings. It will take a national dialogue, memorials giving space to those lost, and a leadership that recognizes the importance of coping with trauma in creating a real sentiment of strength. People say we need to learn from history so that it doesn’t repeat. Spain must deal and learn from its most recent history in order to strengthen its present and look forward to a better future.
Hanna Khalil ‘20 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
AUTHORITARIANISM: A QUICK AND EASY GUIDE Syrus Jin
ongratulations! You are now dictator of your nation! Through your [power acquisition method], you are in an influential position to guide your nation for the next few [days/ years/decades]! Be proud, for you are following a strong tradition of autocrats usurping democratic norms for the sake of personal gain. Play your cards right and future generations might even thank you for it!
You might be excited to get started right away with arresting opposition politicians and packing the courts with your cronies, but hold your horses! The modern era has brought changes and some historical perspective, so this guide shall attempt to give you some pointers on how to shore up your regime and keep your head. After these few ground rules, you’ll be poised to buck the post-Cold War trend of democratization and lead your country--by yourself--into the future!
1) Allow “elections.” Trust us, keep elections! Keeping mobs off the streets should be one of your top priorities, and elections make the public feel as if their voice is heard, even if it doesn’t ultimately matter. There are many ways to guarantee an election that will be in your favor. Gerrymandering, opaque electoral authorities, clientelism, and good old-fashioned fraud are just a few of the methods that other dictators have used. Get creative!
2) Embrace the free market! Gone are the times of Communist authoritarianism. Nowadays it is easy for you to be an autocrat and a capitalist at the same time. With some basic property laws and economic institutions embracing the free market, investors will come knocking both at home and abroad! Open your arms to global capitalism and your country gets an avenue for economic growth. This will keep both the public and your cronies satisfied, guaranteeing your absolute political power. (See Singapore for further details.)
3) Don’t be afraid of the Internet. Increased access to information over the Internet can be an issue, but it’s an easy one to circumvent. There are many ways you can warp the Internet to your advantage! China is a great example of simply blocking off the outside net to its citizens. Other countries have been able to flood the web with false information or propaganda, making sure no one knows what is true anymore. Social media can also become a great tool of promoting social conformity. Remember: Big Data can be your friend!
The modern era has brought changes and some historical perspective. 4) Crackdown on corruption. There is nothing worse than an average Joe feeling cheated by a government official that he can’t vote to replace. When somebody feels there is nothing they can do to change their misfortune, they become desperate, and desperate people often do violent, rebellious things. Therefore, make sure you have a robust anti-corruption agency to keep tabs on officials. Even better, such an agency can have multiple roles! Feel free to arrest potential challengers within your government under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign. The public will love you for it!
5) Authoritarian legislatures—they’re a thing. It sounds illogical, we know! But legislatures fulfill three vital roles: First, squabbling for power between fellow ruling elites can be institutionally coordinated, preventing potential coups. Secondly, you can buy off opposition parties
with seats; parties that would otherwise take their opposition underground. Thirdly, you give the public an indirect avenue of advocacy. Even if you are not accountable to the public, it’s very important to have a proactive means of gaining information about what citizens care about. Manipulate election and party rules to your advantage, and you won’t even have to worry about such a legislature being an effective constraint on your absolute power!
6) Utilize othering.
Nothing builds social cohesion better than singling out a group to play the role of “enemy of the people.” Othering is a method proven by both democratic and authoritarian governments to promote patriotism in the general public. Laying the woes of the nation at the feet of a single group unites everyone else in a collective identity born out of hatred and fear. Just choose which group you are othering carefully! Choosing specific domestic ethnic groups might seem tempting, but this can have real and very violent consequences. If you don’t actually want to cause people to kill each other, feel free to keep it vague and simple! Other good alternatives for othering that other dictators have used in the past have included: “American imperialists,” “conspiring foreign capitalists,” “the evil IMF,” and the “global elite,” all of whom are seeking to usurp the will of the people. Does it really matter if it’s true? Not really, so long as you send a message that resonates! We hope you found this quick user guide helpful and informative! Now get out there, arrest some journalists, contribute to the death of the world’s liberal order, and have fun.
Syrus Jin ‘19 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
Build a portfolio. Express yourself. Be heard. WUPR.ORG/CONTRIBUTE WUPR welcomes submissions from Wash U undergraduates.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
MY FIRST PROTEST Ryan Mendelson | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
had no intention of joining the Delmar Loop protest on September 16. I didn’t even know there was a protest scheduled. But after seeing several police cars outside my window and hearing chanting outside, I ran downstairs with my roommate to see what the commotion was. Seeing a mass of people parading slowly down the street lined with police cars, we decided to approach the protest, armed with only our phones and our student IDs. I consider myself far more of a thinker than an activist, so heading downstairs and into a protest, regardless of the cause, was not something I had expected to take part in.
The protest had been scheduled in the wake of the verdict of Jason Stockley, a white St. Louis police officer, who had been acquitted of first-degree murder for the 2011 shooting death of a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, in a highspeed chase. After Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and countless others, to many St. Louisans, this verdict represented yet another brick in a wall that has grown far too large. While I wholly support the notion of fighting against police brutality and improving the lives of Black Americans, I myself had been skeptical of Black Lives Matter protests. Almost every protest I heard about seemed to be followed by countless headlines mentioning that the protest turned violent, and even though there are so many incidents of white cops killing black men, it still doesn’t seem right to fight fire with fire. If we see so many headlines describing protests turning violent, how can the Movement for Black Lives be considered peaceful? How can these so-called "violent" protests be justified? Back in St. Louis, the location of this Stockley protest was particularly significant. For those unfamiliar with the city, Delmar Boulevard, the thoroughfare on which the Loop sits, is a marker of racial and economic segregation. The Loop itself, a shopping and dining district spanning a few blocks, is typically buzzing and draws patrons from all backgrounds and walks of life from around the area. With the protest underway, however, the energy on the Loop was decidedly different from usual. Multiple
university police officers stood in our lobby with riot gear at the ready, and outside the building, the street itself felt almost unfamiliar. Instead of seeing the usual crowd of small groups of people grabbing food and drink and nonstop traffic passing through the street, the only crowd on the street was the protest, and the only moving vehicles were the two police cars following closely behind. When I left my building, I quelled my skepticism of the movement’s peacefulness and joined the mass of people gathering at the corner of Delmar and Skinker. There were hundreds of people marching through the streets, all from different racial, religious, and economic backgrounds. One had a drum, some had megaphones, and many held signs. There was yelling and chanting. There was a die-in. And there were moments of silence that were only interrupted by the chop of helicopter rotors circling overhead. The only thing missing from this protest, it seemed, was violence. Hundreds of people filled the streets, and traffic stood still as cars rushed to turn around and escape the blockage of the protest. But here I was, standing amidst a protest hundreds-strong, surrounded by police officers, helicopters, and reporters, with no indication of violence at all. The act of walking amidst a crowd yearning for change and channeling their anger and frustration nonviolently was incredibly powerful for me. My roommate and I followed the protest until about 8:45 p.m., at which time we turned around to head home. The marching, drumming, and chanting continued amidst the sound of the helicopters. When we returned to Delmar, the traffic had resumed and small groups of people had returned to the restaurants and bars. Later on, the protest returned to the Loop once more and made another nonviolent sweep down the street. It was 11:00 p.m. when I left my apartment to meet up with some friends, and as I walked down Delmar, all appeared to be back to normal. I noticed a small crowd of protesters gathered peacefully at an intersection before I turned a corner and left the Loop. Soon after, from my
understanding, the protest had ended, and the organizers of the protest told the participants to return home.
If the movement itself were truly violent, the protesters wouldn’t be up the next morning calling for peace and healing through art. By the time I arrived at my destination, however, the Loop dynamic had changed again. I received an emergency alert on my phone that advised students against traveling to the Loop because of violence that had broken out. In my absence, windows were smashed, and riot police marched through the streets, arresting some and intimidating others. Although I was just a few blocks away, there was no suggestion that there was militaristic police parade going on back where I had been just before. I returned to the Loop with some friends at around 2 a.m., and instead of finding the last few restaurants open late amidst a sea of darkened storefronts, I found an entire street of lit-up businesses amidst a sea of broken glass. Two hours after midnight, the Loop was as bright as day, as store owners, friends, and neighbors toiled to undo the damage. Nearly all businesses on the north side of the loop had their windows smashed, so instead of grabbing a bite, I grabbed a broom. As I swept up glass and looked up and down the street, it seemed impossible that a protest that had been such a strong force of positivity hours before could disintegrate into destruction. I went to bed shaken.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | VIOLENCE
When I awoke the next morning, I decided to take a walk down Delmar, expecting to see an empty street of boarded-up businesses and a neighborhood on edge from the night before. I was in for a shock, however, when I exited my building onto a Loop that was as crowded as I had ever seen it. Every broken window that had been boarded up the night before was becoming a mural. At every storefront, artists from all around the community came to paint peace on the plywood. It became instantly clear that a series of destructive actions that had tried to tear the Loop community apart only reinforced the community’s bond and strengthened the calls for peace and unity. As someone who is not particularly emotional, watching the community rebuild struck a chord with me. From the protesters marching peacefully through the streets, to the helicopters flying overhead, to the small crowd of vandals and the destruction on the loop, to the riot-prepped police officers marching and driving tanks through the streets, to the murals of healing and unity coloring Delmar the next day, the entire weekend felt surreal. While I’m not sure of any statistics, it seemed that many if not most of those individuals painting murals that day had been out peacefully protesting the night before. If the movement itself were truly violent, the
protesters wouldn’t be up the next morning calling for peace and healing through art. I write this piece not to excuse the violence exhibited by some but to dispel the oversimplified notion that the Black Lives Matter movement is an inherently violent one. Thankfully, the violence was directed at windows instead of at people, but either way, I was horrified at the destruction that I returned to that night. But even so, the violence remained temporally separate from the protest and detracted from the goal of the peaceful protesters. As a former skeptic of the movement’s peacefulness, I was shocked by how stark the separation was between those peacefully protesting and those breaking windows. What was more remarkable than this separation, however, was the conflation of the two groups in the news. While both the marchers and vandals may have been protesting the same cause, they were, after all, two distinct groups of people, which the headlines seemed to ignore. With this protest, peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters were lumped together with the vandals, for as the headlines read the next day, “Protests on Delmar Loop Turn Violent.” The protest didn’t "turn violent"; a few angry people decided to corrupt the fight for peace, and the peaceful majority was vastly downplayed.
Of course, violent protests do exist. But unless a movement directly advocates for violence, we must separate the moderates from the radicals, and until I observed the effects of this Stockley verdict protest firsthand, I struggled to do so myself. I can now attest that it is impossible to truly understand the dynamics of a protest without physically being present. Even if the power of protest might be hard to fully grasp, if we are to preserve the first amendment right for people to demonstrate peacefully, we must not conflate those who exercise their constitutional freedoms with those who jeopardize them. Furthermore, we must also reckon with the fact that peaceful disruption is often necessary to achieve change. Behind every protest is a group of people yearning for change, and in a country whose social history is shaped by social disruption, we must forgo our biases and encourage Americans to peacefully disrupt. I hope that instead of making excuses about why the Movement for Black Lives is flawed, our country can unite itself to pursue justice in all forms. We can do better.
Ryan Mendelson ‘19 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
MAPPING VIOLENT CRIMES Hanna Khalil & Ryan Mendelson | Illustration by Neema Samawi
One key element of the United Statesâ€™ crime problem is that violence varies greatly between cities, states, and regions. While Chicago, for example, is infamous for its sheer number of murders, several smaller cities have higher crime rates. The map below serves to contextualize some of the nationâ€™s violent crime. We have profiled the five U.S. cities with the highest violent crime rates and five cities with the largest populations to highlight the geographic spread of violence in the country.
One of the most prominent issues in the United States today is crime and violence. While the issue of violence is highly politicized, it is important to separate the facts from rhetoric. Here are a few key points about American violent crime. The FBI has found that overall violent crime in the United States dropped 50% between 1993 and 2015. However, there was a 3% increase in violent crime from between 2014 and 2015. This jump may indicate a slight upward trend in violent crime, but the crime level remains nowhere near the level of the early 1990s. Americansâ€™ perceptions of the threat of violence differ from the statistics. According to a 2016 Pew survey, 57% of registered voters believed that crime had increased since 2008. By contrast, data from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) indicates a double-digit decline in crime rate over the same time period. According to the Atlantic, there is currently no distinct explanation for the nationâ€™s drop in crime over the last 25+ years. Some theories for this drop are the increase in incarceration, increased access to abortion, increase in income, and decrease in alcohol consumption, but the topic of crime reduction remains an enigma.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NATIONAL
OUT OF EXCUSES Max Handler | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
ver since it came into being, the modern American conservative movement has been dogged by accusations of racism. While many conservatives like to trace their roots back to Lincoln, the conservative movement in its modern sense really began later, rising to prominence during the mid-20th century at roughly the same time as the civil rights movement. Of course, conservatives by and large opposed that movement. When Bill Buckley famously wrote in the mission statement for National Review, the conservative magazine, that a conservative “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it,” what he was yelling “Stop” to was integration and voting rights for African Americans. Over the years, it has been mostly the same story for those on the right, eventually culminating in the nomination and subsequent election of Donald Trump. Of course, conservatives have almost always had an excuse. Men like Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, the leading Republican politicians during the civil rights movement, claimed to personally support civil rights, but were instead hamstrung by the Constitution. States’ rights, they said, was why they couldn’t support the Civil Rights Act. In more modern times, there was the birther movement, built around the idea that President Barack Obama was not born in America. Prominent conservatives dismissed this movement as fringe, only to see Donald Trump, the movement’s most prominent supporter, become the face of the party. With Trump, many conservatives professed their displeasure with his policies and his behavior, but in the end decided the Supreme Court was just too important. They say they held their noses and reluctantly cast their votes for him. Excuse after excuse. But at some point there are too many excuses, and the uncomfortable truth emerges: many self-identified conservative voters and politicians are, in fact, racist.
At this point many readers – particularly those on the left – may be experiencing some sort of “no shit” reaction. I confess that this realization came to me too late in my development, blinded by partisanship as I was. Those who identify as conservative may vehemently disagree with my characterization of conservatives today. Luckily for us all, we have a perfect case study to determine the exact racial attitudes of conservatives going on right now: The Alabama Senate special election. The election pits the democratic nominee Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, against the Republican Roy Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge who was removed from office on not one but two occasions for violating the direct orders of a higher court. Before delving into the candidates more, it is worth noting that they are running to replace Jeff Sessions, who in the 1980s was denied a spot in the federal judiciary for being too racist. I can already hear the cries from Moore supporters now. Jones, you see, is a Democrat, and a firm supporter of abortion. He must be stopped at all costs. This is, to put it lightly, dumb. There are no real costs to losing this election. It does not cost the Republicans a majority. Jones will be in no position to vote for pro-abortion legislation that could pass. Even with the numbers they already have, Republicans have been unable to pass any major legislation. Despite his supporters’ claims that he would be a valuable vote, Moore said that he wouldn’t have voted for the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. If Moore cannot be counted on to vote with his fellow Republicans, then supposedly reluctant Moore supporters have no reason to support him. There are plenty of things that make Roy Moore odious: his open defiance for the rule of law and his opinions on LGBTQ people come to mind. But in keeping with the focus of this article, I will just discuss one of his many flaws. In 2006,
Keith Ellison was elected to Congress from the state of Minnesota. In an editorial for World Net Daily (a conservative conspiracy theory outlet a step above InfoWars, for those unaware), Moore argued that because Ellison was Muslim, he was not qualified to sit in Congress. Moore compared Ellison’s decision to be sworn in using the Quran to allowing a Nazi in 1943 to take the oath on Mein Kampf.
But at some point there are too many excuses, and the uncomfortable truth emerges: many self-identified conservative voters and politicians are, in fact, racist. This article and argument is mind-bogglingly racist, to say nothing of its direct contradiction of the Constitution, which explicitly prohibits religious tests for public office. Moore has never retracted it. Considering the low stakes of this election, there is no downside to repudiating Moore. It is easy to do; his bigotry is clear and indisputable. This is an incredibly easy opportunity for Republicans to counter the oft-repeated charges of racism that the left levies against them. And yet. Mike Lee, Senator from Utah, a man who prides himself on being a "Constitutional
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Conservative," offered his endorsement of Moore. Rand Paul of Kentucky, supposedly the most libertarian member of the Senate, endorsed Moore as well. What purpose their endorsements served in the election is unclear. One struggles to imagine what possible Alabama voter was torn on who to vote for until Lee and Paul decided to weigh in. No, the reason the Senators endorsed Moore was much simpler: they like him. They do not find issue with his advocating for a religious test. They do not find issue with his bigotry. And apparently, neither does any other prominent Republican, as even the most virulent of Trump critics like Ben Sasse have been silent on the matter. But despite their silence, the message is loud and clear: Roy Moore has a place in the conservative movement. Roy Moore, who believes that Muslims are unqualified to sit in Congress, fits in just fine with the GOP. This is a damning indictment. A large wing of the party is furious at George Bush for giving a speech condemning white supremacy, but has no problem with Roy Moore’s open Islamophobia. The Trump and Tea Party wings of the party have long advocated for burning down the whole Party, and they are, in a way, correct. While they misidentify the exact problems of the modern GOP, they are correct in that it ought to be destroyed. The GOP provides a political home for those who believe in white supremacy. While of course every Republican is not racist, what is clear is that many of the party’s supporters and politicians are perfectly fine with bigotry, and in many cases actively support it. Believe me when I tell you that I do not say this lightly. I have spent much of the (admittedly brief) time in which I have been politically conscious defending the GOP from accusations of racism. But no more. The Republican Party, and the conservative movement writ large, is fundamentally and irredeemably broken. The question, then, is where this leaves me. I have always chosen to identify myself as a conservative. And when I look at what I consider to be conservative principles – limited government, self-reliance, free markets, natural rights – all still make sense to me. I certainly do not identify with left wing ideals. But the fact remains that I find many, if not most, of the people who
identify in a manner politically similar to me to be deeply loathsome. The easy answer is to say that those people misunderstand conservatism and are not, in fact, conservative. But this is a cop out, and what’s more not a very good one. It is deeply unsettling, to say the least, that my preferred political ideology is the one that many bigots have chosen to mask their bigotry. As much as I would like to say that ideas and principles are what matters, at some point the people and the practical manifestation of those principles matter as well. I doubt that I will ever call myself a liberal, but I also am unsure that I can continue to call myself conservative. To do so would require associating myself with people whose beliefs are diametrically opposed to mine, and to be quite frank, evil. In an ideal world, I and like-minded people – and as pessimistic as I am, I do know that they exist – would reclaim the conservative movement. But I doubt we have the numbers or the strength. The preceding paragraph is, I confess, something
of a dodge. I have yet to answer the actual question I posed in its first sentence, namely, where all of this leaves me. The answer is, truly, I don’t know. I am politically homeless. Matt Shapiro wrote a piece last May called “The Homeless Conservative,” with which I strongly identified. Shapiro wrote of not feeling at home on the right anymore, and how the left’s hostility to conservatives meant he didn’t fit in there either. I’m not even sure that the left should accept someone like me. My beliefs and principles are fundamentally opposed to theirs. And like I said, I don’t think that I will ever be at home on the right again. That leaves me precisely nowhere
Max Handler ‘18 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NATIONAL
AMERICA, THE PENDULUM Sabrina Wang | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
uring my sophomore year of high school, in a classroom just 13 minutes from the site of the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, my speech and debate coach showed my class a video of a “duo interpretation.” A sharp departure from the humorous clips my coach typically opted for, the piece was a ten-minute-long reimagining of the dramatic play Hello Herman, in which a teenaged mass shooter is interviewed by a journalist. “Do you think people are going to care about you in two months?” the frustrated, emotional journalist asks Herman, the shooter, in the piece. “You’re going to be a footnote, listed next to a bunch of other footnotes.” Herman replies: “Why do you think these keep happening?” Despite the differences between the stories of Stephen Paddock and that of the fictional Herman, this sentiment—about our inaction and forgetfulness—is just as valid and as cutting as it was five years ago. I’m only 20 years old, but I remember how it felt tracking coverage of Orlando and Sandy Hook, following the shooting at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, and watching the disturbing, sexist manifestos that Elliot Rodger published on YouTube before he shot up his college campus. But Sunday’s attack was jarring for me in a way these others weren’t—not just because of its magnitude and Paddock’s seeming normalcy, but because it happened at home, a place I had always considered “safe” for reasons I now know are arbitrary. When I called my
parents the following day, they instructed me to “hide and not run” if I was ever in an active shooter situation—teaching me how to avoid death, because I guess it’s no longer guaranteed that people won’t try to kill you. In the days since the shooting, I’ve been distracted by a persistent undercurrent of unease, one that I can mask by busying myself with everyday minutia, but that I can never quite bury. Blame it on my youth or my naivety, but the fact that someone from my community is capable of such brutal, methodical mass murder has been immensely challenging to my optimistic worldview and belief in our capacity for progress. Though there is much to be grieved, I resent the idea that this isn’t political, that this isn’t the time to talk about solutions to a clearly growing problem. But I’m not interested in having a debate about which policy intervention—bans of high capacity magazines or increased background checks or even better mental health care—is most effective, because such deliberation has already frozen us in place. I doubt that this issue, like any of its complexity and severity, has a magic bullet solution, so let’s stop searching for one: especially as federal research on gun violence has been banned since before Columbine, it’s ridiculous to presume that we have all the answers anyway. Even if our first pass is only a partial fix, or even if it doesn’t work at all, we’ll still be one step closer to a world that doesn’t demand our grief. Even further, intervention doesn’t just have to be macropolitical,
it should be micropolitical as well: anecdotal claims of Paddock’s verbal abuse towards his girlfriend further emphasize the strong connection between mass shootings and interpersonal violence. In our everyday actions and conversations, we can address such cultural sources of violence; this is only one of many potential ways that we can work to prevent tragedies like Sunday’s on the individual level.
I doubt that this issue, like any of its complexity and severity, has a magic bullet solution, so let’s stop searching for one. In light of the shooting and our nation’s slow slip from normalcy in the past year, I’m not sure if I believe that progress—on issues like violence, hatred, and mistrust—is just around the corner. But I also don’t know if that matters. In the early Monday morning hours, members of my home community lined up around the block to give blood, leading United Blood Services to reach capacity by that very afternoon. I’ve witnessed my friends, both Vegas natives and non-natives, rally around each other with warm offers of support and generous donations to the victims’ funds. Ruth Bader Ginsberg recently named the pendulum as the true symbol of the United States, saying that “when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back.” Progress may not come soon, but I believe that it is inevitable—and in our resiliency, compassion, and dedication to the cause; we have an opportunity to accelerate its arrival.
Sabrina Wang ‘19 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NATIONAL
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR WAS NOT A CIVIL WAR Luke Voyles
ecently, I spoke with a family member about the American Civil War. While agreeing with the aim of the Union Army, he wondered how William Tecumseh Sherman could be viewed as anything other than a war criminal. However, he deemed Dwight Eisenhower’s treatment of German soldiers during the Second World War as completely acceptable. I argued that the Confederates were no different than the Germans of the Second World War because they did consider themselves to be Americans; they were in conflict with the American state and the American government. Eventually, I realized that the American Civil War was not a civil war, but a war between two nations. The title of “civil war” implies that Confederates were actual Americans. They were not.
The definition of a civil war is quite clear. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a civil war as “a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country,” while the Oxford English Dictionary refers to a civil war as a "war between the citizens or inhabitants of a single country, state, or community.” What a civil war entails is two or more forces fighting over the control and/or structure of the government of a nation. The English Civil War of the 1640s involved Parliamentarians fighting against the Royalists under King Charles I over whether the king could treat Parliament as a rubber stamp. The Mexican Civil War of the 1910s involved various factions under various military and civilian leaders competing for control over Mexico. There were no separatist groups or claims to independence for a specific region in these conflicts. The governments changed because of the civil wars, but the territorial borders never once transformed. The territorial borders did change as a result of the American Civil War. Beginning in 1860, Southern states seceded from the Union and formed a Confederacy by 1861. However, according to the Confederate government’s view, President Lincoln and President Davis
might coexist. Lincoln would have none of it, of course. He was completely content to allow the Southern states to keep slavery in exchange for rejoining the Union. By the war’s end, he simply wanted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment while assuring Southerners that the American government would act “with malice toward none.” Lincoln and the reconciliatory legislators were not alone in their quest to redeem the South to its past glory. In 1863, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Prize Cases, which concerned Lincoln’s authority to enforce a blockade on the Confederacy with legislative permission. Justice Robert Grier referred to the war as a “civil war.” Even while aiding Lincoln’s conduct against the Confederacy, Grier did not accept that the Confederacy was an actual government. He still considered the Southerners to be a part of the states that were not “civilized,” and therefore still Americans.
The title of “civil war” implies that Confederates were actual Americans. They were not. The reconciliation effort by the United States government reached its apotheosis in 1913. In that year, Confederate and Union veterans gathered for photographs and feasts at the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg on the very site of the gruesome struggle. It is hard to imagine a reunion of the Americans and the British at Bunker Hill in 1825 or with Mexican veterans at Chapultepec Castle in 1897. Perhaps American veterans became more willing to hold reunions with former enemies as by 1995, Americans met with former Japanese
combatants at Iwo Jima. However, it is much more likely that with former Confederates in the legislature (with Senator Charles Thomas of Colorado) and in the judicial branch (with Chief Justice Edward Douglass White), there was no need to fear mockery or shame. They felt like Americans because of the actions and official comprising of the United States government. There was no enforced, massive shift of government from authoritarian rule by a privileged ethnic group into a more inclusive society; that is, the states of the Union also enforced segregation. White supremacists therefore maintained considerable power over the states of the former Confederacy after Reconstruction ended in 1877. The American Civil War affects the American consciousness because the politicians of the Union did not put a premium on stressing the Southerners’ break from the United States. As a result, congressmen and justices asserted that nothing had truly changed other than slavery and that everything could go back to normal. However, many people and officials within the South never let go of their vision of a Confederacy fighting well against a tyrannical Union. The Union politicians’ downplaying of the Confederate threat to the United States initiated the equation of Confederate military figures with American military figures, a role they would have denied from 1861 to 1865. Confederates did not want to be honored as such, and we should not continue to honor them.
Luke Voyles '18 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | INTERNATIONAL
ANALYZING CHINA’S 19TH PARTY CONGRESS Yumeng Zou | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
he 19th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP) began on October 18 and lasted for a week. According to the CCP Constitution, the quinquennial meeting of 2000+ party representatives will elect over 200 members of the Central Committee and over 100 members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The Central Committee will then elect 25 members of the Politburo; seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee; and the General Secretary, the most powerful man in China. Unsurprisingly, the election is a tool for Xi Jinping to select his cronies, but a more important function of the 19th Party Congress is to reveal the future direction of Chinese politics. By convention, Xi Jingping gave a report at the beginning of the conference on his work for the last five years and a projection of the future. This article will first examine Xi’s agenda, and then focus on the conflicting signals about democratization in his policy. Although Xi held a firm grip of power over his party and the public, these constraints are likely to be a defense mechanism for his intention to incorporate more diverse interests into the CCP’s coalition through institutional reforms. Review of Xi’s Agenda
reform. With the help of his advisor Liu He, Xi started “supply-side structural reform” (SSSR), which targets overcapacity reduction and deleveraging. Overcapacity and high debt were caused by the 2008 four-trillion yuan stimulus package issued by the government. The stimulus package offered low-interest debt to help corporations sustain their businesses during the 2008 financial crisis, but also tilted the debt structure of Chinese firms and defended unprofitable firms from market competition. These unprofitable firms hindered the flow of capital and dragged the economy down, but are reluctant to declare bankruptcy due to regulatory flaws that distort incentives. Supply-side structural reform seeks to devise more comprehensive financial regulations against cheap debt and enforce the resolution of unprofitable firms. Last year, many steel factories closed and some mines were decreed to cut production, thus driving up the price of both commodities and the profit margin of the remaining players in the market. Xi’s policy appears effective at first glance, but it might not be sustainable because Xi has not reduced the degree of government intervention in the market nor resolved the root cause of overcapacity, which is the cheap debt released by national banks.
In his report, Xi reviewed seven aspects of his work: economy, democracy, welfare, environment, military, territorial sovereignty, and anti-corruption. Economic growth is the most important task for the Chinese government, because it is the actual foundation of the oneparty rule’s legitimacy, but it has slowed down due to the high debt of Chinese corporations. Having served four prosperous municipalities along the Pacific coast, Xi not only understands the significance of economic growth to politics, but also prepares himself for bold economic
More importantly, Xi’s economic policy imposes great pressure on local officials to secure the employment rate. According to the vision of Xi, firms that no longer profit should close, which means millions of low-skilled workers losing their jobs and a short-term pain to local governors’ budgets. An increase in the unemployment rate means higher probability of local upheaval, and a decrease in local budget means less security against such risk. Hence, even though Xi was determined to transform the Chinese economy for the long-term good and for the middle class’
eventual sustainable and healthy growth, local officials in affected areas might seek concessions when implementing the policy. Last year, the government spent $14 billion to reallocate laid-off workers, giving them more advanced jobs or encouraging them to become entrepreneurs. Yet once again, if the government misplaces them in the market, reallocation will turn out to be another macroeconomic disaster. What Democracy Means to China Economic slowdown poses an immediate challenge to the legitimacy of the CCP, but it is arguable whether the CCP has any legitimacy. After all, it is one of the few parties in the world that forbids competitive election. The sources of the CCP’s ever suspending legitimacy crisis dwells in the lack of public participation and rampant corruption in the party. If the CCP banned participation in the one-party system, it would be the only one to blame whenever bad things happen to China. That situation is especially unattractive to Xi because he has a larger stake in the longevity of CCP rule. Unlike low-ranking bureaucrats, Xi is not motivated to exhaust the credit of the CCP for absolute power and wealth, because his position as the public leader of China (later as the respected former leader) gives him more enduring benefits than shortterm embezzlement. Thus, when he talks about “democracy,” “legal reform,” “anti-corruption,” “supervision,” and “deliberation,” he is talking about the acceptable concessions he would make to ensure the longevity of one-party rule. Another reason for Xi to promote “democracy” is the increasing division within the CCP establishment. The CCP has two major factions: the elitist faction and the populist faction. Both factions have found their respective “constituents,” meaning interest groups that are willing
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to bribe them in exchange for policy favor. The elitist faction appeals to the big corporations and middle class in coastal cities, while the populist faction draws support from the underprivileged population in inland cities and rural areas. Once the two coalitions consolidate and reach the grassroots level, Xi will lose his control over the bureaucracy and society. His version of democracy, however, will create a counterforce to the increasing factionalism in the party. This new force—called “supervision”—will stay loyal to him and the federalist principles for which he stands. One of the biggest institutional changes Xi will initiate is the establishment of an independent supervisory branch of the government, a branch of equal standing with the legislative, executive, and legal branches. This branch will exist at each level of the bureaucracy, and its leaders will be elected by legislative bodies at each level, rather than appointed by local administrations. This branch will integrate the functions of inspection, investigation, and prosecution formerly held by separate party, government, and legal agencies. The reform is now in the testing phase in three provinces, but a national supervision law will soon follow. Theoretically, the supervision reform should give more independence and efficiency to anti-corruption prosecutions and give the legislative branch oversight on the executive branch and the party. The effectiveness of this reform cannot be testified yet, but Xi makes one thing clear in this deliberate move:
he is willing to recruit more players and create more checks and balances in Chinese politics because he does not want to bet his personal authority solely on the backing of his fellow CCP colleagues. The Party’s Dilemma Xi is often labeled as the most powerful Chinese leader after chairman Mao, and the most frequently cited evidence includes shutting down dissensions on media, arresting human rights lawyers, and shuffling high-ranking party, government, and military officials. Xi committed these actions, as did all the previous Chinese rulers. Violating civil rights and purging opponents are both strong indicators of tighter authoritarian control, and most foreign media capture them. Yet most media are hesitant to face the dilemma between Xi’s strongman leadership and his intention to create more institutional checks and balances, manifested by the far-reaching supervision reform. This dilemma can be better understood in the review of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who led the reconstruction after the Cultural Revolution. He used liberal-minded bureaucrats and rationalized the criticism of Mao, introduced the market economy to China, and suppressed the student protest on Tiananmen Square. The perceived inconsistency in Deng’s attitude toward civil rights reveals a fundamental principle of modern Chinese Communist elites: they believe that some participation and power-sharing are
good for the longevity of CCP rule, but they want to control who participates and in what form. Spontaneous and organized oppositions are not welcome, but the CCP wants to open more channels for non-confronting appeals, so that individual dissatisfactions are released before collective action takes place. The CCP’s petition system is designed to hear grievances from the underprivileged, and in recent years, petition offices have begun to hire social workers and psychologists to improve the services they provide for petitioners. The legal system has also become more tolerant. Last year, a gay couple successfully filed a lawsuit against the marriage law to court. Though it failed, the lawsuit proved that the Chinese government wants to appear more responsive to popular demand. Chinese think tanks also exhibit more diversity, because more scholars with foreign education experience are invited to join the CCP’s coalition. The CCP elites want to avoid competitive elections with constant evolution of principles and incorporation of new social forces into the ruling class. It is not too bold to claim that the CCP adopts a similar strategy as the politicians in democratic regimes. The strategy is to divide and conquer. Politicians divide their constituents into groups — by socioeconomic class, geography, education, gender, race, occupation, age — and reward each group respectively. There’s no inherent value to CCP membership — ideology has faded into the blinds of history. Modern politics is about identities and group interests, and the CCP knows how to take advantage of them.
Yumeng Zou ‘20 studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at yumeng.zou@wustl. edu.
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