POLITICAL REVIEW 25.3 | December 2016 | wupr.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS 6
NETWORKS & COMMUNICATION
This Is What My ID Card Looks Like
China’s Economic Perils in a PostTrump World
Against LinkedIn Sam Klein
The Crisis of Modern American
Read My Lips: One New Tax Michael Fogarty
Uber Wars: The Fight for Floripa Delmar Tarragó
The Rape Exception Grace Portelance
Are We Safe? Gwen Byrne
Liberalism Lachlan Athanasiou
The PCAH: Why the Arts Are Necessary
First Britain, then America, then... Celeste Woloshyn
Five Generations of St. Louis Stained Glass
Trump Supporters in the Case of a
Parting Words WUPR Exec
EDITOR’S NOTE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY POLITICAL REVIEW THE UNDERGRADUATE POLITICAL PUBLICATION OF WASHINGTON UNIVERISTY IN ST. LOUIS EST. 2004 Executive Director Billie Mandelbaum Editors-in-Chief Sam Klein Grace Portelance Staff Editors Rachel Butler Bisma Mufti Dan Sicorsky Katelyn Taira Features Editors Michael Fogarty
As the holiday season descends upon us, we at WUPR thought it would be nice to dedicate an issue to examining that which brings us together. A network starts with a simple connection between two elements—two humans, perhaps, or two machines, or two ideas. Then, as more connections are formed and more communication happens, the network rapidly expands, linking entities in fascinating, often unexpected ways. In our final issue of the Fall 2016 semester, Carl Hooks writes on the intensely linked economic networks of China and the United States, and Hanna Khalil examines linked communities and Muslim identity. In our National section, Lachlan Athanasiou discusses liberalism and our school community following the election, and for International, Delmar Tarrago writes on Uber’s foray into Brazil. These articles and many more are inside these pages, and there is an abundance of work online at wupr.org. We wish you good luck on finals, happy holidays, and happy new year. See you in January!
Max Handler Finance Director Lauren Berger Director of Design
Assistant Director of Design
Bohao Zhang Director of New Media Tomek Cebrat Programming Director Sabrina Wang Director of External Operations Jack Goldberg Front Cover Thomas Fruhauf Theme Spread and Back Cover Zeke Saucedo
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NETWORKS & COMMUNICATION
THIS IS WHAT MY ID CARD LOOKS LIKE Hanna Khalil | Illustration by Maddy Mueller
got out of bed on Nov. 9 and went through the motions I had gone through the day before and the day before that. Shower. Clothes. Hair. Concealer for the dark circles under my eyes that were especially prominent from crying. I paused as I looked at my jewelry box and then, with purpose, affixed my favorite necklace around my neck. The silver one with my name— pronounced Henna here—crafted in beautiful, fluid Arabic calligraphy, with the short vowels intersecting the three bold letters. I’d worn this necklace countless times, but today it didn’t feel like jewelry; it felt like armor. Today, if someone asked me what its letters meant, I wouldn’t stop at “my name.” No, I would tell them the story about how it was a present from my aunt who wears the hijab, from the time I visited my family in Egypt as a ten-year-old. About how in a dustier jewelry box back home in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, I left behind another necklace, its calligraphy even more beautiful, that reads “Allah.” It was given to me by my Muslim, immigrant, Arab father. I rarely wore it because explaining its context always felt scary and complicated and not worth the possible confusion that I was one of them. It was too difficult to explain that Allah was the same word for God, Dios, or Yehweh. That I’m Muslim but, like, not that religious. So, on Nov. 9 I wore my name necklace instead, since it was the only one I had bothered to pack back in August. I decided that if our country had just elected a man who thought Muslims should carry ID cards like badges, I would decide what mine looked like.
Wearing my necklace, I was extremely cognizant of how that morning I woke up to news that 53 million of my fellow citizens, by electing Trump, challenged my ability to hold my Muslim identity label alongside my American one. I also became aware of how the Muslim community was acting as a network of solidarity, community, support, and activism following what to many felt like a national tragedy. Over the years, in St. Louis, in Missouri, and in the country at large, Muslim Americans have been organizing and mobilizing to create an increasingly civically engaged and participatory section of the American constituency.
This became all the more clear after speaking with Faizan Syed, the executive director of the Council on American and Islamic Relations in St. Louis (CAIR-STL). He commented on how organizations like CAIR play a role in creating this change and presence. Primarily focused on defending American Muslims who are victims of discrimination, CAIR also leads various initiatives that work to form a culture of civic engagement within the Muslim community. Their Ambassador Project, for instance, works to build relationships between American Muslims and their local elected officials. All this work is important, because as Muslims, its important that people view me and us not as Donald Trump’s potential terrorists or as just another means of ensuring national security— as Hillary Clinton suggested when she called Muslims our “eyes and ears” for combatting terrorism. Like any other American teen, I go to class, I binge watch Broad City, I take too many BuzzFeed quizzes when I should be studying. I also happen to be Muslim. Organizations like CAIR drive that message home as they combat Islamophobia and increase visibility of Muslims within our community. However, despite all of these engagement and education efforts, Syed thinks there’s a deeper reason the Muslim community is stopping short of full civic engagement at its fullest potential. “The greatest barrier towards Muslim voter participation is apathy and a belief that their vote does not count,” he says. “A belief that no matter who you vote for, things won’t change.” This apathy is seen by comparing levels of civic engagement. According to a Pew study, only 62 percent of Muslims who are U.S. citizens were certain that they were registered to vote; the national average was 74 percent. Changing this pattern is essential, since despite accounting for only 1 percent of the total U.S. population, Muslims were considered a swing demographic in many states. In Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia put together, Muslims accounted for nearly one million votes. Because of this vital importance, huge efforts were made to get out the vote and combat the pre-existing apathy.
For example, many groups spearheaded by the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) led the “One America” campaign dedicated to registering one million new Muslim voters by the 2016 election. The USCMO also led a National Muslim Registration Day on the same day as Eid el-Adha, one of two major Muslim holidays. And in appointing a Muslim Outreach Director and two state-level Muslim outreach coordinators, Hillary Clinton’s campaign showed that they also understood the power of the Muslim vote. However, no matter the number of efforts by organizations and politicians, what Muslim involvement looks like will ultimately be up to Muslims individuals themselves. This agency can be seen at our most local level, right here on Wash U’s campus. The Muslim Student Association (MSA) is an active club on campus that works to connect Muslim students. Junior Ishak Hossain is the vice president of MSA. “Our group is small, yet the bonds we manage to create are meaningful,” he says. “The Muslim identity is a heavy weight to carry on campus, but the ability to share in that identity with others brings us together.” Through events such as the MSA Welcome Lunch and Eid El-Adha Dinner, general body meetings, movie screenings, and Friday prayers, the club increases the visibility of Muslim students and facilitates bonding and dialogue. Just like other Muslims and groups across the country, the Muslim community at Wash U also worked to have its voice increasingly heard in this election. This was evident through MSA’s “Meet a Muslim” booth at the Oct. 9 Debate Fair, where club members interacted one-to-one with the Wash U community and members of the media. Separately, MSA also collaborated with five other clubs in forming an educational panel around the time of the election. Through all this programing, MSA did more than just provide a network where individual Muslim students felt connected with one another. It also showed to the larger Wash U community that Muslim students are important to our campus, not because of something inherent to their faith, or because they fulfill a diversity “checkbox,” but because they are varied, vibrant, and active
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NETWORKS & COMMUNICATION
members of our university. Through every act of social justice and education that works to break down the walls that Trump is so adamant about building, Muslim students at Wash U represent the values we should all share as members of this university.
Arabic speakers to East Asians to West African immigrants, Muslims don’t look one way or represent one place. And yet, being Muslim in America means that in some ways, your faith comes first in defining with whom you connect, network and organize.
A result of this engagement is the rise of a sense of group consciousness within the network of the Muslim community. This election marked a turning point not only in levels of civic participation, but also in defining the place Muslims have in the American consciousness. It marked a turning point in how Muslims view themselves.
Through organizing, participating, networking and dialoguing, I hope, as a Muslim, that soon I will no longer have to prove to people that I have always been and always will be an American like any other. That I’m not anyone’s “eyes and ears.” That I can talk for hours about feminism, Beyonce, Game of Thrones, international relations, my steady decline of meal points, the places I want to travel to, but couldn’t give you any information on the next terrorist plot. I have always believed that my story—that of a multicultural young woman, a child of immigrants, a Muslim, a feminist, a first-generation American citizen—could only happen because I am
Unlike some other identity-based groups that politicians aim to win over, the Muslim population is extremely ethnically, racially, and linguistically diverse. Ranging from Black American members of the Nation of Islam to second-generation Pakistani-Americans to
American. No other place would accept or claim me with the same open arms and proud conviction. After this election’s results, it’s easy to feel that those arms are now closed, that there is rejection and fear in their place. But I refuse to accept that. I love my country, or more so the promise of my country, too much to step away. I hope to be alive when this election’s results are a distant memory and we are inaugurating our first female president, or our first Muslim president, or both—someone like me. Until then, I will continue wearing both my necklaces and explaining them proudly to anybody who bothers to ask.
Hanna Khalil is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NETWORKS & COMMUNICATION
CHINA’S ECONOMIC PERILS IN A POST-TRUMP WORLD Carl Hooks | Illustration by Madeline Partner
he past 70 years of globalization have been the single greatest period of economic and cultural connectivity among nations in history. Since the 1970s, the accelerating international flow of goods, resources, people, ideas, and capital has given birth to countless trade networks and opportunities for development. By many measures, China has been globalization’s greatest beneficiary. An explosion in domestic factory manufacturing has helped China to become the world’s second largest economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims China to be the generator of one-third of global growth over the past 15 years, and projects the country’s 2016 GDP to be the world’s highest, at $20.85 trillion. But China’s economic rise is naturally slowing. Difficulties arise from the country’s aging labor force, rising wages (which make it more difficult to compete with poorer Asian neighbors), a volatile stock market that nearly crashed in June of last year, and aggressive state intervention in the economy. The sometimes painful transition from an economy built on cheap exports and manufacturing to one focused on human capital and services will be apparent for years to come. Amid this shift, another potential threat to China’s economic rise has emerged: Donald Trump. President-elect Trump has promised to raise significant tariffs (specialized taxes) on Chinese imports—to levels as high as 45 percent—if China refuses to alter practices such as subsidizing steel and other state-owned industries. Trump has also accused China of deflating its currency, and opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free-trade accord between America and 11 of its Asian allies. It seems the TPP is effectively defunct with a protectionist Trump administration on the horizon. While the TPP’s collapse may be devastating for many Asian economies, this alone is unlikely to put a huge damper on the volume of U.S.-China trade. Trump’s proposed tariffs, however, could have a significant impact on a Chinese economy
that is still heavily export-based. According to Daiwa Securities, just a 15% tariff on Chinese goods would create a 1% decrease in China’s growth rate. Millions of Chinese workers in low-wage industries would be laid off, flooding China’s job market and raising unemployment. Worse, the IMF reports that even a slight drop in Chinese exports would shave 0.25% off of global growth. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal argues that hefty tariffs on China would also harm Japan and South Korea, two Asian U.S. allies who are increasingly dependent on the Chinese market. “For many countries around the world, China is now the biggest trading partner, so this kind of tit-for-tat trade protectionism with China will dampen the atmosphere for the international trading community,” stated Yorizumi Watanabe, a trade expert and professor at Japan’s Keio University. Plenty of countries besides Japan are dependent on China as a major trading partner. During its tremendous period of middle-class growth from 2000-2015, China not only developed into a massive producer of exports, but also into a top consumer of non-U.S. imports (such as tech products from South Korea and commodities from Brazil). If U.S. tariffs lower Chinese exports and slow China’s economy, China will also purchase fewer goods from dozens of foreign countries, slowing their economies as well. Like the United States, China is a linchpin of the global economy. Trump’s threats to disrupt its trade flows would produce ripple effects that harm trade connectivity and prosperity elsewhere. Trump’s tariff policy may foolishly and irreparably damage U.S.-China trade relations, hurting a range of foreign economies at best and igniting a trade war at worst. On November 14, a Chinese state-run newspaper even released a scathing editorial that promises a tit-for-tat response from the People’s Republic should Trump proceed with his tariff. Chinese threats include setbacks to the sale of notable American products,
including Apple iPhones and computers that are hugely popular with Chinese middle-class consumers. Another precedent suggests that a trade war remains possible: Shortly after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, the U.S. instituted a 35% import tariff on Chinese car tires. China countered with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. chicken and car exports. This sort of mutually harmful, tit-for-tat trade contest between the two powers may be possible again, but at a much larger scale. As with a slew of other policy issues, it remains unknown whether Trump will actually attempt to enact his anti-China tariff. Countries around the world are hoping that Trump’s business experience and favoritism toward large American corporations will deter him from seriously considering naïve and protectionist measures. Trump simply cannot reverse globalization or fend off its effects with “America first” policies. But, in an era where globalization is already being questioned by many in the West, a hostile American tariff would represent a strike against China and the basic tenets of an interconnected economy.
Carl Hooks is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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AGAINST LINKEDIN Sam Klein
cience has found but a few captions that are universally applicable to New Yorker cartoons. “Christ, what an asshole” is one. Another is “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” This is not a coincidence.
on your feed. All the while, no real information is being exchanged; it’s all just a barrage of signals about who is the most active on LinkedIn, which, admittedly, is attractive for certain employers (read: PR firms).
Please bear with me and my frustration. Facebook friend requests are not generally reviled. Nor are Snapchat stories, retweets, or Instagram follows. There is something uniquely loathsome about the LinkedIn connection request. If you do not yet understand the cause for this rant, a few openeared passes through the Bauer Hall Café queue will fill you in. In short, LinkedIn is ruining professional interpersonal relationships.
LinkedIn, a vital resource, falsely— misleadingly—conflates self-promotion with genuine networking.
By my estimates, LinkedIn is one of those companies whose clientele is composed largely of its detractors. (Comcast is another.) But it’s one of those services that, in many employment markets, has a captive user base. Its Web 1.0 aesthetic and lawsuit-inducing email algorithms notwithstanding, what precisely makes LinkedIn such a revolting corner of the Internet? Holden Caulfield understands, as does his reclusive creator J. D. Salinger—LinkedIn is a haven for aggressive, faux-extraverted phoniness. It harbors links for everything from “leveraging entrepreneurial talent” to “visualizing the opportunity” to “understanding exploratory innovation,” and that’s just from a quick scroll down my feed. I have yet to find a student, even one in Washington University’s Olin Business School, who could explain to me, in plain English free of business jargon, what any of that actually means. We use jargon to signal to potential employers that we speak their language, and to competitors that we are in that club of “getting it.” You have to play to win the game. But LinkedIn celebrates and perpetuates these vague and vacuous terms by deifying those professionals who eat it up. Celebrity businesspeople are endowed as influencers (in bold, because, you know, branding). Your personal connections who post the most cutting analyses of the social media landscape or the deepest solutions to the entrepreneurial mindset are given the prime real estate
Don’t get me started about the “endorsements” feature. Anyone can endorse any of their connections on LinkedIn for anything. I can endorse my grandfather, who is retired, for almost anything under the sun, from “stealth” to “swordsmanship” to the precise skill of “analysis.” Surely his retiree peers will be impressed by a “leadership” endorsement from a teenager who shares his last name, had a few unpaid internships, and who also endorsed him for a dozen other unrelated capabilities.
their analytical analysis of the leveraged industry development within the cloud-based global corporate network infrastructure. This is what is wrong with the millennial corporate America. It forsakes personal connections in favor of a façade of personality. And LinkedIn, a vital resource, falsely—misleadingly—conflates self-promotion with genuine networking. In the business world, relationships are everything. They help you “get ahead,” as it were, and can provide valuable mentorship and career advice. But LinkedIn’s interface and algorithms suggest using that valuable relationship-building time to instead make superficial connections and share superficial posts and make superficial skill endorsements in order to spit out to employers a reductive list of who the algorithm deems most qualified for each position. There is no room for personality, for culture, for real understanding. I’ll continue to use LinkedIn to populate my experience fields and add People I May Know to my circle of connections. But I’ll use it reluctantly, wishing for more genuine interactions and a more genuine platform for facilitating them. Ultimately, hopefully, that realness could work its way up to real-life interactions as well, and I won’t have to hear the word “leverage” ever again.
I’ll admit that LinkedIn does serve some good purposes. It can be effective in finding alumni and other connections in specific industries, and somewhat less effective in providing the means to contact those people. (Admittedly, the company does make it easier to contact people if you pay a small usability tax starting at $29.99/ month. For just a dollar a day, you can make a difference because LinkedIn has withheld basic networking capabilities from its users.) But LinkedIn is not a social network. It is a hub for people to see who has viewed their profile, how many endorsements and connections they have, and how many likes they have received on
Sam Klein is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NATIONAL FIRST BRITAIN, THEN AMERICA, THEN… Celeste Woloshyn
hock, confusion, despair. I encountered these emotions in June while in England, and again on November 9 on campus. I was staying with my father in London, and most people had already assumed that the United Kingdom would stay in the European Union. I walked past a mural of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson—the most prominent Leave campaigner and now the British Foreign Secretary— kissing; two strikingly similar men from different countries. “At least Donald Trump won’t get elected,” I thought to myself. How could these two shocking events happen in the same year?
As the votes demonstrate, Trump saw something many astute commentators could not. These events are related; he understood that the British populist movement that won against the predictions of the polls was similar to the growing movement in the United States that succeeded in propelling him into the White House. American voters were cited as saying that immigration and terrorism were the top two reasons they voted for Trump, mirroring the British voters’ anger about immigration and free borders in the European Union. James Hartley, a professor at Mount Holyoke College, stated, "A large portion of the electorate in both countries is tired of the intellectual elites telling them what to think and looking down on them for having a different opinion." The demographics of the voters are also strikingly similar, with older, lower-educated, working-class whites fueling the movement against immigration and changing cultural norms. “Make America Great Again” and “Take Back Control” both reveal the wish to return to the past and prey on the nostalgia and anger of the disaffected voters. Many economists theorize that Trump’s victory could fuel more political isolationism in other countries, as it is a reinforcement of the populist sentiment. Resentment towards immigrants was the key factor in the Brexit vote, including
“Make America Great Again” and “Take Back Control” both reveal the wish to return to the past and prey on the nostalgia and anger of the disaffected voters. towards those immigrants from the EU who have an automatic right to live in Britain and those from the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbean, and Africa. The campaign slogan was “Control our Borders” and supporters harshly rejected the free movement of people around the EU. Britain failed to integrate its immigrant communities, particularly those from South Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Baltic State, which contributed to the country’s xenophobia and the Leave campaign’s success. Donald Trump’s movement was also fueled by xenophobia and the promises of banning Muslims and deporting approximately 11 million undocumented people. Both groups of voters yearned to return to a more ethnically homogenous and “economically stable” past. As with the U.S., the UK has struggled with their economy after the 2008 global financial crisis. In both countries, wage growth has been largely flat and people haven’t been satisfied with the governments’ attempts to stimulate the economy. Some commentators have observed that the unintended consequence of the crisis has been to enrich the wealthy and impoverish the poor, which leaves room for extremist movements that target the middle class. Trump promises to bring back jobs to blue-collar workers, as he rejects free
trade and backs tariffs to protect U.S. industries. Markets had a volatile reaction after both of these elections, but the U.S. market rebounded the day after, while the pound is still much lower than it was before Brexit. Britain and the U.S. are indeed quite similar in the results of 2016, but now it is unclear how their relations will proceed. Earlier in the year, Parliament debated banning Trump from Britain and David Cameron described him as “divisive, stupid, and wrong.” Even though David Cameron left office, it may take some work for Trump to restore the diplomacy that the United States once had with Britain. All political systems around the world are connected, and it is striking how economic resentment manifests itself as anger towards immigrants in multiple countries. This phenomenon, however, doesn’t seem to be coincidental. These movements recognize their beliefs with others around the world through social media and the news. Both the voters and the politicians are connected. Nigel Farage, the former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and the current interim leader of United Kingdom Independence Party, appeared with Donald Trump in the campaign trail and stated, "I commend Donald Trump for the courage with which he has fought this campaign and I look forward to a closer relationship between the U.S. and the UK. We now have a president who likes our country and understands our post-Brexit values.” And it doesn’t just stop here. Marine Le Pen of the far-right National front now is a more likely candidate for president, and an anti-immigration party is picking up momentum for the federal election in 2017. The future holds turmoil and uncertainty, and only time will tell how these movements will change our global landscape in the next couple years. Celeste Woloshyn is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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THE CRISIS OF MODERN AMERICAN LIBERALISM Lachlan Athanasiou | Illustration by Avni Joshi
n the weeks since the election, two major narratives have emerged on the left for explaining Donald Trump’s victory and how liberals must proceed. They represent two different visions for the future of American liberalism. Neither is perfect, but reconciling their concerns and objectives is necessary if liberals are to understand how we have gone wrong and how we must proceed in the decades to come.
The first is conciliatory. It holds that in the last decade—or maybe even longer, since the election of Bill Clinton—liberals have lost touch with a significant portion of their base and the country: the white working class. Democrats shifted to the center to capture so-called moderate votes. In the process, they aligned themselves with the Wall Street wing of the party and abandoned redistributive economic policies that could have slowed or even reversed the rapid and continuing growth in American inequality. In doing so, this new centrist Democratic Party abandoned poor and working class minorities. But with this year’s Republican nominee spewing racist and sexist rhetoric on a daily basis, these groups did not have the luxury of switching parties. Their economic abandonment—coupled with Republican-led voter suppression campaigns, gerrymandering, and more—did, however, reduce the drive and influence of a Democratic Party no longer led by the most charismatic politician of his generation. The Democratic mainstream’s failure to address growing inequality through either policy or rhetoric coincided with America’s much discussed rural/urban ideological divide. Cities are growing more liberal and rural areas more conservative, and there is less crossover between the two. The conciliation narrative recommends that liberals at all levels once again recognize the plight of the working class and make an effort to understand and support them, even now that so many have shown themselves willing to ignore Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric. Hillary Clinton
was wrong to call half of Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.” Using the style of Bernie Sander’s campaign, a new wave of Democratic officials need to commit fully to fighting the inequality which the pre-Trump Democratic Party had come to accept. They need to not only fight for these policies within the government, but to advocate for them before the people. They need to counter the neoliberal fairy tale, which the old Democratic Party itself helped create, and which allowed Presidentelect Trump to claim he would fight the establishment while cutting taxes for the rich. Beyond all-important activism, this understanding of the Trump catastrophe calls on liberals to keep open minds when talking to Trump supporters, just as we would in conversations with other liberals. It also calls on liberals to respectfully challenge the reasoning behind conservatives’ decisions, and to allow ourselves to be challenged in turn. We do not individually have the power to solve the ideological and geographic divide, but maybe, the conciliation story goes, we can at least counter the divisions within our own communities. In doing so, we might convince a few people they were wrong, and on certain issues some of us might ourselves be convinced to change our views. But changing minds is not the primary goal. The goal is understanding; it is recognizing the reasons Americans across the country elected Trump. The goal is to help change the tone of the debate from hatred for our opponents to realization that most of them are good people with different opinions. If this mutual respect and understanding is never realized, we risk allowing the conditions that created a Trump presidency to reemerge regardless of how successful we are at mitigating the damage he causes this time around. Liberals will not be able to truly fight economic inequality until we have the support of the working class. In turn, we will never have this support so long as we continue spouting a rhetoric of tolerance while simultaneously talking down to people who disagree with us, lumping
them all into the category of racists, sexists, and bigots. The second liberal narrative in response to Trump’s victory takes most issue with the personal imperative part of the first narrative. It says that perhaps conciliation would have been the right approach after a John McCain or Mitt Romney victory, but that a Donald Trump victory is entirely different. If his supporters aren’t racist, they’re actively supporting racist systems of oppression. That millions of Americans were able to look past calls for a Muslim registry to support Donald Trump because of his (at best) vague anti-establishment message is truly scary. We don’t live in the America we thought we did. It’s easy for straight middle class white men like me to downplay the reality here, but there are real reasons to fear Trump and his supporters. The second narrative emphasizes that, since his election, there has been a well-documented rash of hate crimes across the country (701 as of this writing, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center). Even Trump supporters who are not bigoted actively ignore the multitude of Americans their president would harm, since they continue to support his discriminatory policies and rhetoric under the thought that they themselves would not be affected. How can liberals ask people who are genuinely scared of a Trump presidency, of the realization that so many Americans are willing to accept hate, to openly and honestly talk with the people who are creating and spreading that very hate? How can we promote understanding of marginalized conservative white Americans if we clearly don’t understand the concerns of marginalized minority communities on our own side? This second narrative claims that in reality, conciliation would mean abandoning the historically oppressed in favor of the people who are unwilling to understand the struggles of American minorities. Such people actually are deplorable, and if they make up a large portion of the white
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working class, then so be it. Liberals cannot set aside our core values to accommodate them. We need to organize a massive anti-Trump political movement to prevent him from reversing decades of American social progress, not waste time trying to be conciliatory while racist, sexist, and anti-immigrant policies become law, and while minority communities are terrorized by President Trump’s white America. Both of these narratives—the first of which stresses liberal conciliation with Conservatives, and the second which worries that such conciliation is insensitive and dangerous to actual minority communities—have truth to them. I will now attempt to synthesize the two into a cohesive liberal agenda for the Trump years and beyond. First, organization and activism is crucial. America cannot be allowed to return to the legalized racism and legitimized discrimination of its past. On every issue from climate change to the economy, we must be actively engaged in preventing irreversible damage to our country and the world. But this is not a complete, long-term solution.
In the decades to come, liberals must fundamentally reevaluate what it means to be liberal. The post-Reagan age of Clintonian Democrats is over. This insular, Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, championed by Hillary Clinton, was thoroughly rebuked on Nov. 8. We need to admit our flaws and face our own hypocrisy. Conciliation and dialogue with reasonable conservatives is necessary to that process. As for people who feel personally threatened by Trump and his supporters, they get a pass. Attempting to understand one’s abusers is not a natural response to trauma, and nothing should be held against those who do not choose to partake in dialogue with Trump supporters. But for those of us who are able to do so, working to end the division of our communities is a democratic imperative. Liberals have long claimed to be the open-minded and rational ones, the thinkers who analyze issues from all sides and make informed decisions. It’s time we started acting like it. A unified liberal agenda for the decades to come must work to fight ideological division at all levels: personal, local, and national. Ideological echo-chambers are poisonous to democracy. The less that Americans understand each other,
the more we hate each other, the more extreme our ideologies become, and the less we compromise. Healing the deeply entrenched rural/urban ideological divide is a monumental task, and one for which there is no immediate plan. But we can start with ourselves and our communities. On the personal level, not all of us may feel comfortable reaching out to Trump supporters, but as we spend the next four years fighting over policy, those who are comfortable doing so must make the effort—for our own benefit, for the purpose of refining our own understanding, but also for the good of our community and our country. One person spreading understanding and civil discourse can make a difference. One positive interaction with an ideologically isolated political opponent can forever change their perspective on disagreement and our own, too. We should all strive to be that person. Locally, institutions of higher learning should be at the forefront of this shift toward intellectual open-mindedness. Too often they pay only lip service to the idea. In my freshman orientation at Washington University, and at orientations at universities across the country, respecting other people and their ideas was the theme
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emphasized at every event, panel, and workshop. Conservative friends scoffed at these ideals. Why? Because liberal attitudes before and after their arrival at university seemed to them to send an altogether different message: We will respect your opinion if it’s a liberal one, but if you start questioning the consensus, be prepared for dirty looks and fewer friends. This is not to say that challenging conservatives on their beliefs is a bad thing. In fact, it is necessary, and they should get used to it. But as liberals challenge them, we must learn to separate ideological disagreement from emotional hatred. There are, without a doubt, Nazi-caliber racists in America who support Donald Trump. If anyone deserves hatred, it is them. But in accusing our peers who voted for Trump of being anywhere near that hateful, we do them and ourselves a disservice. We lose touch with what a huge number of Americans actually think, as we did this election, and we further alienate them from our own ideas and opinions. Of course, not all liberals send this divisive message, and not just liberals do so either, but from Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment, to the guy from your freshman floor who posted for all Trump supporters to unfriend him on Facebook, there are enough to do the damage. These attitudes shut down discussion and create ideologically divided communities that don’t interact even within the university itself. Once our groups are divided, we can preach leftist ideas all we want, but the people who they’re aimed at are the ones who won’t hear. If liberals, the people who are ideologically committed to intellectual understanding, cannot achieve ideological tolerance, it is hard to imagine anyone can. Washington University and institutions like it across the country should strive at every possible opportunity to break down these ideological barriers between students. On the day after the election, several conservative friends complained of professors holding discussions instead of normal class “because of how distraught we all are over the election.” Of all people, professors should be making a special effort to create an environment in which all opinions are respected, and belief in the status quo is not assumed. To this end, classes could simply begin
We need to admit our flaws and face our own hypocrisy. Conciliation and dialogue with reasonable conservatives is necessary to that process. with students submitting written positions on an issue anonymously, as would be done for any other potentially disturbing or divisive issue. The university administration could also do better. Several weeks before the election, there was a controversy on campus when two Asian students in blackface posted a picture on Snapchat with the caption “We are the Zulu tribe.” The Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosted discussions to help students think about the controversy. But the discussions were segregated by race: one for Asian and Asian American students, one for Black students, one for non-Black students of color, and one for white students. At a time when Americans seem to understand each other less and less, institutionalized ideological division like this is the last thing we need. The desire to separate students from potentially distressing views is understandable, but when it defeats the purpose of a discussion, and for that matter the purpose of a liberal arts education—exposing people to new ideas so that they can better understand the world—it is destructive. To be clear, I am not recommending that we wholly discard this type of segmented discussion. Holding discussions separately for each involved group can be useful; it allows participants time to settle their own thoughts on the topic and come to terms with the anger and pain such incidents inevitably produce. Afterward, however, the separate discussions must be brought together to prevent ideological isolation, hatred born of misunderstanding, and division between groups whose views
could have been at least partially reconciled through talk. As liberals spend the next four years fighting regressive policy, we need to keep in the back of our minds this long-term goal of breaking down ideological divisions. Democratic electoral victory won’t mean much if it is just 51 percent of the country imposing their will on the other 49 percent. If we are to make progress with the core issues of inequality and social exclusion that are driving Trumpism, public opinion needs to actually shift. The pressing issues of global warming, inequality, corporate and governmental corruption, and racial division need to be addressed if America— and for that matter, the world—is to have a hopeful future. But these issues cannot be resolved if Americans are unable to talk to each other, if we are unable to form anything resembling consensus or even respectful discourse. They cannot be resolved if each side thinks the other is not only wrong, but actually evil. Yes, it’s hard to talk to those we disagree with. It’s understandable that some feel threatened because they perceive violent bias in groups that they oppose. Does that make even this amended conciliatory approach too much to ask? Maybe it does, but I hope it does not. Because if liberals, the people who claim to value critical thinking and the free flow of ideas, will not initiate this dialogue, then no one will, and our republic may truly be doomed.
Lachlan Athanasiou is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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THE RAPE EXCEPTION Grace Portelance
hen asked about their views on abortion, the socially conservative politician’s answer usually begins with “pro-life” and ends with two exceptions—one I understand, "life of the mother," and one I don’t, "rape." Now, I know this appears to place me on the political right of most of our country’s prominent Republicans, but on this issue I agree wholeheartedly with Mike Huckabee: The existence of the concept of a “rape exception” to abortion is bullshit. This position is hard to articulate because I don’t think that pregnant rape survivors should not be given access to safe and legal abortion, but I find the fact that the pro-life and pro-choice camps accept rape survivors as a completely separate category for these services to be illogical and, frankly, kind of demeaning. There are many ways that a pregnancy can be created, spanning from horrific to incredible; more importantly, I would argue the ways pregnancies are created are difficult to define, so difficult that meting out medical services based on their validity is flatout wrong. I assume that those who normally oppose abortion yet believe in exceptions for pregnancies as a result of sexual violence do so for both compassionate and political reasons. Firstly, a rape survivor never chose to engage in the act that resulted in a pregnancy, so they should not be held culpable. Secondly, it is politically unpopular to restrict the autonomy of rape victims. While the rationale here is clear, I find it flawed. For a pregnancy to be judged as a result of rape, and therefore be considered terminable, there must be some proof or evidence that the rape occurred. While I assume (or rather, hope) that doctors are able to make these judgments with more accuracy or confidence than a jury, the fact still remains that not all rapes come with “evidence.” According to Tara Culp-Ressler in her piece for the Atlantic, low-income women who require government help to pay for abortion services must “wade through red tape” to prove that their pregnancy was a result of rape to claim those services, and 11 of the 34 states which only allow Medicaid to cover abortion in
the case of rape also require legal documentation. Considering the statistics we all know on how few rapes are reported, this “rape exception” becomes an exception only for women who are perceived as rape victims, reported their incident to authorities, and are somehow able to prove a rape occurred. In a world where rape is faced with a highly skeptical audience, hinging the access to abortion on its proven existence is incredibly limiting and restrictive. The fact that we judge a pregnancy based on the acts that create it for political gain is something of which both pro-life and pro-choice camps are guilty. Our judgment of pregnancy comes from our judgment of sex and the women who engage in it. We classify women as more or less deserving of abortion services based on their sexual presentation and history, with even prochoice politicians making distinctions between when abortion rights are necessary, or just preferable. Hillary Clinton during her presidential run remarked on Marco Rubio’s anti-exception pro-life views, saying, "When one of their major candidates—a much younger man, the senator from Florida—says there should be no exceptions for rape and incest, that is as offensive and as troubling a comment as you can hear from a major candidate running for the presidency." Through these kinds of comments, liberal politicians legitimize the rape exception as a wildly different category than “general abortion.” Abortion rights for a young teen who had consensual sex with her boyfriend, or a college student who was one of the 1 percent that got pregnant on the pill, or a woman who the idea of having a child fills her with fear and anxiety is seen as important, but the existence of a rape exception is portrayed as indispensable. While pro-choice advocates want all of these groups to have access to abortion services, saying that opposing a rape exception is highly offensive and troubling, while opposing other abortions is merely par for the course, is a strange dichotomy. It plays right into the frustrating societal tendency to assess and judge a woman’s reasons for making this sort of decision as a key factor in her ability to act on it.
The rape exception is good politics, but bad policy. While pregnancies originating in rape are often traumatic, they are by no means always seen as a trauma, and not all pregnancies that are traumatic are a result of rape. Categorizing pregnancies to determine if abortion services should be allowed, therefore, is as strange to me as giving cancer treatment to those who contracted lung cancer innocently and spontaneously while denying it to those who smoked and directly contracted the disease. The cause of a condition does not usually dictate how it is treated, and once we start assigning or absolving fault in how a pregnancy is created, we are all complicit in creating an environment where sex and pregnancy, both consensual and not, are subject to the judgment and persecution of the public.
Grace Portelance is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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READ MY LIPS: ONE NEW TAX Michael Fogarty | Illustration by Maddy Angstreich "
ax” is a dirty word in politics. Tax increases are always unpopular with voters; no one likes to give up more of their salary to the government. Politicians are aware of this, and frequently include anti-tax rhetoric in their campaigns. George H.W. Bush’s famous campaign promise “Read my lips: no new taxes” exemplifies the power that anti-tax rhetoric possesses to help politicians to victory. One of the surest ways for a candidate to win votes is to accuse their opponent of wanting to raise taxes on hardworking American families.
Taxes, of course, are necessary to raise revenue to allow the government to operate. Furthermore, taxes can serve as incentives to deter behavior that society deems undesirable. For example, so-called “sin taxes” on tobacco and alcohol discourage the socially costly activities of smoking and drinking by increasing the price of the product. In certain situations, taxes can even be economically efficient. Activities like smoking and driving have extra costs to society, called externalities, that are not borne by the consumer. Smoking produces secondhand smoke, which can cause lung cancer in non-smokers, as well as increases the amount of healthcare required over the lifetime of the smoker. Similarly, driving has other costs besides the cost of gas. Driving produces emissions that contribute to global warming and urban smog, congestion that affects other drivers, and accidents. Although driving causes all of these negative side effects, drivers do not pay these costs. The only additional cost of driving an extra mile is the fuel required, even though driving that extra mile adds pollution, contributes to congestion, and creates the risk of an accident. Economics provides a simple solution to this problem: force drivers to “internalize” the negative externalities, or social costs, that they create. The classic solution is a Pigouvian tax, a per unit tariff that increases the price of the activity by an amount equal to the social costs it creates. Practically speaking, that would require increasing the federal excise tax on gasoline. Currently, the federal government charges a
tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. That is altogether too low. According to research by the economists Ian Parry and Kenneth Small, the current federal gasoline tax is far below the level that would cover all of the externalities of driving. In 2005, they calculated that the optimal gasoline tax was $1.10 per gallon. Adjusting for inflation, that is $1.36 in 2016 dollars – well over a dollar more than the current federal gasoline tax. To rectify this, the federal government should increase the federal gasoline tax by at least $1. According to gasbuddy.com, the average price of a gallon of gas in the United States is about $2.20. Although predicting oil prices is a fool’s game, the current supply glut suggests that it is more likely than not that oil prices will remain relatively low for a relatively long period of time. Although implementing a new tax will never be popular, the time is right for this necessary policy change. It is better to implement a new tax when prices are low than when consumers are hurting at the pump. To minimize the impact of the tax on consumers, it could be implemented gradually, over a period of several years. Tax increases are unpopular enough in the best of times; attempting to increase the gas tax when fuel prices are already high would be politically impossible. The time to act is now, while gas prices are near five year lows.
A higher gasoline tax would incentivize drivers to use less gas, either by driving less or buying more fuel efficient cars. Both of these outcomes are desirable, because cars and trucks together create about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. This policy change would help fight climate change by decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the United States adds to the atmosphere every year. Additionally, if Americans drive less, there will be fewer fatal car accidents, less congestion on the roads and less urban smog. Although tax increases are unpopular, an increase in the federal gasoline tax would be a net benefit to society. In order to make such an increase politically palatable, it could be phased in over the course of several years. In addition, the new revenues could be used to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure, one of the few areas of political consensus in today’s highly polarized political climate.
Michael Fogarty is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TRUMP SUPPORTERS IN THE CASE OF A VICTORY Nicholas Kinberg
or policy wonks left, right, and center, the choice they faced in November was one between two ideologies that couldn’t have been more different. One represented moderate neoliberalism, while the other symbolized far-right authoritarianism. There is, however, something to be said for political calculus: the likelihood that a party’s policies will pass given the climate of the Congress.
In Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s case, her measures, among them a ban on assault weapons, a hike in the estate tax, and a program to make college more affordable for low-income students, had little chance of being passed in what is going to be a Republican-controlled Congress. Though the Democratic Party held a two-thirds chance of taking the Senate just before the election, according to electoral prediction site FiveThirtyEight, this said nothing about the House of Representatives. Per the electoral prediction site PredictWise, the party of Franklin Roosevelt held a 9 percent chance of taking the chamber. The other 91 points belonged to the Republicans, a plurality of whom projected a Congress with 231 to 240 of them. Just losing the House would have guaranteed that a President Clinton wouldn’t have gotten any sort of gun-control or tax-raising legislation through. In Republican candidate Donald Trump’s case, his legislative prospects seem much brighter— for better or for worse.
Mr. Trump’s proposals range from the deportation of all undocumented immigrants to tariffs on foreign goods, both of which alienated mainstream Republicans. While the Grand Old Party might not have been opposed to the gradual removal of undocumented immigrants, they were certainly against their relocation over the span of eighteen months, as well as the antifree trade stance that their nominee had taken. While it would have been normal for them to oppose a President Clinton proposing these policies, members of a President Trump’s own party will have more difficulty fighting the policies that got him elected. And that will affected members of Congress, not the future president. On October 7, the infamous Access Hollywood video depicting Trump making lewd comments about women was released. Immediately, Republicans across the board unendorsed him and condemned his statements, making it seem as if this was the last straw for the business mogul. But just weeks later, with the final presidential debate complete, the detractors began to circle back to him. Gradually, they realized that he was more popular than they were among their own constituents. And that’s what drew them back. Why would elected officials risk losing their next primary to a Trump-esque candidate when they could simply return to supporting their party’s nominee without losing too many of his supporters? All Trump would
have to do during his presidency is “go public,” appealing to his vocal network of supporters to replace their representatives and senators with Trump-lite elected officials. So, imagine those incumbent politicians opposing the measures on which he was elected. The only scenario in which they would theoretically be able to do so would be after the 2018 midterm elections, on the hope that Mr. Trump will fail to win reelection in 2020. This is because his supporters would no longer have a leader to represent the views of the “silent majority.” So, the political strategy was quite simple. If one hated both the policies of Clinton and Trump, it would have been more prudent to have voted for the one who, sadly, would have caused the most gridlock. That person was Hillary Clinton.
Nicholas Kinberg is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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FIVE GENERATIONS OF ST. LOUIS STAINED GLASS Rachel Butler
mil Frei Studio is located in a house on a hill, nestled in 10 acres of forest in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Kirkwood, Missouri. The surrounding houses have done away with the extra acreage and trees, leaving neat lawns, but once you make the sharp turn onto 1017 West Adams’ driveway you would never know you weren’t in the middle of a forest. There are two white mailboxes that mark the entrance; one for the studio itself, and one for Aaron Frei, the fifth generation of the family to run the studio, who lives in a separate house on the same property. I had learned about the studio from Emily Frei, a scenic artist and another member of the fifth generation who happens to be my boss in the Washington University performing arts department. She described spending her teenage summers working at the studio and spending Christmas at the property with three generations of family, next to a tree decorated with ornaments made during the attendees’ spare time. The Frei family Christmas and Thanksgiving are still held there every year, in the part of the house that hasn’t been filled with glasswork paraphernalia. I pulled up to the studio on an ideal autumn morning, wind and sunlight rushing through the leaves. In a clearing by the driveway was a long rope swing hanging from a tree that Emily had suggested I try during my visit. It looked quite inviting but I held fast to my professionalism and did not try it out. The studio itself looks like an extension of the surrounding forest, with vines growing across the roof. There is an open path through the middle of the structure into the woods, and various panels of abstract stained glass make the entire building seem ephemeral. Part of the building is on stilts, floating above the forest, with a wraparound porch where I imagine the Freis and other artists might sit on lunch breaks or Sunday mornings. Aaron Frei walked out to greet and direct me towards the studio – I had been wandering a
little perplexedly, unsure which part was actually the studio. He looked to be in his 20s or 30s, dressed in jeans and a fleece sweatshirt, soft-spoken but friendly, with bright blue eyes and full of knowledge about seemingly everything. He could easily have blended in on a college campus, and yet he is in charge of one of the oldest, most well-known and well-regarded stained glass studios in the country, if not the world. He had just been named president of the company 8 months earlier, and his life had gotten busier, so he was no longer in charge of cutting the glass, as he told me with a little nostalgia. There are 15 full-time employees, but the day I came to the studio, nearly everyone was out on job sites, working on restorations. “In stained glass terms, 15 is a very big studio,” Aaron told me. Three of Aaron’s siblings work at the studio, along with his dad and uncle. Jenny, another employee sitting by a computer, told me that her oldest kids are starting work at the studio during summers and Christmas breaks. “There are another seven or eight people working here who aren’t family members, but it’s a family culture,” Aaron told me. It seemed that the other employees all had long histories with members of the family that had lead them to work here, meeting in college or before; Aaron referred to many of them as “here for life.” I asked him if the studio is usually pretty busy, and he took a minute to laugh before showing me the studio’s schedule, a grid packed with type. “We currently have around 50-60 jobs in progress, at multiple points in the line of completion. Some churches are not even holes in the ground yet. That’s the hard part – actually keeping up with the work.” To me it seemed like there were a lot of hard parts. He showed me around the various work spaces in the studio, all packed into two small rooms connected by a flight of stairs. “First we sketch a design at three-quarter inch scale,” he said, showing me an intricate drawing of a
woman’s face that had already become a window at a Lutheran church in St. Louis. “We transfer that to what we call a cartoon, which is full size. There’s a thick black line showing where each piece of glass will go. Then we start selecting what pieces of glasses we want.” We walked over to a corner of the upstairs room, and Aaron slid a panel with hundreds of multicolored squares of glass out of the wall. The room turned into a kaleidoscope. “You’ll notice that not only is there a great variety of color, but also texture. Some glass has a lot of bubbles in it. Some is more transparent, you can just see right through it. Some has a frostier, icier texture. Using a variety of these helps create a dynamic feel to a window.” He slid out another panel of glass squares; there seemed to be no end to the possible colors and textures. “It’s all mouthblown glass from Germany, France and Poland,” said Aaron. “American doesn’t recognize the beauty of mouth-blown glass as it should.” Emil Frei Studio is now the largest client of mouth-blown glass in the world. “That’s odd to think of. It just shows how much the stained glass industry has crashed. We’ve always been big, but I don’t feel like we order enough to be the largest in the world,” he said, sliding the panel back into the wall. “Everyone else in the United States just orders normal glass stock.” He showed me a piece of nearly opaque, milky glass. “This,” he said disdainfully, “is America’s contribution to stained glass. It’s opalescent stained glass, machine made. It’s meant more as a kind of lit wall painting. The transparency is totally mitigated, ignored, neglected.” Next we went over to an area where pieces of classes sat on what I assumed were typical light boxes. Then Aaron turned a crank and the bottom of one light box suddenly opened to the outside, this part of the house being on stilts. “This is the coolest thing,” Aaron said, a smile spreading across his face. “My grandfather invented it. He was one of the more genius people. Stained glass is largely powered by sunlight, so we want to see what the windows will look
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A panel of glass samples | Rachel Butler
like in sunlight.” Robert Frei, Aaron’s grandfather, had constructed the ‘sunlight-box’ with a bank of mirrors across one side and a moveable bank that can be cranked up or down to gather in more sunlight. The artists can use it to see how a piece of glass will look if it’s facing east, west, south or north, or at 7 a.m. vs. 5 p.m. It is amazing to see in use. “That’s one of a kind, no one else has that,” Aaron told me, still smiling. Aaron went on to show me the table where the glass is painted with metal oxides and badger-hair brushes and the kiln where it’s fired at 1150-1200 degrees Fahrenheit. “You can go up to a well-fired window and scratch it with your keys as hard as you want it’s not going to come off because it’s in the glass,” he said, and I shuddered think of doing that to one of these windows. Faces are painted on so clearly that the eyes seem to hold emotion. The pieces of glass are then fit together and soldered into lead frameworks, hardened and waterproofed in the cementing room, Emily’s old summer job. “It’s kind of a dirty entry job,” Aaron said, holding up a bucket of black goo, laughing. “You would take this really goopy putty and spread it underneath the lead. A lot of people start with this and then say, OK, maybe not for me. Your hands are black
The "sunlight box," an invention of Robert Frei | Rachel Butler
within 20 minutes and it feels grimy.” Aaron continued to show me all the features of the studio, which included tools for making mosaics and other kinds of glass art. I learned that the going rate for their stained glass is $1500$2000 per square foot, and that the Frei windows are designed to last thousands of years. The type of art that the Frei studio creates can seem anachronistic, with its ancient techniques, clientele consisting nearly completely of churches, and reliance on poorly lit buildings in order to shine. Being in the studio feels like an escape from time. “My way of explaining it is that we live in a kind of Wal-Mart culture… People treat the blank walls in their homes as spaces to be filled. They decorate with usually pretty chintzy artwork,” he said, sighing. “What we do is totally different. It’s expected to last 500,000 years. And these are pieces of artwork that will influence generations of believers. The point is to do it really well the first time, and that will ensure that generations will be influenced by an art that’s well considered.” The artisans work with their clients to create designs that work with the church architecture and create “sacred spaces with integrity.” Though the windows are designed with the architecture in
mind, Aaron told me that the windows often outlive the buildings. Currently, many of the studio’s projects involve moving windows out of St. Louis City to new homes as churches there close down due to changing demographics. The story of how the studio came to be in St. Louis is “a fun one,” according to Aaron. After his great-great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from the outskirts of Munich, Germany in 1895, his great-great-grandmother Emma became homesick and wanted to go home. Emil Frei Sr. obliged, though he had fled Germany to avoid being enlisted in a fascist army. On their way back they stopped in St. Louis and got off the train to hear nothing but German being spoken. Emma felt at home, and Emil breathed a deep sigh of relief. The Germans settled in the Midwest largely because it reminded them of the Rhineland. The topography and geography felt like home to them. Aaron told me that if you drive out to the farming communities 80 minutes outside of St. Louis, like Rich Fountain or Hermann or St. George, and you visit the Catholic churches, the tombstones are all inscribed in German. “It’s a really neat lineage, a neat tradition to see,” said
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A Christmas celebration at Emil Frei Studio in the early years | emilfrei.com
Installing the final window panel at "the Bishop's Chapel" in Atlanta, Georgia
Aaron. All the stained glass from the time is in German as well. One would think that a residential neighborhood in Missouri would not be a prime location for a stained glass studio that does projects all over the country. Why not a more major city? “It’s centrally located, so that is one advantage,” Aaron told me. “The Midwest has an additional advantage in that it has a strong adherence to believing communities. That’s not to disdain East Coast-West Coast lifestyles. It’s just that churches are being built in the Midwest,” Aaron said, then lowered his voice: “They’re not really being built on the coasts.” He told me that new immigrant communities tended to build churches. “Kansas and Oklahoma, big hot spots for us. They’re building churches, they’re experiencing influxes of Hispanic communities. Any newly immigrant community, they have a stronger adherence to the faith, maybe because it’s more necessary for them.” Aaron himself is a religious man. He has a master’s degree in theology, and it became clear that his passion for stained glass stemmed from more than just artistic ability. “Stained glass is really a sacred art, a Christian art,” he told me. Every other kind of art is reflected light. If you look at a painting, the light will bounce off and
go back to your eye. Stained glass is an art form of transmitted light, and Aaron sees that as especially sacred: “You have this material that captures light, this ethereal presence, and transforms it. If you relate that to, in theological terms, the divine essence of God being the creator, and not being defined by one finite substance and yet still creating, still extending that act of creation into the material world. And so you have both the ethereal and the infinite, I guess I would say, resonance of God, interacting with the created world.” Much of the beauty of stained glass, to Aaron, stems from its ability to depict a narrative imbued with emotion without the usage of language. This has been the central purpose of stained glass since its beginnings in the Catholic Church centuries ago, when it taught the illiterate population the stories of the Bible. Religion is not a major element in every employee’s life. Yet the bulk of the workforce does tend toward that direction. A lot of people want to work at the studio partially because stained glass is a sacred art. Aaron’s brother is also working towards his theology degree and for a time considered becoming a monk. “The artists need to have some theological foundation,” said Aaron. “They have to at least be familiar with the content of the faiths. Which almost always means that
Wyatt Park Christian, St. Joseph, MO | emilfrei.com
you practice it, because that’s the best way to know it.” A kiln buzzed in the background; light continued to move in waves through the small bits of colored glass propped against a nearby window as the trees swayed and twisted the light around. “I would think – hope – that anyone who works in this field long enough wouldn’t be able to resist that call. We spend most of our time in churches. We were all raised Catholic, and I think working here has only strengthened that commitment. I know for me it has. That’s the untold story,” he said, eyes twinkling. “You run into people when you're working in these churches that really are the best witnesses to a commitment to the faith. You can have really lofty academic arguments. The best argument to believe really is the life of another person who you admire. It should always lead to you to say what's the cause? Why are they so strong? Why are they so lovely to be around? It should lead you back to God.”
Rachel Butler is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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THE PCAH: WHY THE ARTS ARE NECESSARY Amanda Weinstein
he arts are an often overlooked window to successful education and unity, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) has sought to bring these benefits to light. Created under the Reagan administration in 1982, the PCAH has succeeded in enriching the lives of Americans and people worldwide by embedding artistic culture into society. The committee works with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), three cultural agencies that support ventures in the arts and humanities.
What specific projects has the PCAH worked on during the Obama Administration? The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities has flourished under the Obama administration. With an all-star team of members including Kerry Washington, Edward Norton, and Sarah Jessica Parker, the PCAH expanded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program (NAHYP) Awards and created initiatives such as Turnaround Arts and the National Student Poets. Turnaround Arts is a program designed to invigorate low-performing schools in impoverished neighborhoods by incorporating the arts into academic curriculum. It helps to train dedicated and accomplished teachers for these schools and brings in mentors, the Turnaround Artists, to speak to the children and teach guest lessons. Turnaround Artists include Chuck Close, Elizabeth Banks, Jack Johnson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Elton John. The National Student Poets project aims to empower young minds through poetry. Each year, five high school students are chosen to perform their poetry at the White House and throughout the country at multiple writing workshops and showcases. Perhaps the most meaningful of the projects that the PCAH administered was a cultural exchange visit to Cuba in April of 2016 to strengthen US-Cuban ties through common interest in the arts. In attendance were artists such as Usher, Dave Matthews, and Smokey
Robinson. The PCAH members and artists met with government officials and cultural directors, and many performed small shows with popular Cuban artists. As United States government officials seek to bridge the gap between Cuba and America, the arts have proven to be an important asset. In addition to starting those projects, the PCAH under the Obama administration continued to work on initiatives such as the NAHYP Awards and Film Forward. Each year the NAHYP Award is given out to 12 schools that have done an outstanding job of integrating arts into their schools and have created a supportive and cultural learning environment. Winners receive a $10,000 grant to continue developing their program, as well as a trip to the White House to accept their award. The NAHYP Awards encourage schools to integrate art and culture into their environments and are successful in keeping more kids engaged in school. Film Forward is yet another program aimed to engage and inspire Americans. The initiative works closely with the Sundance Film Festival to choose ten films—five American and five international—to screen around the country and in select locations abroad. The directors, producers, and actors then hold panels to discuss their creative processes, as well as the importance of film and art in society. Many of the films chosen are meant to challenge biases and stereotypes, as well as encourage discussion. By screening these ten films, Sundance and the PCAH hope to increase interest not only in cinema, but also in important social issues. Why does all this matter? Funding for arts education has been cut severely over the past couple of years in order to make way for programs associated with science and technology; some schools have done away with visual arts, music, and dance altogether. Museum attendance has also shrunk significantly, as has attendance at live performances, shows, and other arts-related events. The arts are being cast off by many as unimportant, but hundreds of studies have proven that arts education makes for more
From administration to administration, the PCAH has made progress in reinvigorating and reincorporating the arts into society. well-rounded individuals and provides children and adults alike with a sense of purpose. From administration to administration, the PCAH has made progress in reinvigorating and reincorporating the arts into society. How can you make a difference on campus? Washington University in St. Louis prides itself on its strong artistic programs. The school offers art history courses, film classes, and many resources for musicians. It is important to take advantage of these benefits because they will enrich the lives of the students involved, but also the lives of the students around them. Arts education affects the people who go to film screenings or WashU art shows or KWUR concerts. It affects the musicians who have been able to join a band due to help from the school’s Performing Musicians Resource Group. It is imperative to take this knowledge from WashU and apply it to life outside campus by educating others. We can all help to integrate arts into the St. Louis society and throughout the world.
Amanda Weinstein is a freshman in the Olin Business School. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | NETWORKS & COMMUNICATION
ARE WE SAFE? Gwen Byrne
ow far does the constitutional right to carry a firearm extend? How comfortable are you with having open carry on campus? Coming from the Northeast, these are questions I never had to confront. Guns required a permit and largely Democratic state legislatures never made any move to change that. Living 20 minutes away from Sandy Hook meant that gun legislation news usually centered on enforcing the law and increasing gun safety. Moving 1,000 miles away from home and stepping onto campus, I was confronted with a different reality. Recently, the Missouri state legislature voted to allow constitutional carry, which is concealed carry without a permit. Although Governor Nixon attempted to veto the bill, he was unable to prevent its passage. The implications of this law are massive. Criminals, charged with federal felonies, are now able to carry concealed firearms, for as long as someone is 21 and a Missouri resident, there is no limit on his or her right to constitutional carry. Over the past decade Missouri has increasingly relaxed its gun laws to an unprecedented level compared to other states. In 2006, the legislature removed the requirement for background checks and purchase permits. Homicide rates increased. That being said, some experts cite the statistical adage: correlation does not mean causation. For instance, California increased its gun safety laws yet homicide rates still increased. A larger concern, especially in Missouri, is the effect on impoverished communities, where gun laws such as this can have disproportately detrimental effects. With easier access to guns and no laws requiring a permit for concealed carry, there is new potential for violent crimes and homicides in these areas.
I came from a bubble where gun safety laws were rarely even considered. The only stress was to be careful in the open space around my house during the fall, as there were often deer hunters. At Washington University, the student body is very geographically diverse and many students come from states where open and concealed carry are unquestionably legal. Yet it is easy to slip into the safety bubble that the University provides its students. While this
safety is important, the school still resides in a city with high rates of homicide and violent crime. St. Louis has the highest homicide rate for a city over 100,000 in the nation. It is important to remember that a few blocks outside of this bubble is a very real world that may have just become more dangerous. This isn’t just a problem in Missouri. It’s a national epidemic. In 2011, 17 people died from terrorism and 11, 101 due to gun violence. The scariest part of the whole passage is that there is no real scientific data to support either argument. According to federal law, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention is not allowed to conduct any testing that would improve gun safety or research prevention methods. There is no data on the use of universal background checks or their effectiveness. Essentially, government decisions are made without proper evidence that would help solve the problem. Such large amounts of gun violence have no direct link. Some experts say gun laws reinforce it, others say they have no effect. Discussions of gun violence often lead to two extremes: either the government is taking all of our guns and we have no rights as citizens anymore, or we should all be allowed to carry military grade weapons. There is little room for the in between conversation of which policies protect every citizen and which policies are endangering the lives of others.
I am not used to having to worry about guns. I am not used to people regularly carrying guns. From my perspective, life is safer when there are gun safety laws—Sandy Hook was all the evidence I needed freshman year. I remember being in my biology class and my teacher started crying. I remember hiding behind the lab tables and hoping that the shooter’s next stop would not be our town. These are memories that prevent me from approaching the subject in an objective manner no matter how hard I try. I do know that we have a war on drugs, a war on terrorism, and, if I didn’t know better, I would think the U.S. has a war against its own people. People are shot every day and some parts of the country have slipped into the mindset that the only preventative action would be extreme, unconstitutional action. Discussion of potential solutions has halted and the blind movement towards looser gun laws is a striking image of what gun laws could begin to look like across the nation.
Gwen Byrne is an freshman in the Olin Business School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | INTERNATIONAL
UBER WARS: THE FIGHT FOR FLORIPA Delmar Tarragó
imilar to the Greeks taking over Melos in the Peloponnesian War, fleets of cars driving for Uber now take over the streets of Florianopolis. The city, known more affectionately as Floripa, had just been introduced to the transportation app thirteen days prior to my visit in October. During my week-long trip in the beautiful island city I often relied on Uber, opting for a quicker means of transportation than the bus and a cheaper option than a taxi. But my Uber rides in Floripa became more than a convenient way to get around; they became a window into the beginnings of a battle, a conflict in response to Uber’s inevitable takeover.
Uber has taken over. The transportation network app has changed the way we travel. Founded as UberCab, the company has grown exponentially since its official launch in San Francisco in 2011. The app now operates in more than 400 cities in over 70 countries around the world. And within those 70+ countries, Brazil is an important one. It is now Uber’s third largest market, sitting only behind the U.S. and India. According to a Bloomberg article published in October of this year, Andrew Macdonald, Uber’s regional general manager for Latin America, plans to double the number of Latin American cities in which the company operates by the end of 2017. And if Brazil is any indication, it seems as if he’s off to a good start. Since I arrived in Brazil in July, Uber has launched in at least 15 Brazilian cities, including Uberlandia, the southeastern Brazilian city whose name is just so fitting that it’d be a shame not to include. But I’ve witnessed more than Uber’s expansion within the South American country; I’ve witnessed Uber’s roll out of different options and trial-runs as it seeks to develop and succeed in different markets. If UberX, Uber’s standard option, is too plebeian for you, and UberBlack, their luxury option, still doesn’t cut it, then Sao Paulo in June and July was the place for you. When I first arrived in Sao
As we neared the airport it became clear that we were entering the warzone. Paulo, the transportation app was offering a limited-time UberCopter option. The month-long trial run allowed Uber users to literally take to the skies to get from point A to point B. Although perhaps an ostentatious means of travel, Uber explained that it was yet another option for a city known for its aggravating traffic. And to top it off, you didn’t have to be a billionaire to take advantage of this mode of travel. Prices were as low as $17 USD a seat, about half of what you’d pay to take a taxi from Wash U to the airport. On the other end of the spectrum, Sao Paulo has also received deals like a R$6 (approximately $1.76) flat-rate for UberPool. For two weeks in September, riders could take advantage of this deal during weekday rush hours, regardless of distance traveled or duration of trip. Friends of mine took hour long rides across the giant city for what it costs to purchase a bag of chips. Brazil has also witnessed more creative rollouts from the Bay Area company. For the 2015 Brazilian summer, Uber introduced a threemonth UberSurf option for Rio de Janeiro users. Those headed to the beach could request cars equipped with surfboard racks for a convenient ride before riding the waves. But what has particularly struck me has been Uber’s creative approaches for its various philanthropic efforts here in Brazil. The transportation giant has rolled out UberDonation, a series of campaigns where those going to donate blood get free or discounted rides.
Uber has tried the same approach with vaccines, offering discounts in ten Brazilian cities for those taking their children to get vaccinated. After a dam disaster last year that resulted in massive flooding and destruction in the state of Minas Gerais. Uber launched a weekend campaign to help the disaster’s victims. Those in the state’s capital, Belo Horizonte, could request an Uber, free of charge, to pick up clothes and household items to be taken to affected areas to help displaced families. This past winter in June, the same model was used in Sao Paulo and Campinas to gather clothing donations for the homeless. Despite its philanthropic efforts and revolutionary approach to transportation, Uber’s entrance into the Brazilian market hasn’t been without struggles. As has often been the case in cities throughout the globe, taxi drivers and city officials have tried to block the company's operations. In Florianopolis I first noticed the struggle with taxis. While taking an Uber to a nearby shopping mall, the driver asked if he could let me off a little before the mall’s front door due to fear of the taxi drivers who were awaiting passengers. He thanked me profusely when I agreed. When asked, other Uber drivers in Florianopolis also expressed concern about angering taxi drivers. And their caution isn’t ill advised. Uber drivers throughout Brazil have been followed, intimidated, threatened, and even attacked by taxi drivers. In one extreme case, in October 2015, a 22-year-old Uber driver in Sao Paulo was attacked by approximately 20 taxi drivers while in his car. After fleeing on foot, he was caught and forced at gunpoint to get into a car where he was beaten while his own car was destroyed. But it wasn’t just taxi drivers that Uber drivers in Florianopolis had to worry about. There was
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | INTERNATIONAL
Hercílio Luz Bridge, Florianópolis, Brazil
a third party within Uber’s fight for Floripa: the city’s fiscal officers. These city officials check that drivers have the legal papers to operate, which is often not the case for Uber drivers operating in a new city. In most Brazilian cities, Uber has a hazy legal status, as different municipalities struggle to figure out how to deal with the presence of the innovative transportation app. It was during my last Uber ride in Florianopolis, my trip to the airport, that the city’s third player in the fight for Floripa appeared. As I began my trip, my driver explained to me that he might have to leave me a block away from the airport due to fiscal officers who catch Uber drivers dropping off passengers. He was very serious and seemed legitimately worried. Throughout the ride my driver checked the “Uber driver” WhatsApp group, where Uber drivers in Florianopolis record voice messages, posting them on the group chat, updating each other about traffic and the “situation” with fiscal officers at the airport. The back and forth WhatsApp voice messages sounded like police activity or soldiers on their walkie talkies. As we neared the airport it became clear that we were entering the warzone. “You have to be careful,” my driver told me, “O homem prevenido vale por dois” (One prepared man counts for two). Suddenly, his phone started ringing. There was an Uber user requesting a ride nearby. My driver declined. Moments later it began
ringing again. Another rider and another decline. I was perplexed. This was coming from my driver, who had proudly told me earlier in the ride that he never declined a ride. “They could be fiscal officers,” he explained. They use the Uber app and request a ride when they see a car nearby. “I can’t run any risks,” he told me. And trying to lure an unsuspecting driver isn’t an uncommon practice in Brazil. A year ago, when Sao Paulo was having issues with Uber, the city’s transportation secretary publically announced that he’d be using the same tactic alongside the Brazilian Military Police and Metropolitan Civil Guard. The extent of the conflict caused as Uber enters a new city in Brazil was beginning to hit me. “It’s like a little war,” I remarked. Expecting to be dropped off before the airport, I was surprised when my driver changed his mind: he was going to take me all the way. But his decision didn’t come without preparations. As we continued, he turned off the Uber app entirely and stored his phone. There was to be no visible indicator that he was an Uber. He briefed me on what to do if someone were to inquire: we were just friends and he was dropping me off. That’s why, he explained, when I had initially entered the car, he had asked me sit in the front seat. Just another precaution to elude taxi drivers and fiscal officers. I would later find out that the precautions taken by my driver are not unique. A journalist had a
similar experience in an Uber on the way to the airport in Florianopolis. Except in her case, the driver literally switched cars when nearing the airport in order to outsmart fiscal officers, going from the classic Uber sedan to a pick-up truck, a modern-day Trojan horse in Uber’s attempt to take over Floripa. With the airport in sight, my driver tensed up and instructed me to get my belongings and have them with me in the front seat. I was to make a quick escape. He glanced at me, making sure I was ready as we pulled to a stop. We were at the entrance to the airport, before the official drop off point, far from the doors, far from the taxis and hopefully, far from any fiscal officers. It was time for my great escape. My driver stuck his hand out. “Thank you for riding with Uber.” “Good luck,” I responded quite earnestly before clumsily jumping out of the car. With my things now strewn across the ground, I looked up as my driver hastily pulled away. He had successfully completed his mission. A small victory within the larger Uber War.
Delmar Tarragó is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com.
WU POLITICAL REVIEW | PARTING WORDS
OUR WINTER BREAK READING LIST Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon
This book examines the families of children who have different identities than their parents, from autism to criminality. Solomon is an incredible journalist and writer and the anecdotally driven book is thought provoking and compelling. —Grace Portelance
Why the Right Went Wrong by EJ Dionne Dionne outlines modern conservatism "from Goldwater to Trump" in a work that gleans new meaning after the latter's election. It's an important account, and now more relevant than ever. —Sam Klein
Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea by Mitchell Duneier Duneier, a sociologist at Princeton, offers a synthetic history of "the ghetto" from its origins in Renaissance Italy to present-day urban America. Duneier's scholarship is detailed and thorough, yet accessible and enjoyable to read. This is an especially timely book given President-Elect Trump's promises to fix "the inner cities."—Billie Mandelbaum
The Only Rule Is it Has to Work by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman Fadiman explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a Hmong refugee family over the care of Lia Lee, a child with severe epilepsy. The book is well researched and spans from personal accounts from doctors and Lia's family to broader historical and cultural themes. —Rachel Butler
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
In a style that manages to make melodic poetry of prose, McCarthy shares the story of a father and son wandering what is left of a decrepit world. As they scavenge, clash, and struggle to make it, we learn from their simplistic wants, their endless love for each other, and their unrealistic—but also seemingly inextinguishable— hope that everything will one day be alright. —Dan Sicorsky
Two baseball writers obsessed with statistics get a chance to run a baseball team and see if all of their theories would actually work. The book offers insight into the difficulties of turning theory into practice, with broader implications beyond baseball. —Max Handler
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos Drawn from his experience as a journalist living in Beijing, this book explores several human faces of China's rapidly evolving culture. Osnos gives a well written, insightful look at China's contemporary culture, an important component that is routinely ignored in news coverage of China. —Michael Fogarty