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BY JOSEPH SANDFORD

One of the most important rhetorical questions college students will ask themselves this upcoming year is: “What if like, everyone smoked pot, wouldn’t the world be so much better, man?” (In their best imitation of Cheech & Chong.) Engineers, athletes, and sorority sisters alike will explore this delicate issue, before promptly being interrupted by a turn at Mario Cart and the arrival of a forgotten order of Insomnia Cookies.

But the times they are a changing, and the use of pot is no exception. Four states allow for the recreational consumption of pot, twenty-five and D.C. allow for the use of medical pot, and recent polls show that as of 2015 somewhere between 44% and 49% American adults have tried this psychedelic. Numbers which are all trending up. This leaves no doubt as to America’s increasingly liberal view toward the stickiest of the icky. This prompts a timelier question for our couch-locked philosophers: “How is the world a better place because of pot?” (more…)

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BY JOSEPH SANDFORD

Several powerful themes emerged from the Republican National Convention last week: American society is synonymous with freedom, our Constitution is sacred and the only instrument capable of securing our freedom, and law and order must be restored in a country that has succumbed to widespread violence. The gusto in support of such ideas was on full display during the affair’s dramatic finale, but do they accurately portray how the broken system of criminal justice plagues our country?

Before the Republican Party turned to demagoguery to inspire their reactionary base, Georgetown University Law professor David Cole published No Equal Justice, a depressing study of our country’s criminal justice system. In the book, he shows that the Constitution fails to protect all Americans’ rights equally, and that the Supreme Court has encouraged Fourth Amendment abuses by law enforcement in black communities. (more…)

 

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(Photo by Whitney Curtis/Reuters)

I feel as though I’ve been through an emotional ringer the past two weeks, and I know I’m not alone. I, and others like me, have been assaulted with headlines, videos and links to bleeding, dying black bodies. I have watched young men and women, bold enough to cry out in front of cameras, critics and cops, suddenly silenced. I have watched murderers walk away from dead black men and women with little consequence and proactive protection. I am tired.

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BY JOSEPH SANDFORD

Over the July 4th weekend, before the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, I consumed an instructive dose of history from Christopher Hitchens’ short biography, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America. Introducing his subject, Hitchens wrote, “It would be lazy or obvious to say that he contained contradictions or paradoxes. This is true of everybody, and everything. It would be infinitely more surprising to strike upon a historic figure, or indeed a nation, that was not subject to this law. Jefferson did not embody contradiction. Jefferson was a contradiction.”

Here, the essence of an incredibly influential man is asserted, and the difficulty in painting an accurate representation of an entire nation is revealed. Given the diverse perspectives, styles, shading, hues, and brushes available, it’s impossible to render an authentic sketch of any nation. (more…)

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(Photo by FoxADHD)

For 12 years, I was required to pledge my allegiance to, “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” For 20+ years, I have celebrated “our independence” from the oppressors, across the pond.

Today however, I am in total shock and disappointment at a nation that permits the execution of its citizens (natural-born or otherwise). Today, I am in solidarity with those whose are in utter disbelief that lives, black lives to be exact, can be so easily discarded. Today, I am outraged, unconsolably so. Today, has irrevocably changed my life. (more…)