NOTE: With this special issue, themed around politics, The Eye introduces its newest series: Blinks. With each of our themed issues, our staff will be writing small, vignette-type "Blinks" on the issue's topic. You can check out previous Blinks, in spirit if not in name, here and here. We hope you enjoy!
The Eye has always had Columbia's back: We get our name from Jane Jacobs' proclamation that "eyes on the street keep the city safe." But recently, we realized we were failing you in that mission. We weren't keeping the city safe. There's only one way to keep the city streets safe, and that's not narrative journalism. It's politics.
Mark your calendars for this momentous date, because today marks the entry of The Eye into public life: On this historic October morn, we are proud to present the presidential campaigns of The Eye's staffers. Inform yourself by perusing the platforms below, and then exercise your democratic responsibility by voting for your favorite candidate at the bottom of this article. The choice is yours, readership—erm, electorate. Choose wisely.
My 2016 presidential run is a one-issue platform: having some tea and chilling the fuck out.
Little have we heeded the wisdom of English things since we jettisoned their ideas of government into Boston Harbor in 1773. Chief among the lessons we could learn from the English is the ability to sit down and approach our problems with a beginner's relaxed mind.
Pick your favorite catastrophic political decision of the past century. Now imagine those same politicians sitting in some sunlit room around the steaming porcelain, asses sinking into the satin—just hanging out, you know? George brought some weed. Nice. Let's not crack our skulls about national security for now.
Tea would improve our understanding of regions around the world. Some of our most reviled enemies are, in fact, much higher consumers of tea than our allies. The T in NATO doesn't stand for what it should.
A self-indulgent mental health cup of tea would also alleviate much of the imprudence associated with lawmakers today. The frenzy would settle, bipartisan agreements would arise out of frequent bathroom trips, issues that once seemed calamitous will appear a lot more chill. The health of presidential candidates will be out of the question. The number one cure for pneumonia? Tea.
Incidentally, all of this advice applies to Columbia students as well. It seems less futile, however, to plead with our politicians.
My 2016 presidential run is a one-issue platform: the repetitive circularity of political rhetoric. When questioned about platforms and plans, politicians regularly offer exceedingly ambiguous and often empty responses—peppered with buzzwords, smiles, sophisticated political jargon, and disingenuous patriotism. We're better than that, America!
We need to acknowledge and accept the greatest nation's greatest shortcoming (nowhere near as short as the shortcomings of other nations). In addition to the aforementioned rhetorical techniques, meaningless oratorical devices are too frequently employed to captivate and impress audiences, such as alternation between unnecessarily long-winded sentences full of empty promises, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing… and short ejaculations. Wake up, America! My campaign will encompass the full scope of this vital issue and reject this trend plaguing political discourse in our country today. Why? Because I love America!
While Politicians and the Establishment today will waste valuable air space and bore you with self-serving "economic figures" and "social concerns," my platform will approach and tackle this real issue—poor presentation and false promises. I am committed to discussing topics in both fiscally responsible and environmentally sustainable ways. I promise! I will verbally support the economic, social, moral, ethical, gender-inclusive, and patriotic interests of American voters. I care! I shall implement policies using proper grammar. My way works!
America, this is the most effective weapon to combat such a multifaceted, deep-rooted plague. I can cure it! Following the plan I have just detailed step by step, as your president I will abolish the repetitive circularity of political rhetoric, the primary concern of my platform, for voters today and for our posterity. God bless the U S of A!
My 2016 presidential run is a one-issue platform: MY PLATFORM IS MISSING—I NEED A NATIONWIDE MANHUNT.
The platform has been around for as long as we can remember. George Washington carved it out of that cherry tree he chopped in his father's backyard and took the time to run it over with sandpaper and smooth out the grain. Things were simpler then. Everyone wore wigs, and everyone liked Whigs, and everyone could mutually agree on the fresh beauty of George Washington's nascent, shimmering slab of wood.
The platform was passed from president to president—losing a little luster with the cursory decades, perhaps, but never its magisterial glow. Andrew Jackson drank whiskey off of it and James Polk wrote drafts of treaties on it and Abraham Lincoln used it as a headboard. It was forgotten in a cleaning cupboard buried within the West Wing for much of the Reconstruction Era, but Alice Roosevelt Longworth eventually recovered the presidential platform—using it mostly as a place to rest presidential shuttlecocks, after spirited games of badminton in the lawn. JFK dived off of it in Nantucket.
Johnson towered over it and shouted that he was from Texas, and Nixon used it as a Watergate doorstop. Monica Lewinsky, quite probably, has crawled beneath it. It has heard Ronald Reagan tell it, "I know in my heart that each man is good"—his brain riddled with a secret pre-dementia. When Obama inaugurated himself into this country over Lincoln's bible, he put the presidential platform on his lectern and said unconscionably beautiful words about transcending the dark forces of hatred to find hope, and light, and peace.
I want that platform. But it's been broken or burned or hidden in some cupboard—nobody seems to be able to find it any longer.
My 2016 presidential run is a one-issue platform: appreciation.
Being here in New York City, at an incredible institution, is a gift and a privilege. It's a gift that I am guilty of forgetting. Some days, I find myself grumbling about the work load and the stress. Most days, I groan as an especially loud group of people passes by my room, waking me up from my sleep or disrupting my work flow. Daily annoyances pester us, diverting us from our more important pursuits and becoming the focal point of our days. So why don't we spend as much time on the small pleasures as we do on the minuscule complaints?
Imagine for a moment, dear citizens, if instead of grumbling over everything that went wrong, we devoted our waking energies to a positive perspective. If we replaced our internal negativities with a deep appreciation for all the ways this world is good to us, I daresay we would emerge better people, more willing to offer our best selves to the world.
Now, I do not mean blind allegiance to the state of the world. That would be foolish. Plenty in our lives deserves correction, indeed, plenty in this universe is unjust and unkind. But when something is good, or when someone is kind, we owe it to ourselves to acknowledge those kindnesses. We get so caught up in the Morningside bubble—the bubble of our own troubles—that we forget how lucky we are to be here, and how incredible it is to live here. We probably have the cheapest, nicest homes of anyone in Manhattan. We have Facilities to fix our every housing-related woe. We live in a safe area. Our mornings are greeted by smiling food service workers. They end with security guards waving us good night.
If you elect me as your president, we can learn, together, how to be a little more warmhearted to the world around us. Maybe, just maybe, the world will learn to be kind to us in return.
My 2016 presidential run is a one-issue platform: Abolish the reply all button.
Hear me out. Trivial, I know, when we're talking about global warming, "bomb[ing] the shit out of ISIS," and reimbursing ourselves with Iraqi oil. But think about it—if a presidential candidate is making a royal mess of all the big things anyway, hey, we might as well get the little practical things right.
The reply all button is useful, you might say. Admittedly, reply all can be pretty helpful if it's just you and two other people, maybe three. But when activities fair season rolls around each year and first-years have scribbled their UNIs on just about every club sign-up sheet they can get their eager hands on, you'll wish it didn't exist.
For student groups, sure, mass email chains are a way to get important messages across. But they're not some sort of long-form substitute for group chats, and besides, what club doesn't already have a GroupMe?
There are only so many "please unsubscribe me" emails you can read before your patience wears thin and that unread email count piles up to dangerous levels. And for people who obsessively clear their inboxes (read: me), it's anathema.
Each time I get one of these emails from people who definitely signed up but now sound personally offended by the fact that they're on the mailing list, I don't know what to think. I'm never sure if it's a spur-of-the-moment accident, or if people genuinely think spamming dozens of people will eventually get the Powers That Be frustrated enough to remove them. In either case, removing the reply all option—or at least prompting the sender before they start composing the email—could save us all some frustration.
Kara W. Schechtman
My 2016 presidential run is a one-issue platform: issue one of The Eye.
That is to say, my platform is either shameless self-promotion or puns. (Hint: It's the latter, by way of the former.) Since the dark days of eighth grade, when my teacher left a passive-aggressive comment on my paper (NO PUNS AS TITLES, all caps), the pun has been unjustly under siege. In fact, in the years since that fateful paper comment, the internetosphere has snowballed the hatred of puns into a veritable psychological phenomenon, apparently justifying the deluge of think pieces on how much puns suck that floods every internet magazine under the sun (or under the pun).
I thought it would get better in college. But I've faced only more hatred for my wordplay. By January of my first year, my friends had (jokingly, I hope) diagnosed me with Witzelsucht. At Spectator, my experience has been no better. My headline puns are, according to Eye staffers, "clever," but apparently "won't drive sufficient internet traffic." Actually, I don't know if I can trust Eye staffers anymore. My editor, Rébecca, tweeted an article about how awful puns are. My writers have rolled their eyes as I've termed the sections of the magazine after parts of the body ––vignettes called Blinks, a podcast called The Ear, scratch-and-sniff sticker sets called The Nose (admit it—a good idea, though a rejected one: a pungent one). By now, everyone's come to a state of blind acceptance, but I sense the cringe.
The Eye, and the world, needs to change, and I won't wait for it like some John Mayer wannabe. We're not voting for Mayer (mayor). We're voting for president. This has real stakes. Trump Steaks™. So vote for me. I'll make more dad jokes than your dad.
Vote for your presidential pick below!
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