As I sat around trying to generate theme ideas for the last Magazine I would oversee at the News, I wracked my brains for a multi-faceted topic, a topic that could be explored both in the national realm and the local New Haven sphere, a topic intensely relevant in the fall of 2004 for Yale students of about 17-23 years of age. Well, there was no way I could ever find something that met all those criteria. So unfortunately, you’re just going to have to settle for a Magazine centered around politics.
It is always difficult to write any article about politics without expressing some partisan views — consciously or subconsciously. The contributors this month can be commended for their willingness to write about politics without taking a specific stance on the looming November 2nd contest, which comes along every four years with the sole mission of eliminating all other facets of the American political scene from the minds of citizens. The mere mention of “politics” currently conjures up the faces of George W. Bush and John Kerry, and the concept can therefore be nothing other than a divider, a force that declares you must be either blue or red, an indicator of which “side” you are on — the Right One or the Wrong One. If one glance at this month’s cover made you open the Magazine in hopes of reading yet another article about Vietnam or National Guard records or flip-flopping or verbal gaffs, you should probably turn on a cable news channel, because you won’t find that here.
What will you find? Kevin B. Alexander’s Whimsicology column reassures us that no matter how corrupt or insane politicians are today, they were perhaps more corrupt and insane a long time ago. Whether or not this is actually reassuring I leave to your discrimination. Ting Ting’s fashion column revolves around the numerous intersections between fashion and politics — and believe me, there is more to this issue than what color tie each presidential candidate decides to wear during the debates. If you’re so entrenched in Yale’s dominating political climate that you’ve forgotten what university students who do not pride themselves on being the epitome of intellectual Eastern liberal are like, Beth Dickinson’s column is a must-read. And Lucy Teitler’s account of Norman Mailer’s recent speech hones in on some of the vast and troubling political divides defining today’s world.
Rather than showcase a single cover story this month, several features explore different sides of the rather broad theme of politics. The presence on campus of a number of distinguished but undeniably opinionated faculty members often begs the question of whether our professors are attempting to generate young political clones through their syllabi and teaching methods, and Claire Stanford attempts to answer that question. An interview with Caroline Lopez and Nicholas Miranda probes the minds of truly committed student activists. And finally, Jessica Feinstein and Jennifer Sabin touch base with the presidents of DKE and the YPU — could we be hearing from them again around November 2023?
No matter what your personal views, the right to actively engage with the political scene — national and local — is something to be taken advantage of, not taken for granted. Judging from the disproportionately large percentage of Yalies participating in major political contests across America, that admittedly cliche message has been heard loud and clear by most graduates of the University. Let’s try not to be the generation that forgets it.