Should We Protest?

Seeing that the role of athletes in the political scene has been thoroughly discussed on this site, I want to turn our attention to a different, but equally if not more thought-provoking issue that was raised in lecture. This is regarding the role of academia in politics. Now, whether the faculty members of an educational institution should remain politically unbiased is one debate, and one which I will not discuss in this post having no personal insight in it, but another that I will discuss is whether their students should engage in politics.

Student activists have been famous – or infamous, depending on who’s talking – for organizing energetic protests aimed at the many grievances and worries students may have. This covers a wide range of issues.  We don’t have to look far, even in our own university, students protest whenever they feel it’s necessary. Some have been motivated by issues other than politics, like the recent rally that called for the firing of our Athletics Director. The kinds of protests I want to turn our attention to, however, are those which are politically motivated. Examples within the U of M are, among many others, the 1970s civil rights movements led by African-American students,  and the more recent protests that called for more affirmative action in university enrollment (I’m unsure whether the latter would actually be classified as political or not in the American context, in Malaysia it most definitely would be).

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Elections Schmelections

John Locke talked a lot about ‘the majority’. One of the key principles highlighted in his social contract was the consent of the majority, that in forming a political community, the will of the majority basically matters most. Certainly I would hate to trample on the distinct nuances that a foreigner who only recently followed American politics would surely overlook, but I believe that the concepts highlighted by John Locke, which are also key concepts in forming the American political system, are to some extent dampened by low turnouts in the recent midterms.

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Machiavellian Mahathirism

Mahathir Mohamed is the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia and arguably the most powerful man in Malaysian political history. To this day his political clout in decision-making is felt in day-to-day politics even after stepping down from the prime ministerial post 11 years ago. I will attempt to draw specific levels of analysis in proving that this man was in practice a Machiavellian politician, while trying to be impartial in whether or not such an approach in a developing democracy was a good or bad thing. Prior to attempting this, however, I will present one qualification: that I, and the limitations 1000 words impose on me, will be unable to address and sometimes ignore significant nuances and events of the time. But having said that, I will attempt my best to present a fair picture of the incredibly powerful and shrewd politician who was also the world’s longest serving Prime Minister.

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Mahathir Mohamad (left) having a conversation with his deputy, Abdullah.

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Trollope’s Eighth Chapter: On Soccer

Though what comes to immediate attention when considering an “American sport” may be more typically assumed American pastimes such as football and basketball, soccer is just as deserving of analytical reflection as an American sport in my mind. To assess that it is the most American sport would be both foolish and untrue of a sport that has hitherto failed to derail the  domination of baseball, basketball, and American football.  Read More