As the academic year draws to a close, I would like to take the opportunity to wish a fond farewell to Princeton’s seniors. Having had the chance to get to know many members of the Class of 2011, I can say for certain that their presence will be missed come September.
At the same time, many of Princeton’s newly minted alumni might find themselves wishing that they were returning to campus at the end of the summer. The harsh reality of the job market contrasts sharply with the comfortable life of a Princeton student.
I have complete conviction that the members of the Class of 2011 with eventually find satisfying, fulfilling careers. Endowed with a Princeton education and a Princeton work ethic, they are prepared to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing global economy.
But while I have no doubt that Princeton graduates possess the skills required to succeed, we all are still vulnerable to forces beyond our control. The U.S. economy, while still the largest in the world by far, has experienced a debilitating recession followed by a sluggish recovery. America’s long-term fiscal health is imperiled by our soaring national debt, while burdensome taxes and regulations curtail our prosperity. Since our economic strength is the source of our military might, impediments to growth also threaten to undermine our international leadership. These problems affect every citizen– no one, not even Princeton graduates, is immune.
It is the duty of politicians to propose the bold reforms that will be required to turn this country around, and fortunately there are some, like Representative Paul Ryan, who have risen to that monumental task. Journalists, too, have an important part to play. Our role is to highlight the challenges we face as a nation, to evaluate the solutions offered by our elected officials, and, if we find them lacking, to formulate our own plans.
This is precisely what our authors seek to do in this issue of the Tory. First, we discuss President Obama’s leadership from two different perspectives. In an interview conducted by Aaron Smargon, Professor Cornel West conveys his disappointment with the Obama administration, echoing the sentiments of many liberals who enthusiastically supported Obama in 2008 but have been underwhelmed by his administration. Colleen McCullough ponders what we can learn about Obama’s theory of war by examining his approach to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. We also take a look at one of Obama’s major detractors, the Tea Party movement. Andrew Stella discusses the Tea Party’s objectives, and asks why the movement hasn’t found greater support among Princeton students.
Here at Princeton, as in the nation at large, we also face uncertain prospects for the coming years. With Nancy Malkiel stepping down as Dean of the College at the conclusion of the current academic year, and President Tilghman due to retire in June of 2013, Nassau Hall is going through a major shakeup. It is too early to predict what kind of agenda will be pursued by Malkiel’s successor, Valerie Smith, or who might be selected to replace Tilghman. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to suspect that a change in the administration could lead to the revision of a number of Princeton policies, for better or for worse.
In this issue of the Tory, our writers focus on two particular issues that Princeton is likely to encounter in the coming years, and offer their own suggestions for what course of action current and future administrations might follow. Andrew Blumenfeld and Brad Stanger debate the merits of student agencies, which hold monopolies on student-run enterprises conducting business on campus. George Maliha comments on the decision of the Princeton Borough Police to change its policy on responding to alcohol-related incidents at the eating clubs.
Whether on a national or a local scale, I believe that the Tory fulfills its journalistic mission of elucidating problems and prescribing remedies. From Washington, DC, to Nassau Hall, those in power must likewise meet their obligation to address these issues in accordance with the best interests of their constituents, so that we may face the uncertainties of the future not with apprehension, but with confidence.
Sam Norton ‘12