Political And Nativist Rhetoric On Terrorism Clouds The Root Of The Terror Problem

Political And Nativist Rhetoric On Terrorism Clouds The Root Of The Terror Problem

How the NYC terror incident has revealed America's troubling lack of true efforts to prevent terrorism

Not even a day after Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City, politicians had moved on from their statements of “this is a terrible tragedy” to a politicization of the event.

On Twitter, Donald Trump used the attack as an excuse to further his immigration agenda, claiming that the visa lottery system that allowed Sayfullo Saipov to enter our country was to blame for this horrific act of terror, and should thus be eliminated.

He called for a system that vets potential immigrants based solely on merit, doing away with a bill that allows “diversity immigrants” from countries with very low immigration levels to the US to apply to be put into a lottery to receive Visas.

According to the New York Times, Trump is misinformed if he believes this particular bill, passed with support from Democrats and Republicans in 1990, is not merit-based because it requires applicants to have a degree or approved job. Saipov was considered to have the required “merit” to become an American citizen, and was vetted through all the proper channels.

Does this mean we need more stringent vetting processes? Are we letting too many people “slip through the cracks”?

That’s the argument that always emerges after these incidents when they are committed by an immigrant. But it ignores several crucial facts. First, Saipov was “apparently was radicalized after he came to the United States” according to the Washington Post. According to a widely reported assessment by the Department of Homeland Security, radicalization years after arriving to the United States is quite typical of immigrants who commit acts of terror.

So how are we supposed to vet people for terrorism before they have become terrorists? And what about all the American-born citizens who have committed terrorist acts? Should we all have to take mandatory personality tests every month to make sure we haven’t become terrorists?

Because the fact is, many terrorist acts (some have argued that it is the majority), are committed by home-grown Americans.

We already know that any policy by Trump to restrict immigration isn’t based on facts. Earlier this year, it was reported that immigrants from the countries included in his proposed travel ban had literally committed zero terrorist attacks on American soil. But it’s not just Trump.

We as a country have a tendency to revert to nativist ways of thinking when events like this happen. Unlike with school shooters and the like, we never ask questions like “what was the state of his mental health?” or “what was his childhood like?” We definitely don’t ask how the social and cultural norms in our country lead immigrants and native-born citizens alike to commit acts of terror.

What led Saipov to become so obsessed with videos of ISIS on the internet? Why did he become so disillusioned with the country he jumped through hoops to immigrate to seven years ago?

When we ask these questions, we are not excusing the act of terror, but attempting to understand the reasons one becomes a terrorist, beyond them being from a country in the Middle East. And if we look at the why, maybe we can figure out a solution to combating terrorism that doesn’t simply put a rhetorical and nationalistic band-aid on an extremely complex issue.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Our Leaders Need A 'Time-Out'

We all learned a few essential rules as children.


As I look watch the news, I can't help but wonder if the lessons we learned as children might not serve our leaders well. They seem to have forgotten these basic lessons. I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

Watch out, hold hands, and stick together.

I think this could be useful in a couple of different contexts. First, the current divisiveness in the country doesn't serve us well. We are first and foremost, a part of the family of humankind. Differences in politics, religion, and so on come in far behind that one important attribute. What happened to the notion of agreeing to disagree?

Second, when leaders get off a plane in another country, they should remember who they came with and who they represent - "watch out, hold hands, and stick together."

Clean up your own mess.

Trump seems to take great pleasure in blaming everyone else for their "mess." The government shutdown was someone else's fault – any Democrat. When the stock market went up, he happily took credit, but when it went down, he quickly shifted gears and placed the blame on the Federal Reserve Chairman. Daily and hourly tweets out of the White House place blame on someone else for his "mess." Sadly, he still likes to blame Obama and Hillary for his mess.

Don't lie.

Politicians have always had a bad reputation when it comes to honesty. Still, the number of lies that we hear from Trump (and members of his staff) is unprecedented even for a politician.

We all learned these lessons when we were little more than five years old. Now more than any time in history I think our leaders need a " time out" to re-learn these lessons.

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