Eric Best


New faces come to opinions page

“An institution that should always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.”

Double the graduation speeches

Unlike most  graduating seniors, I had the chance of both walking at my own commencement ceremony and seeing my twin brother shake a dean’s hand and receive his own degree holder. I got to see two commencement speeches, which means twice the age-old wisdom — and twice the age-old quotes. As the University of Minnesota’s next class of freshman students begin making their way to orientation next month, I’d like to try to pass along any knowledge I can from my double dose of graduation.

Don’t hastily label Daley’s sexuality

British Olympian-turned-celebrity Tom Daley revealed he is in a same-sex relationship in a video on his YouTube channel Monday. While the media’s reaction was largely positive, some media outlets and viewers incorrectly assumed Daley was gay. In the video, titled “Tom Daley: Something I want to say...,” Daley said he wanted to set the record straight after a national newspaper misquoted him regarding his sexuality.

Cycling activism

Putting on a helmet and riding a bike through Minneapolis may seem like an apolitical way to move around, but biking is challenging the hold that motorized traffic has on urban spaces. I’ve biked in the Twin Cities for a few years now. The more I get into riding, the more I’m realizing biking is a rejection of a lot of the norms we face each day, from nature to civic order. The aesthetic of whizzing through Minneapolis on a bike is one part spiritual and one part ego.

‘Too soon’ is too much

As soon as any tragedy or media uproar is referenced in the media, the natural reaction has come to be “too soon.” The trope is new, with online dictionaries and websites like Urban Dictionary creating their first “too soon” entries in 2006. “Too soon” is even a popular theme for parties now. Perhaps the phrase has been made famous because we’re getting our news faster, and national dialogue happens at the blink of an eye — regardless, “too soon” is a problem for communicators.

A promise to keep

The U.S. Senate rejected a United Nations treaty aimed at banning discrimination against individuals with disabilities Tuesday, falling just five votes short of the two-thirds needed in a 61-38 vote for ratification. The treaty in question, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, is a human rights treaty. It found its genesis in President  George W. Bush’s administration in 2006. Since then, the treaty has been ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Saudi Arabia. President Barack Obama signed the treaty in 2009.

A quarter life crisis

Today is the day. Today, I turn 21. While most collegians rejoice on such a day, as drinking becomes incrementally easier — and more expensive — my mind is focusing on something else: life and death. I’ve hit a time in my life where I look to my younger peers and feel “old.” I have a significant trail of memories and experiences strewn about as I hit this monumental figure in American culture. I’m far from the great thereafter, yet I feel like I’ve just jumped over one of life’s hurdles.

A one-term presidency

As you read the title of this column, you may think I’m going to set off on a tirade about why President Barack Obama shouldn’t have been re-elected. Rather, my goals are set higher; I want to discuss why our nation’s two-term limit for our highest office is degrading our political system.

An ‘undue hardship’

In 1976 the government revised bankruptcy laws based on the Education Amendments to exclude student loans from the types of dischargeable debt. The initial law was put in place largely because of rumors of doctors and lawyers taking advantage of the law to get rid of large-scale student debt right after college. While student debt rose  to over one trillion nationally, these laws now affect nearly all student loans.

Transgender in the prison system

A few weeks ago, Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a Minnesota college student, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for second-degree manslaughter. McDonald is a 23-year-old African-American transgender woman. Though McDonald identifies as a female, her sentence entailed living in a male prison. Disregarding whether or not McDonald was rightfully convicted, the case brings up vital questions we need to ask ourselves, mainly: How does a community of people who do not fit within a binary gender prison system receive proper punishment fairly under the law?