On October 20, I went to the showing of “American Factory” which was in the Academic category. I found this documentary extremely interesting and it was really eye-opening to how foreign ownership of “American” businesses can create problems. I have heard many stories in the news and through my own experience that have had the same themes that this movie touched on. I think that the story covered in this documentary really reflects a larger problem of labor and income inequality in our country. Actually, I have some first-hand observation experience of issues like this in my own community. Over the past few years, I have become very involved with the issue of homelessness in my hometown, Cleveland. I participated in a group where we went out every Sunday to go on the streets and meet homeless people and give them some basic necessities. One of the biggest reasons that I have heard for people becoming homeless is those who work in factories, much like the one in the movie, who have lost their jobs due to a closure. Factories like these are so vital to communities and can be central to the local economy. One part of the movie that I found extremely interesting was when the Chinese staff at the factory had to be taught some American customs. They talked about things like how Americans “Always say what they think” and “Don’t care that much about how we dress” which are things that I have never noticed, but I can see how someone not born here would think that. I really liked this documentary and I feel like it shows a very important issue from a human perspective that is not always reflected in traditional news media.
Last Tuesday, October 15th, I watched the Democratic Debate with some friends and I think it gave a lot of insight into international affairs in practice. I went into the debate being a pretty strong supporter of Senator Warren, however, she got challenged much more in this debate compared to the past ones. Specifically, she received a lot more speaking time which lead to many disagreements on policy between her and some of the other candidates who are to the right of her on some issues like healthcare and income inequality. One specific topic that caused a lot of debate was the single-payer healthcare system and how it would be better than our current model. I thought that this really showed how much there is to know on this issue and how important it is for us to try and understand it fully. This debate also had a pretty serious focus on the topic of foreign policy, specifically the points mentioned about how President Trump is currently handling the issue of the Kurds and how we have effectively abandoned them. I believe that this debate, more than the others, has shown a real variation between the candidates and how they stand on certain issues and I think that it is important for everyone, no matter their party, to watch and understand the debates because the issues they discuss will affect us all.
One event that I attended was a lecture called “Are Democracies Dying?”. It was held on Friday, September 13th in Thompson Library. The event was categorized as an Academic and I think I was able to learn so much new information from it. This lecture really impacted me in many ways. The lecturer, Dr. Steven Levitsky, mentioned that the Trump Administration has had the worst record of diplomatic outreach since the Nixon administration. Our current president has embraced autocratic leaders more than any other president and has in a sense neglected to promote democracy. However, despite this neglect, the number of true democracies in the world in the past 20 years has actually remained quite constant. In fact, the percentage of democracies has only gone down from 46% to 45%. Ever since the fall of the USSR, more developing countries have turned to democracy to rebuild, and democracy has been continuously promoted around the world. The main point of this lecture was that democracies are not currently dying, but we have to do our best to save them or things could go wrong in the future. This event impacted me a lot and made me think about democracy as an essiental value to our American perspective, and showed me how International Affairs could be essiental to the real world. I gained a new perspective on why I joined the IA group and what all of our actions could mean for the rest of the world.
The event that I attended was the Smith-Steeb Scholars cookout. It was a social event and was meant to build community within the IA scholars group and among the other scholars programs living in our dorm. I feel like through this event, I really learned a lot about the community that our scholars programs provide. It was very early in the school year, and since things were still very fresh at OSU it was really awesome to be able to connect to those who shared common academic interests with me and those who had completely different interests from me. I was able to meet so many of the IA people that I hadn’t met and a lot of the other scholars people as well. I think that this event actually did teach me a lot about international affairs in a weird way. While it doesn’t seem directly related, a lot of what we learn about in the IA scholars group is community building and bridging gaps that occur in our everyday lives. Also, part of the benefit of the IA scholars group is that we are such a diverse group of people who have varied interests and getting to talk to so many new people and learn their stories. I think I was able to grow a lot personally from this event by meeting so many new people and adjusting more to life at OSU.
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