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This article originally appeared on Public Seminar and has been republished here with their kind permission. David Kretz is a German-born Austrian and a BA 2016 alumnus. 

Heldenplatz, Vienna, Austria (Credit: Shawn Harquail | Flickr)

Heldenplatz, Vienna, Austria (Credit: Shawn Harquail | Flickr)

December 4, 2016, was a fateful day for Europe, and the world. The Italians held a referendum about constitutional amendments and their No vote brought down the government. Though any longer-term effects remain unknown, the financial and political chain reaction that some said had the potential to unravel the European Union did not manifest.

On the same day, Austrians also voted in the final round of their presidential election. There, center-left candidate Alexander Van der Bellen (Green Party) defeated far-right candidate Norbert Hofer (Austrian Freedom Party, FPÖ) 53.8% to 46.2%. Austria is a small country, but the outcome of this election has international significance for at least two reasons.

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This article originally appeared on Public Seminar and has been republished here with their kind permission.

View Through Torn Flag (Credit: Karen Axelrad, Flickr)

View Through Torn Flag (Credit: Karen Axelrad, Flickr)

America: we need to talk. And we are not going to like what we hear. But avoiding hearing what we don’t like to hear is what has brought us to a place where nearly the entire political and media establishment agree is a low point in the moral and intellectual character of American politics.

The conversation, it seems to me, we need most to have, and of which we seem least capable of having, is not so much about the election or its results, but rather about what makes it impossible for people who voted differently Tuesday, and all the people who didn’t vote at all (something like 45% of those eligible), to speak with one another about the election and its results.  We need to speak about our shame — and by “our” shame, I mean America’s shame. Not the shame that some of us cast upon others of us, and not the shame that some certain demographic ought to feel before the just and justified “elite” that is moral and intelligent enough to cast blame.

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'IN THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE, WHICH CANDIDATE SHOULD THE PEOPLE ELECT? THE BUSINESSMAN FROM THE EMPIRE STATE OR THE "INEVITABLE" CANDIDATE FROM THE LEFT?' (credit: trumporhilary.com)

‘IN THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE, WHICH CANDIDATE SHOULD THE PEOPLE ELECT? THE BUSINESSMAN FROM THE EMPIRE STATE OR THE “INEVITABLE” CANDIDATE FROM THE LEFT?’ (credit: trumporhilary.com)

As the 2016 US Presidential election slithers to a close, the world looks on with a mixture of fascination and horror. The race has been a long and arduous battle for all involved, and, with ten days to go before the majority of American voters cast their ballots, a consensus has emerged among the media experts forecasting the election. The majority believe that Hillary Clinton, Democratic nominee for president and heir apparent to incumbent president Barack Obama, will defeat the Republican nominee, television personality and businessman Donald Trump, on 8 November.

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Passing through, passing through.

Sometimes happy, sometimes blue,

glad that I ran into you.

Tell the people that you saw me

passing through.

–– D. Blakeslee, 1948.

 

One year ago I was finishing a blog article about the 2015 graduation. I had just come back from my time abroad and was glad about the chance to reflect a bit on travelling, on departures, on community and hospitality. Constant leaving and returning is built into the core of the BCB community. If, as a student, you spend your third year abroad, you will see the students of every other generation for only one year, and each year new people find their way to the college from all walks of life and some leave to follow different roads. It is in that sense a very dynamic community and I was wondering then, in my article, whether hospitality could perhaps be the name of the principle that connects us here, in this place where everyone is host and guest at the same time.

Recently I found a song which expresses some of those thoughts and feelings much better than I did then and then I can do now. Having just graduated, I would like to share it with you here by way of farewell.

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