Do you remember how the campus felt during the first few weeks of last year? In the aftermath of the trustees’ decision on fraternities, the contentious presidential elections and in the midst of all that tension with Amherst’s administrators? It made me think senior year was going to be an absolute crawl, through two semesters of perpetual angst with a collapse — no, an escape — at graduation. I was wrong. I was wrong not because of some sudden turnaround of the decision on fraternities, a somehow remodeled senate or a radical new administrative attitude.

Let me put this question to you, Amherst: did you come to the College to buy an education or to collectively build one? I believe that this captures much of what is wrong at Amherst, of the disease that is driving the tension between the administration, Board of Trustees and students. This disease, this misunderstanding of what it is that we are fundamentally doing at the college, is pulling us further down year by year.

The Arizona Republican debate a few weeks ago illustrated some interesting things. Certainly much of the usual sparring ensued, but there was something Rick Santorum said which could potentially have a massive impact on the GOP and presidential race. Though he may not realize this, he finally got the Conservative message right.

Leaders face numerous challenges. One challenge that seems to escape the glamour of recognition, however, is the challenge of giving up one’s own leadership. This is one of the toughest challenges any leader can face, and it is the final struggle. After he has battled all the external forces that prevent him from achieving his goal, this leader realizes that he himself is an obstacle to progress.

Progress in the United States (or more specifically, progress in Congress) seems nearly impossible when we look at the deadlock that has plagued Obama’s presidency. The underlying fear is that President Obama, if re-elected, will be unable to unite the country and get anything done. The time for unity in this saga, however, is long gone.

America is at crossroads, and the outcome of this election will be crucial.

Healthcare was a bad idea. Does this sound ludicrous and insane? Well … it is. After all, this country did need some form of health legislation. I’ll be specific: the bad idea was to present universal healthcare legislation to Congress in the midst of the worst recession in the U.S. in decades. It is often said that presidents are able to get the most done immediately after they’ve been elected. Universal healthcare is something Democrats have repeatedly championed. The president was looking to pass a bill Democrats hadn’t had the opportunity to pass for some time.

What if John McCain had won the last presidential election? An infrequently considered point is not so much what this would have meant for the United States, but rather what it would have meant for the world at large. What would the people of the world have thought about the new Commander-in-Chief, and how would they have reacted?