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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal Wiertella March 1, 2024

“Us or them” culture

The time following the election has been surreal for me. Up until now, I’ve always enjoyed and expected a certain amount of certainty in my life. But these last few months have shown me that nothing is set in stone and if it could happen, it eventually will.

My dad instilled me with a love of music. Growing up, father Drew was constantly sharing his favorite songs from his youth and explaining what it was like growing up in “the old days.”

One song that has always struck me was “Ohio” written by Neil Young and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The song was written as a reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, where four students who were protesting the Cambodia campaign, a series of military operations conducted in eastern Cambodia announced by President Nixon, were shot and killed by national guards who were trying to ease the chaos.

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I’d hear the story of the Kent State shootings every now and then from my dad and it always seemed so alien to me. How violent, how sad. A protest or an assembly of anything like that was always something I heard about in history classes or from my parents but never actually saw or experienced.

My dad sometimes explained it as an “us or them” kind of feeling that I never quite understood until the last few months.

The division in the American people is very palpable these days. Families refusing to speak to each other, lines being drawn between friends and frustration and grief flooding the airwaves. More and more often I see people daring their friends to unfollow them if they don’t appreciate their opinion.

With more protests organized by students and young Americans, I can’t help but wonder if we are on the verge of an era where an “us or them” mentality permeates the culture. But with this new paradigm, more of America’s youth will vocalize their concerns.

As the days go by and more executive orders roll out, it seems the critics of Trump grow more and more upset and many college students vocalize their outrage. My world grows uncertain, as do the lives of many across the country. Everything is up in the air and my thoughts are built on a thin foundation of frustration.

As terrible as the feeling is, I’ve found one cannot ignore what your gut says. I’ve been operating under the understanding that your feelings are always valid and that freedom of speech is a necessary thing to exercise.

Although I fear for the future at times, it’s imperative to not lose hope and to trudge into the unknown with an a thunderous yet gentle voice.

Another gem from the past father Drew passed along to me was a folk singer Phil Ochs. Throughout his life, Ochs wrote dozens of protest songs criticizing U.S. involvement in Vietnam. I’ve been a longtime admirer of Ochs not only for his musical talent but for his dedication to righting wrongs however he could.

When things seem hopeless and the lies and the truth become harder to distinguish, I remind myself of the words of Och: “Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make the attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion, that’s art, that’s life.”

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