On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump hijacked America’s political culture and transfixed its staid media institutions with a single escalator ride to the lobby of his eponymous skyscraper.
Three days earlier, and with considerably less fanfare, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that allowed students to carry concealed weapons on the state’s public college campuses.
Those two events — and the outpourings of fervent support and opposition they inspired at the federal and state level — laid the foundation for the stormy political climate that has descended on Austin this month, equal parts nebulous and energized in the wake of President Trump’s inauguration and the beginning of Texas’ 85th legislative session.
Against this backdrop, we’re excited to kickstart The Daily Texan Forum page next week, where we’ll continue to facilitate conversations among the Austin community on local and national affairs. In the meantime, we’re running the largest number of tryout pieces from aspiring columnists in our history — period. Whether you’re an experienced writer, have strong convictions, or just enjoy the occasional Twitter fight, we encourage you to join us and make your voice heard.
After the end of the tryout period, we’ll turn our eye towards the State Capitol, where lawmakers and activists are preparing for contentious debates on national touchstones like transgender rights and immigration reform. We’ll also incorporate coverage of UT’s Student Government in advance of March’s elections, highlighting both its successful initiatives and the steps it can take to improve. And as the dramatic upheaval of Washington DC continues to unfold, we’ll curate a diverse array of perspectives on what changes we can expect on the Forty Acres.
We cannot bridge the divides that have emerged over these past 18 months without conversations grounded in mutual respect and understanding. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in joining in. Once again, we look forward to hearing from you!
Shenhar is a Plan II, economics, and government senior from Westport, Connecticut. Vernon is a rhetoric and writing sophomore from The Woodlands.