Representing the 7th District of New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Tom Malinowski joined Blair on Monday, May 8 to speak with students about his career and work in human rights while offering his perspective on the current state of international affairs.
Filling nearly every seat in the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration (CECIC) students listened attentively to Rep. Malinowski’s talk, which rounded out the 2021-2022 Skeptics season.
To view his presentation, click here:
“By way of introduction, there’s a part of my background that I wanted to share with you all,” started Rep. Malinowski, who went on to divulge that his great-great grandfather was 19th-century railroad mogul John Insley Blair, who founded Blair Academy in 1848.
Moving on from the uncanny bit of history, Rep. Malinowski proceeded to explain the main reason for his attendance: To share his belief that people, especially citizens of the United States, needed to demand the truth, especially in politics.
“We’re a very divided country right now, as I’m sure you noticed. We’re not the only country that is divided or polarized on political issues, issues that people are passionate about,” he said.
“There’s never one cause for a problem, but one of the causes [of our nation’s dividedness], I think, has to do with the significant change in technology that has happened in the world in the last 10 or 20 years,” said Rep. Malinowski before pointing to how the digital era affects the trustworthiness of the news.
In the past, he said, “Anchors were widely trusted in our country and tried to answer the question, ‘What’s important and what’s true?’ and there were still Democrats and Republicans then as there are now, but they would argue over the facts. Having that common understanding of the truth was a unifying force in the country.”
Delineating the history of America’s relationship with the news paved the way for Rep. Malinowski to then focus on his change-yielding actions while sitting in the House Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Homeland Security committees. He recently co-signed legislation, including bill H.R.5665, which aims at combating the International Islamophobia Act and also bill H.R.3755, which establishes the option for states to waive certain federal health-insurance requirements and provide residents with health-insurance benefits plans through a state-administered program.
After discussing politics and his political background, Rep. Malinowski opened the floor to answer questions, making sure that he took the time to respond to each student just as he would for each one of his constituents.
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937.
Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.