Last week's paper was filled with evidence of partisan sentiments - polls, protests, letters to the editor and online posts, many of them making accusations about organizations' ulterior motives, Geneseo's political prejudices and limitations on the freedom of speech on campus.
I'd like to address some things said in letters to the editor in a way that doesn't vindicate the recent allegation that Geneseo is excessively hostile to conservative views. I want to commend the College Republicans for working alongside the College Democrats to send care packages to troops in a non-partisan, proactive way and thank them for considering the interests of the soldiers. I also think it shows integrity that they acknowledged the value of peace advocacy in political debate in their letter to the editor. It's great to hear that their organization promotes political awareness, respect and engagement in debate across the ideological spectrum. I think the presence of a mature and productive Republican organization on campus is critical to its political health.
That being said, there were also some less than meritorious claims in that letter. The College Republicans, a professedly pro-war organization, resorting to criticizing peace activists' use of bad language as a source of hate reeks a little of desperation. The f word has not caused the election of a nuclear fanatic in Iran, the development of legions of terrorist organizations in Iraq, the unprecedented volume of anti-American protest in the world or the tens of thousands of dead Iraq civilians. The war in Iraq did, and they know that. Furthermore I don't even believe profanity offends them. Their facebook group jokingly suggests changing the national emblem from an eagle to a condom because our policies "protect a bunch of dicks." They obviously see how productive vulgarity can be in advancing political aims. It's not the f word, it's the context. To address the war using profanity only begins to acknowledge the vulgarity of the actual war itself.
Instilling a sense of unpleasantness and turmoil in this country forces the public to experience a fraction of the ugliness of the consequences of our political decisions in Iraq. Our decisions have created a daily life full of atrocity for them. A healthy democratic public should be aware of that, as it aides the urgency of our need for remedy. It prides me that a body on the streets of Iraq produces a curse word on the streets of America, it says that the public feels morally bound to the reality of its decisions even when it's easier to forget them. It even legitimates the Republican theory that we're doing this for the benefit of the Iraqi people: they allegedly advocated this war to help them, don't the College Republicans think their continued anguish and death is worth the raising of a voice?
Their likening the use of curse words to the widespread chaos and rioting caused by the ant-war movement of the Vietnam era was equally excessive and inaccurate. I get the feeling that if people were behaving the way they were in the Vietnam era, the College Republicans' experience as supporters of the war would be notably more difficult. What's more is that telling people Iraq isn't Vietnam isn't going to make them go home. Nor will it contain protest to the certain time period it belongs to in their mind. This time period is also fraught with political enmity.
They're right, this isn't Vietnam, it's Iraq and people are pissed off. It's beginning to look like a stormy time for Republican ideals, and I agree with them: something should be done about it before the word Iraq is burdened with the same connotations as Vietnam.