Recent letters create division, not discussion

To the editor:

I am writing in response to both Lily Betjeman's and the College Republicans' letter to the editor in the March 29 issue of The Lamron.

I see a dangerous trend emerging in campus dialogue playing out on the pages of The Lamron. In an issue where the Village-wide peace vigil made the front page, it seems to me that The Lamron made a conscious effort to include the letters to the editor as the so-called conservative voice on the issues on campus.

My problem with the editors of The Lamron and to the College Republicans is that a peace vigil is automatically seen as a liberal practice and idea. What people do with that notion - in The Lamron's case to provide counter-arguments, and in the College Republicans case to dismiss a whole group of people based on political label - is stifling to campus-wide dialogue.

Repeatedly in their letter and in the title of the letter the College Republicans dismissively tie the label of liberal to the actions of students protesting against the war. Furthermore, Lily Betjeman's whole letter hinges on the notion of there being a monolithic war on conservative ideas in Geneseo's college campus.

One of the main objectives of Students for a Peaceable Solution in Iraq is to get an open dialogue going on campus about world events, one I would hope wouldn't be limited to partisan name-calling. Lily Betjeman's issues with partisan closed-mindedness is a real one, but one she contributes to when she reduces the dialogue to an us vs. them, conservative vs. liberal standoff. The Lamron, too, participates in such easy dualism.

How shocking is it that I, a so-called liberal, agree with some of the arguments put forth by a self-proclaimed conservative? In my experience a simple conversation with someone of opposing views can create a space for respect and understanding.

When Geneseo Free Speech Movement's banner was burned it was as much of an attack on "liberals" on this campus as a teacher throwing around curse words directed at republicans is an attack on "conservatives."

Why does a teacher feel she needs to throw around such curse words? Why do the College Republicans feel it is okay to throw around the word "liberal" so disparagingly? Why is it that people who have strong, loud opinions on the war, the economy and human rights are the minority on this campus and not the majority? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves if we are to really have an honest open politically active campus.

-Jordan Raymond