Tomorrow morning, the city of Ann Arbor will bear witness to a peace march sponsored by the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace. The march will wind through downtown’s streets and finish at the Diag for a final rally. The peace march is an excellent opportunity for students opposed to a war to learn about and participate in the anti-war movement. The rallies can also serve as an opportunity for students who are undecided about this issue to hear the anti-war perspective.
The University has always been a welcome home to political activism; in many ways, it is a leading beacon, lighting the way for other schools. And although there is strong anti-war sentiment throughout much of the student body, more action could be taken to display students’ opinions to the outside world. There have been occasional speakers and gatherings, and several student groups have already held protests in opposition of the war in Iraq, but many more students who oppose the war have remained silent on this issue.
It is also important that students who support a war with Iraq hold rallies and participate in debates so that other students can hear numerous opinions on this pressing issue. Many University students are in favor of attacking Iraq, and they should not remain silent as the anti-war movement marches on campus.
Students of all points of view should participate in a rigorous debate on the issue of war in Iraq as it is extremely relevant to the student body. While both sides have a number of followers, many students remain undecided. An active campus debate would help students form their own opinions.
It is unfortunate that until this point, much of the debate on this issue has taken place in Washington and on the network and cable political programs. For any movement to be cohesive and to have a true impact, it is important that it be organized at the grassroots level where protesters and activists can best influence individual minds and affect public opinion. In addition, debate at this level helps those still undecided about the war to form an opinion.
The AAACP, for example, has had a significant effect on local politics. The AAACP has previously sponsored several pro-peace events and is constantly working to find a peaceful alternative to the ‘war on terrorism.’ They were a major force in convincing the Ann Arbor City Council to pass an anti-war resolution. Several AAACP speakers successfully appealed on behalf of the resolution that made Ann Arbor the 26th city in the nation to formally announce opposition to the war.
A war in Iraq will likely define President Bush’s tenure in office; it also has the potential to become a defining issue for this generation. As the war approaches, it is important that the country debates this issue so that the American people can make an informed decision on the United States’ involvement in Iraq.