Nation might need a ‘slap in the face’, citizens are obligated to stand up and raise voices

To the Daily:

Robert DeVore’s letter to the editor (Student opposition to U.S. government ‘a slap in the face’, 03/05/03) was based upon misguided thinking. DeVore claims that we are not justified in protesting the actions of the government since it has allowed us so many freedoms. It is wrong to say that citizens must earn their right to speak their mind.

The flaw of DeVore’s argument is that he assumes that the citizens of a country are obligated to serve their government. This is not the case. The existence of government is based upon the consent of the governed. For this reason, it is important to voice your opinions so that the government knows how to best serve its people. If the government is not acting in its own citizens’ best interests, it is the responsibility of the people to demand change. Maybe a “slap in the face” is just what our government needs.

Adam White

LSA freshman

Citizens don’t earn rights, they are born with them

To the Daily:

A s a fellow veteran of this country’s armed forces (commissioned December 1996, Army) and an alumnus of this fine University (BSE 96, Aero), I believe I have, in Robert DeVore’s terms, “moral justification” in responding to his argument (Student opposition to U.S. government ‘a slap in the face’, 03/05/03).

DeVore makes it clear his belief that one should have to earn the right, as he did, to speak out against the government and it’s actions. To do so without earning that right is a slap in the face to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

I have two issues with his position. As far as having to earn your rights, I have to admit, that I side with Thomas Jefferson on this issue. It was Jefferson’s belief that we are all born with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While he was of the mind that one must have to fight for those rights from time to time, he made no such mention of a “litmus test” wherby citizens were granted certain rights only if they met certain criteria. (I know. I know. At the time those rights didn’t really apply to non-land-owners, negro slaves nor women, but that is another discussion).

As for his argument that the protesters have no moral justification for making their stand because of lack of service, I find that to be a slap in the face as well. Were citizens of this coutry to stop speaking out against actions they disagree with out of deference to the government, as DeVore would have them do, then the sacrifices of those that died in battle would truly have been in vain. It was always my belief that it was that very freedom they died to protect.

In the current chapter of our nation’s history, where we have been told explicitly to “watch what we say, and watch what we do,” I tend to admire these protesters. No, nobody is shooting at them and it doesn’t look like they are making many sacrifices right now, but a govenment without a “loyal opposition” will slowly but surely descend into tyranny. I know the founding fathers felt this way.

Marty McLaughlin

Alumnus

Intelligent, two-sided debate needed to educate students on real issues concerning Iraq

To the Daily:

While I’m glad to see that there seems to be some attempt at education in “Books not Bombs: Nationwide Student Strike Against the War,” I have suspicion that the panels and lectures are going to be completely one-sided. The possibility of war in Iraq is not a simple matter, despite what many protests have you believe.

There are very good arguments against going to war, but there are also very good arguments for going to war. From what I have seen, most protests or demonstrations by either side have made no attempt to help people make intelligent decisions about a war with Iraq. In an issue as important and complex as this, unbiased education is needed, not partisan rhetoric. Because of this, I do not feel that it is justified to skip classes, which are much better equipped to lead an unbiased debate, than to attend protest that will probably not enlighten me at all.

However, if an intelligent two-sided debate were provided, that would be something that would be worth attending for everyone.

Daniel Baxter

LSA senior

SAFE guest lecturer is insult to Holocaust remembrances

To the Daily:

Next week signals the return of Hillel’s annual Conference on the Holocaust. With several events planned around the education and history of the slaughter of millions of Jews, gays, blacks and other minorities, the Students Allied for Freedom and Equality have chosen to tarnish their already stained name by sponsoring a lecture given by Norman Finkelstein during this month. Finkelstein, a Jew born of two Holocaust survivors, will not talk about the suffering of those who perished. Nor will he discuss the tragedy of one of the most harmful and blatant genocides our world has seen. Instead, however, Finkelstein will focus on the subject of his book, The Holocaust Industry, which shamefully mitigates the Holocaust by suggesting that Jews overexpose the Holocaust as means of justification to repress Palestinians. “It is no coincidence that Jews invented the word ‘chutzpah’,” Finkelstein has said.

Additionally, Finkelstein has on numerous occasion not hesitated to call Elie Wiesel, a prominent professor, author and survivor of the Holocaust, “the head of the Holocaust circus,” simply because Wiesel charges a speaker’s fee to lecture at other universities. “Wiesel not only gives Jews a bad name, but sheisters as well,” Finkelstein said in a lecture given in Toronto. Is teaching the Holocaust now considered a crime? Must we remove it from history textbooks, so that it may occur again? I would gladly pay any fee to a survivor to relay their experiences of suffering during the Holocaust. I haven’t the faintest clue what SAFE intends on accomplishing by bringing in this disrespectful bigot, especially at such an insensitive time. I don’t think that anyone will argue that Palestinians suffer under their current conditions; there are several explanations and theories as to how to rectify the situation. Blasphemizing the exposure, even overexposure of the Holocaust is certainly not one of them.

Finkelstein should be lambasted for the same crime he speaks out against: making money on the Holocaust. The shameful timing of this event should not be forgiven.

Brad Sugar

LSA sophomore

The letter writer is an MSA representative and Orthodox Minyan co-chair.

Dispite his flaws, Bush is carrying out duties of job well

To the Daily:

Every week I read Joseph Litman’s articles and can’t help but laugh at the conclusions he reaches about our president. It seems to me that Litman cannot argue against George W. Bush’s actions, and therefore mocks his character instead, thinking that if there is something wrong with the character, there must be something wrong with the actions.

Over the last year and a half, the president has gone to great lengths to do his job well. As commander in chief he has taken extensive measures to protect his people. As chief legislator, he had pursued a huge tax cut to boost the economy, as chief executive he has arrested numerous threats to national security and as chief of state and commander in chief he is trying to take whatever measures necessary to make sure terrorist organizations do not get their hands on weapons of mass annihilation. Additionally, as a leader he has surrounded himself with excellent personnel; one of the smartest moves a leader can make. It seems to me that Bush, although not the best public speaker and not the best student, is a pretty smart guy after all.

Litman believes that inherently a flaw with character leads to a flaw with decisions. Yet Litman for some reason doesn’t try to argue against the decisions and instead tries desperately to give people a less favorable opinion of the president using childish slander. Now who sounds like a 10-year-old?

Slava Goldstein

LSA junior

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