The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Have we lost our minds?

 Have we lost our minds?
Have we lost our minds?

Have we lost our minds?

 

“This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.”

-C.S. Lewis

 

A quick glance at the local and national headlines the past week tells me that perhaps Americans have lost the ability to be rational. The things we protest these days wouldn’t even register in the minds of our citizens if they happened a few decades ago. We are way too sensitive to the comments of others.

First, examine the recent protest on our own campus. The protest was largely motivated by one student’s commentary in The Daily Campus. Do we have nothing better to do in our days than whine and complain because someone thinks differently than us? And that’s what the article Joel Sartain wrote was… an alternative viewpoint to the gay rights crowd. It wasn’t hate speech. It didn’t personally attack anyone or threaten anyone’s life. If we’re going to use this article as our new definition of hate speech, I have several past articles that would qualify.

Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. It is no longer important to actually attack someone’s article with facts. The choice of the protesters is to attack someone’s credibility. Credibility is much easier to attack, and it ensures that a mostly ignorant or apathetic campus population will never listen to the other side. Unsubstantiated labels like “hate speech” and “ignorance” are basically credibility attacks. Nothing more, nothing less.

If the protesters can’t win the credibility war, their other method of attack is censorship. There were no shortage of people calling for The Daily Campus to stop printing articles like Mr. Sartain’s. Once we start trying to define what is permissible to say, someone will always try to claim that one article or another is “ignorant” or “hate speech.” I once believed that we had freedom of speech. On the other hand, that right is only valid as long as the people enforce it.

I can’t help but scoff at the unsubstantiated insinuation that the person who wrote “faggot” on professor Henson’s door was a Bush supporter. Due process doesn’t seem to apply in the court of public opinion. Lack of witnesses? Unimportant. No real evidence? Irrelevant. After all, the facts might get in the way of a good story.

Perhaps my favorite part of any liberal protest is the inevitable calls for tolerance and open-mindedness. What’s good for the goose needs to be good for the gander though. I’ve never seen a more criticized group on our campus than white, male, Republican, Christian Texans. As someone who can identify with all of those labels – except perhaps Republican given the party’s poor recent performance – I am really tired of being labeled by people who do not know me. It’s no accident that I am now friends with many people I have debated in the past. All it took was a little open-mindedness. Those who are so easily ready to slap labels on me ought to be willing to get to know the people they apply the labels to. They might be surprised.

These same concepts apply to the recent immigration protests. How many people who protested in the streets actually knew what the House bill did? Professor Henson certainly didn’t understand it. He called it “anti-immigration.” I suppose that is the new definition of stricter border enforcement. A recent Daily Campus political cartoon implied that only white supremacists want to keep these illegal immigrants out. How backward are we when breaking our laws is noble and demanding enforcement of laws is considered tantamount to white supremacy?

The bill that passed the House has several key provisions, none of which are outrageous. First, it requires employers to verify the legal status of their workers. Second, it makes being in this country illegally a felony. Third, it beefs up border security, imposes tougher penalties for smuggling and ends the “catch and release” program that famously permitted the release of two illegal immigrants in Iowa even though they were captured with 95 pounds of cocaine in their possession. In order to qualify as “anti-immigration,” this bill would have to at least make the legal immigration process more difficult, but I have yet to hear of any provision that affects legal immigration.

To sum up the immigration debate, we have people who are not citizens rising up to protest any and every attempt to reestablish the rule of law in America. How sad.

It’s time we stopped debating one person’s views on flamboyancy and whether breaking our immigration laws is illegal. There are plenty of real issues to conquer.

Reed Hanson is a junior electrical engineering major. He can be reached at [email protected].

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