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

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Vietnam/Iraq rebuttal

OP/ED
 Vietnam/Iraq rebuttal
Vietnam/Iraq rebuttal

Vietnam/Iraq rebuttal

Yesterday, The Daily Campus published a commentary byChristine Dao, a senior journalism major at SMU. In her commentary,she discussed the Oct. 26 debate between the SMU Democrats and theSMU Republicans in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, citing one ofthe Democrats as having mentioned Lyndon B. Johnson and the Vietnamconflict.

However, what she wrote was unequivocally misleading, creatingthe impression that the person who mentioned Vietnam was making acomparison between the Iraqi War and the Vietnam War. Let me makesomething clear: the Democrat who mentioned the conflict was me,and under no circumstances did I compare Vietnam to Iraq. She laterclaims that she did not take my statements out of context and thatshe was only recalling a memory, but frankly, that’suntrue.

But, I don’t want to drag her over the coals with reams ofindictments and insults; I’ll let you judge for yourself whathappened by providing you with what I actually said during thedebate.

“Not only were we misled into war, but we now findourselves in the midst of a budgetary crisis as we finance this Waron Terror. This has been one of the most fiscally irresponsiblepresidents of our time, spending taxpayer dollars without anyregard to the deficit or the growing national debt. If the currenttrend continues, by 2014 we will have a projected $9.7 trilliondollar deficit, coupled with an interest payment of $482 billiondollars a year; and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the INTERESTALONE.

Some Republicans might argue that we have had to spend morebecause of the War on Terror and a multitude of other nationalsecurity issues, but let me tell you, Lyndon Baines Johnson wouldhave something to say about that. Not only did he have to financethe Vietnam War, which was more costly both financially andmilitarily, but he also had to finance his Great Society programs.But you know what he did? He balanced the budget. There is noreason why our president can’t do the same, and he has chosennot to…”

The majority of her commentary was filled with personalaccounts, but toward the end of her article, she quotes her motheragain: “It bothers me that they compare Iraq toVietnam.” She followed that comment with her personalopinion, stating, “It bothered me, too.” What exactlybothered you?

Could it be the fact that you jumped to conclusions and insteadof contacting me, or any other SMU Democrat and published acommentary that took things out of context?

Every person on this campus is entitled to hear precisely whatwas stated during the debate, without having to worry that thearticle they are reading has incorrectly referenced statements andother inaccuracies that detract from the issues at hand. In fact,this type of spin is exactly what Comedy Central’s JonStewart was talking about during a recent showing of CNN’sCrossfire.

Stewart accused both the conservative pundit Tucker Carlson andhis liberal counterpart Paul Begala of hurting America by failingto scrutinize public policy and holding our politiciansaccountable. Stewart believes the program serves only the interestsof the politicians by providing a format of entertainment, asopposed to a legitimate ground for discussion. Rather thanestablish civilized discourse that seeks to evaluate the issues andprovide the best solution for society, the concern is merely tolook good and win every argument. What results from this particularstrategy?

It’s a lack of accuracy mainly, as pundits take quotes outof context and create false impressions about candidates and theircore values. This is a rather unfortunate reality, but simplybecause we see it on our television screens does not mean we arerequired to replicate it in our newspapers and other forms ofmedia.

We should be a part of the movement to bring back legitimatedebate in this entertainment-based industry, not perpetuate it.But, of course, this is not enough to stop many people. As you canclearly see with Dao, it was not my argument that was important,but rather, simply having something to say.

 

Chris Purcell is a first year political science major and thevice-president of SMU Democrats. He may be contacted [email protected].

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