Not all dissenting opinion is from communist traitors

I love getting hate mail. The best part of my (pathetic) week is flipping to the letters section of The Signal to see if I’ve pissed anybody off. If so, I know that I’ve been doing my job.

Of all the things I’ve encountered at college, the apathy of students is the most frustrating. The malaise affecting college students – that too much work/too little sleep/partied too hard to care about anything attitude – makes me want to scream.

Sometimes it seems as if the majority of the College is doomed to easily make the transition into Middle America: a black hole of cultural and intellectual discourse, and a group of people too moderate to have a real opinion on anything.

So, when an angry letter comes back to the newspaper, I can take some solace in the fact that somebody has an opinion on something.

I hold no delusions of grandeur that my writing will make the student body rush to join the Socialist Party or denounce capitalism and become anarchists. However, my main goal in writing this time-consuming column each week is to influence students to examine their own beliefs and societal influences.

As young people, we are bombarded from all sides by forces attempting to mold us: our parents, friends, the government, religion, schools, the media and the list goes on. Each force has its own agenda. To hold an intelligent and well-thought-out opinion, we must examine and question these sources of information and the motives behind them.

For starters, you should be questioning my writing.

However, many of the letters printed in The Signal stink of reactionary thought and blind jingoism. My point in writing this rambling piece is to eliminate some of this garbage and encourage intelligent debate. Calling me names, like communist traitor, is not a valid argument. Just a simple concept we all learned in rhetoric class freshman year.

I’ve been noticing that as a war looms closer and closer, a greater number of people have begun to “rally ’round the flag.” Unfortunately, this mindset hearkens back to stains on American justice.

For example, Rep. Howard Coble from North Carolina likened the situation of “Arab-Americans” to the WWII era situation of Japanese-Americans. He then defended the internment of Japanese-Americans (keyword being Americans), implying that this would be an acceptable solution to the “problem” of Arab-Americans and terrorism in this country.

Therefore, I urge everyone to see past this nationalist attitude when formulating opinions regarding current situations. Of the societal forces I previously mentioned, the government has been one of the most powerful influences on public opinion as of late. Unfortunately, there are a multitude of ulterior motives that first must be considered.

It is easy to simply submit to this popular tide of patriotism. What is harder to do is question the decisions of the people elected to speak for us.

Whether or not a representative democracy is the most desirable form of government is a subject for debate; however, most people do acknowledge that this system, as in any system of government, inherently has flaws. Why then, if it is generally agreed upon that our system has flaws, questioning the motives of our leaders is branded by many as un-American?

If you still disagree with me after sifting through the rhetoric, both on the right, the left and the government, as well as after examining all the influences in your life, I look forward to hearing from you in the pages of The Signal.

Only through careful consideration and impartial research can we participate in thoughtful discourse.