In publishing two similar letters (“Protest this” Jan. 25 and “Crude protest” Jan. 29) accusing inaugural protestors of being anti-veteran, attention-deprived, shameful and unappreciative of freedom, The Hatchet seems to be endorsing a position through the principle of repetition.
While both Hammond and Kay seem intent on contextualizing the Bush-Cheney protest as happening specifically at a veteran’s ceremony, it would be equally accurate to contextualize the executives’ appearance as a pre-inaugural public relations ceremony at the end of a campaign quite widely viewed as the least democratic election in decades, resolved by a conservative judicial activism bordering on the extremely partisan. The authors’ unsubtle decision to emphasize the former amounts to a categorical attack on protestors per se and their issues and should not be considered legitimate criticism or opinion.
It is a standard characteristic of fascism to assume all people within a given population are there to accomplish the same programmatic goals and agree on the relevant tactics. Perhaps those goals include increasing the University’s prestige through attracting celebrities or justifying current militaristic policies and quelching criticism by enshrining veterans as nationalist embodiments of the body politic. Most veterans are equally critical of said policies themselves. In a second stage, fascists demand that dissenters leave and shut up.
Kay achieved the effect nearly perfectly and added in his own complicity by privileging his non-active “irritation” at Bush’s conservative measures above thoughtful citizens’ vociferous and organized opposition to them. While Hammond and Kay’s articles appeared merely unenlightened, a deeper issue is at hand: a major global social movement driven by youth is emerging from the cultural stagnation and economic restructuring of the past two decades to demand justice abroad and locally. How do we intend to speak about it – with contempt or with wonder at its possibilities?
Maybe the GW Action Coalition “is the same 40 people” – it is not, but name another campus group besides GWAC that has an “executive board” of over 40 people. While most groups struggle to encourage attendance by offering food and other incentives, GWAC is able to attract hundreds to its meetings every time. We should encourage this florescence through covering it in school newspapers in a fair and intellectual manner and by engaging political discussions with a degree of sophistication rather than resorting to ad hominem attacks.