I’ve been through quite an emotional journey in the last few days. Wednesday morning I was furious at the American people and depressed at what we were left with. During John Kerry’s speech I was devastated, but also inspired by his heartfelt outpouring. I encourage all of you to take the time to listen, no matter how sad it may make you.
Following John Kerry’s concession I had a chat with a close friend that completely turned me around. While we should take time to shed tears, we should not turn that sadness into anger or frustration. We need and must turn it into hope. We only have a few years until we begin to inherit this country. We will all become eligible to run for the House a few short years after we graduate, and opportunities in local government are open to all of us right now. We can and need to change this country. While it was obvious that in this election the American people did not see it our way, they could not see our vision for how great this country can be, but that will all change.
Political trends in this country come and go, we will have our time to make an indelible mark on this country and it is our intent to do so. I know many of you who read this will one day be a large part of changing this country. We just all need to keep hope that the day will soon come.
-Kelly E. Taylor, sophomore
Let us celebrate
Tuesday night, I went out to a professor’s house and watched the election returns come in. I celebrated with my Republican friends all the way back to GW. I went to my room, was exiled by my Democratic roommates, and so I continued the celebration at the Marvin Center.
After the party was over, I returned to my dorm room and took a “W Stands for Women” poster and turned it into “W Stands for Winner.” Not 12 hours later, the sign was stolen and my other pro-Bush signs were defaced with Kerry-Edwards stickers. Give me a break.
Being a Republican in a school of Democrats has not made my life easy over the past two months. After the first presidential debate, my roommate let me have it when Bush stumbled over a few words. Now it’s my turn to show him that 58 million Americans feel that George W. Bush is the right man for the job.
All I’m asking Democrats is to let us Republicans enjoy the victory for a few days. Finally, we don’t have to listen to the ranting and raving about losing the popular vote and so on. Let us celebrate. Don’t tear down our signs.
-Joe Altenau, freshman
The wrong message
Around 2 p.m. in the afternoon of Nov. 2, I sat perched across the street from Kogan Plaza and watched – for twenty revolting minutes – a stream of about fifteen to twenty young men, and one young woman, destroy the remains of a car with a sledgehammer. Two issues fuel my disappointment and disgust with this display; specifically, the message of aggression, and its relationship to the democratic process. It is important to note that the car being discussed was covered in Kerry-Edwards stickers. While this is politically relevant, I want to remove it from this partisan context. My anger is not related to my personal political opinion, rather to my hope for an end to violence against women and a more cooperative democracy.
Giving male students a hammer as a method of expressing either political beliefs or daily stress is a slippery slope. It sends a message of violence and destruction as a means for political victory and/or tension release. Recent statistics from the Department of Justice state that around 5 percent of college women experience rape in any given calendar year. The National Organization of Women notes that women are 10 times more likely to be physically assaulted by an intimate partner than men. With this knowledge, doesn’t it seem that offering men a hammer suggests violence and destruction are effective means for handling stress and social problems? As young men, we need to abandon violence as a problem-solving tool; and as students, we need to create a campus that does not tolerate the reproduction of young men’s aggression.
This violent picture also sends a strong message about our contemporary understanding of the democratic process. It suggests that the utter demolition of an opponent is the goal of both national elections and democracy in action. As youth, it is important for us to recognize the essence of democracy in its dependence on cooperation. Effective democracy happens when people in the center work with those on the perimeter. The democratic process is at its best when different opinions work together and come to peaceful resolution.
I hope that the organizers of the cookout recognize the message they are sending to their peers about aggression and democracy. I hope they will re-examine their approach to partisan events, and recognize the importance of an underlying message of cooperation, tolerance and nonviolence.
-Benjamin Riskin, senior