Letters to the Editor

Equal rights movement not over

I was battered by a sense of conflicting emotions as I watched Barack Obama give his exceptionally eloquent acceptance speech. I felt a sense of pride and patriotism as I bore witness to this once-in-a-generation moment, and yet, as the crowds chanted “yes we can,” I could not help but feel angry.

A record number of voters rejected the politics of racism and fear this past Tuesday when they voted for our first African-American president.

That being said, a significant number of those same voters that said “yes we can” to a world that looks beyond the color of a man’s skin said “no you can’t” to millions of homosexual Americans. California, Arizona and Arkansas were just a few of the many states which ratified constitutional amendments or propositions which institutionalized discrimination.

When evaluating how far we have come over the past few years, I would implore everyone to consider what it was about the motto “yes we can” that has inspired so many. I would similarly ask everyone to confront those who employed the politics of prejudice to ensure that “no you can’t” became official state policy.

The equal rights movement did not end this past Tuesday. There is still much to work to be done.

Chris Hanley, Alumnus

No legal argument against gay marriage

The recently passed ballot measures in Florida, Arkansas, Arizona and California attacking some American families are utterly antithetical to the American family values they claim to protect.

Our founders believed that all humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” not that the rights of some citizens could be dismissed by popular vote. The very concept of a referendum on civil rights is anti-American and creates a second class of citizens denigrated because their very existence simply makes others uncomfortable.

There is no legal argument against gay marriage, nor are there any peer-reviewed studies that show harm to individuals or society caused by gay marriage. The backlash against gay marriage is motivated entirely by some people’s moral or religious views, which have no place in United States law. The progress of civil rights has never been made by majority agreement but rather by hard-won legislation to protect rights already endowed.

All Americans at this moment, gay and straight alike, should be worried about the precedent set by these measures – what’s next? Which rights of what scapegoated group in what state will be targeted? Concerned members of GW’s community should demand that our nation stay at the vanguard of civil rights rather than slip into rule by fear and ignorance.

Catherine Chandler, Lecturer in honors and art

The GOP is a party of the South

Andrew Clark, in his column titled “Time for Readjustment” (Nov. 6, p. 4) recently claimed that the GOP had become a “regional political party boxed in the South and the Midwest.” I take issue with Mr. Clark’s assertion.

The GOP’s region does not extend into the Midwest. Next year, the Democrats will expand their majorities in Congress with the help of the Midwest, as the region is defined by the U.S. Census.

Barack Obama won the majority of these states. The Democrats will hold 54 House seats and the GOP will have 45 seats.

In the Senate, the Democrats will control 16 of the region’s Senate seats. The Republicans as of now are certain to control seven, as Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) still has not won re-election. President-elect Obama won seven of the 12 states plus one of Nebraska’s electoral votes.

As for governorships, come 2009, there will be seven Democrats and five Republicans. Next year, there will only be Republican governors in Minnesota and Indiana.

It appears that the Republicans are a regional party only of the South. If I were a Republican, this would not make me too comfortable. Barack Obama and the Democrats made a strong showing there this year, too, carrying Virginia and North Carolina, and House Democrats picked up several new seats.

There is certainly one thing Mr. Clark and I do agree on. The Republican Party must change many of its policy positions if it wants to remain competitive in future elections, as the demographics suggest.

Paul Nawalany, Freshman

GW already has a literary review

Last week, an article about The Rome Review was printed on the front page of the Arts section (“Finding tomorrow’s Hemingway,” Nov. 6, p. 6). While I respect Tarek al-Hariri and his decision to further bring GW’s literary community out into the open, I fail to see the distinction between The Rome Review and the GW Review.

Founded in 1980 by GW students with help from professor David McAleavey, the GW Review, like The Rome Review, receives submissions from many esteemed members of the literary field (included in this list are Gloria Naylor of “The Women of Brewster Place” fame and National Book Award winner Jean Valentine). Like The Rome Review, “the focus is not on student writers.”

A literary review, which the GW Review and The Rome Review both are, is a type of literary magazine in which poets and authors from all over the globe send their pieces to the staff to be “reviewed,” hence its name.

It seems as though the only differences between The Rome Review and the GW Review is the price to print, the cost of the magazine and the use of personal connections in order to put a literary magazine together.

Maybe I am not understanding what this article is trying to say, but it seems as though “Finding tomorrow’s Hemingway” is an advertisement for al-Hariri, not his magazine.

Andrew Rigefsky, Senior and editor in chief of the GW Review

Front-page ads bring down The Hatchet’s quality

As a former student journalist, I can appreciate that it’s sometimes difficult to sell enough ads to stay afloat. However, ads on your front page should be the absolute last option short of filing Chapter 11. They hurt your credibility and make a paper look desperate.

I know, I know – “But the Wall Street Journal does it.” Well, Rupert Murdoch may be a keen businessman but he’s certainly not a bastion of journalistic integrity. If Murdoch and other front-page advertisers like the USA Today are the pied pipers you choose to follow, so be it, but do so knowing that some of your readers are strongly bothered by it.

That said, congratulations on your print and online Pacemakers. I don’t know if most students realize that their paper just won the collegiate equivalent of the Pulitzer, but The Hatchet staff deserves a great deal of praise for its hard work. Now if only we could do something about those pesky ads on A1.

Joe Kendall, Graduate student

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