Rutgers. Pleeeeassseee. Have you no academic integrity? No sense of tolerance? No love, joy or peace in your hearts?
Listen, I am no fan of Bush’s wars. I have been annoyingly outspoken about my personal aversion to misguided wars and their aftermath – something I know all too intimately.
I was standing in the airport in Singapore returning from a visit from my own father’s death bed in the jungle of Vietnam when I heard Bush announce that we had invaded Iraq. I knew in that very instant that he was wrong, that Congress was foolish, and that thousands would lose their lives.
Condoleezza Rice’s unwavering support for Bush bugged the bejesus out of me. Why would an otherwise brilliant woman play patsy to a president with less smarts?
I don’t get it.
So, yes, I understand the sentiment that led Rutgers students and faculty alike to voice their dissent about Rice being named as the commencement speaker.
Don’t you see?
You are as wrong-headed as Bush. You essentially bullied Rice into withdrawing.
Rice was gracious in her decision to bow out – far more gracious than the Rutgers faculty and students who harangued her into it. Said Rice: “Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”
If a college education taught you anything – and there is some question as to whether it did – it should have taught you to listen attentively to people with whom you disagree. That college education of yours should have taught you to be respectful, even, and especially to people whose politics differ from yours. That college education should have taught you that shouting others into a cowering corner is not the fulfillment of the First Amendment. That college education of yours should have taught you that diversity is about more than skin color – diversity is about differing ideas as well.
Did you learn nothing from Bush or Toby Keith? Bullying others almost always is the first step to war. You’d think that high-flautin’ education of yours would have taught you that.
At the very least, that Rutgers education of yours should have taught you that browbeating people into submission is not an exercise of freedom but rather the real true enemy of democracy.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Mother of Rain