September 23, 2010 Volume CXXVIII Issue 3

Student responds to Back Page

Contributing Writer

The Back Page has caused some campus controversy this year.

My roommate said I looked like a pirate onstage at Opening Convocation. Granted, the ruffled collar didn’t help. But to be fair, it was a J.Crew (clearance) shirt and, by itself, looked pretty sharp…I think. Just wanted to clear up any snide remarks there.

To clear up any other rumors, SGA is not the same thing as GAC, hence the names. We don’t have the sound system you can rent and we don’t send you to the movies for free, but we do have a lot of grant money we’d like to give out this semester and next. In fact, we have $8,000 worth.

People ask what SGA does. What do you want SGA to do? No, we can’t build a new dorm, install a pool, or kill every gnat in the quad. But we can sure push for them. And no, we can’t make beer legal on campus or in the county. So keep that hidden— oops, I mean off-campus.

I was asked to speak at a VIP day that the wonderful Admissions staff put on for potential new students that are sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school last Friday. After finishing a paper, I went to bed at 3 a.m. Thursday night without even thinking about what I might say.

But here’s what I said: if you can’t invest yourself in Georgetown, don’t come. Everyone can find something to invest in, and sometimes it’s a matter of taking that and running with it. But if you’re not willing to sport orange and black proudly, then go to the school whose colors you’re willing to bleed.

So here’s what I’ll say to the Back Page reader: if you can’t invest in Georgetown, don’t come. If you can’t get out of your fraternity house long enough to go through the appropriate measures to make a change, then don’t complain about it. Putting words on the backpage of The Georgetonian to stir things up is far from investment.

You may hate the weather, you might despise the way the Collier lobby smells and you may never find a parking spot closer than the Pit. But Georgetown has hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities. Get on the train, Debbie Downer.

Stop complaining about the alcohol policy. It’s a policy. UK has the EXACT same one.

No, East Campus is NOT getting 24-hour visitation. Let me rephrase: 24-hour visitation is NOT happening for East. Is this the place where hours may be expanded first? Possibly, but NOT automatically to 24-hours. I don’t know where the rumor started, but lay it to rest. An hour or two may be tagged on one side of visitation hours eventually. That “eventually” means probably not this year. Mad about that? Push for it.

The internet went down Monday night, yes. It’s back up now. Your facebook stalking isn’t priority over ITS sleep at 12:30 in the morning. Sorry. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has a name. And an email. And an office. And a face. And a heart. And a passion for what he does. Leadership takes guts and saying yes and saying no. It never ceases to amaze me how much pride President Crouch has in Georgetown and everything it offers. And how many of us will put away a letter shirt for even a single day to sport a Tigers shirt? How many students go to every single home football game? Those who live in glass houses sure as heck don’t throw stones.

If you love Georgetown, then love it. If you hate Georgetown, change it. Simple as that. SGA can’t and won’t flip morale. Flipping off the TV and doing something about it will. It takes one bad egg. Don’t be that guy.

Examine and understand beliefs

Staff Writer

The Bishop Scholars are often viewed as the face of diversity on campus.

At dinner around a week ago, the demon of dinner conversation attacked: politics. I, an Independent, was caught mediating between two Republicans and a Democrat. Throughout the argument, something became clear. My political friends shared fond feelings for each other but believed the group to which their opponent belonged was sinister. Eventually, one of the Republicans said, “I don’t vote based on the letter next to someone’s name. If a Democrat was better than a Republican I would vote for him. I’ve just never seen that happen.”

I will give my Republican friend the benefit of the doubt, she’s no older than 19. She may be referring only to her voting record of less than two years. So, what she said is plausible. Though the observation remains that often our brains direct us to condemn certain groups to “otherness” automatically.

The “us vs. them” mentality is nothing new. The political atmosphere is rough but no worse than our nation’s past. Opponents of Andrew Jackson described him as “the husband of a really fat wife” and claimed his mother was a prostitute. More politically-correct demonization of political opponents occurs today, from both parties.

Newt Gingrich once called President Obama “the most radical President in American history.” He must be exaggerating. President Woodrow Wilson silenced those who opposed American involvement in World War I through the Sedition Act of 1918, taking 100,000 political prisoners, said sociologist James D. Loewen. Similarly, it is hardly mentioned that President Bush set aside the largest marine sanctuary in the world—“139,000 square miles” according to MSNBC. It is not conducive to the absolute-negative image many liberal politicians wish to portray of Republicans. If politicians are adept at anything, it is covering their faults and over-stating their opponent’s.

Factionalism is probably why many founders were against the formation of political parties. Understandably, though, judgment by association is simple—it is easier to recognize the broad policies of two parties than hundreds of politicians. But let us not forget the influence of “the outsiders.” The now orthodox concept of minimum wage was originally proposed by the Communist party. Populists, not Democrats or Republicans, suggested the progressive income tax and transportation and communication industry regulation. Outsider viewpoints can be worthwhile, even if major disagreements remain. The danger of blind prejudice goes beyond politics. How does this apply on campus?

At the Involvement Fair, the Ambassadors of Diversity booth was surrounded and staffed, from what I could see, only by black students. Shouldn’t diversity mean a variety of students from different backgrounds— not an organization dominated by one people group? Was it in the campus subconscious that “diversity” was reserved for a certain ethnicity? Another booth, the College Democrats, was nearly deserted bearing only a simple sign and one representative, our SGA President, Molly Shoulta. Evidently, there are large sums of students who do not identify with Democratic policies, but what is the harm in talking to Molly about the College Democrats? The line was certainly shorter than many booths and Freshmen seminar students had an assignment to visit several organization tables it would easily help fufill. Here, I am guilty of aloofness. However, I did visit the Interfaith organization table.

The Interfaith organization helped organize the series of “Understanding Islam” talks. I attended on two nights, albeit one night only for a brief time. I learned quite a bit about a religion different from my own and walked away with some false notions dispelled. It was a civil conversation and few left without the benefit of new knowledge. Sadly, this is not universal.

The recently proposed Quranburning, by a Florida church, was a perfect example of where associative judgment can go wrong. Fortunately, a multi-denominational group of Christian leaders stood against this and recently signed their names to an ad in The New York Times declaring “burning the Quran does not illuminate the Bible.” These leaders recognized that the thought “the terrorists of 9/11 were Muslim, therefore, Muslims are all terrorists” is a fallacy of the undistributed middle. As Evangelist Ravi Zacharias said, “[Destroying Qurans] is an obnoxious way of communicating to those of any other faith.” Education alone cannot cure evil, but it can help prevent senseless panic.

I believe differences in ideology prompt difference in action. This concept is why it is important to actually know what those differences and similarities are, instead of allowing conventional wisdom to dictate our conversations in religious, social, political and intellectual life. I will repeat cliché advice: let us be steadfast in, but willing to examine, our beliefs, available to listen, slow to anger and abounding in love.


Which president is really the more radical?

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