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Old 05-25-2003, 12:09 PM   #16
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Originally posted by U2Bama
What if a college had a conservative figure speak at a commencement, and he/she went off on some tangent in favor of the death penalty or increased military spending, or opposed to foreign aid or abortion or multiculturalism? Would you want the liberal students who have a conscience to behave?

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Yes.

Because it was a formal ceremony, and not a rally or demo.
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Old 05-25-2003, 12:16 PM   #17
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I would expect them to utilise their conscience and respect the speakers right to his or her opinion and behave like an adult.
They neither had to respect the speaker or the right to his own opinion. It would be nice, but I donīt expect that. They should just have behaved like adults!

There is a difference in saying what you believe and booing. Booing is not a clear statement. Style is an issue at a formal ceremony, in my opinion.

Like I said, U2Bama, I would also have expected it the other way īround. If there had been a conservative speaker, I would expect the liberal students to either keep their mouth shut and discuss about it later, or if they canīt bear that extreme attack on their poor little liberal hearts, to get up and walk out of the room.

In that formal ceremony, the speaker was officially authorized to speak about his views. The students were not.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:33 AM   #18
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bonosgirl84,

I think you hit the nail on the head

HIPHOP,

"The students simply have shown that they havenīt learned good manners. Or any manners at all. Any hooligan at a soccer game can boo around. I can tell you that if something like this happens at a formal ceremony in Europe, nobody will think that those students are academically educated."

"So, shame on them."

From what I have seen, such behavior is more common in the Anti-War Crowd, regardless of the setting.
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Old 05-26-2003, 08:57 AM   #19
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I tend to agree with Sting and Bonosgirl84 on this. Why is it acceptable for protestors to block streets and highways and disrupt people's daily lives, but not acceptable at a college graduation to express ones opinions? At least the students were not preventing fire and ambulance equiptement from getting though to where it needed to be.

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Old 05-26-2003, 01:52 PM   #20
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I agree, Dreadsox. The unfortunate thing is that many liberals seem to have the philosophy "free speech as long as you agree with me".
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:59 PM   #21
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I agree, Dreadsox. The unfortunate thing is that many liberals seem to have the philosophy "free speech as long as you agree with me".

I'd agree to the extent this was a discussion of tolerance. Hiphop's point though was respect for the event - decorum - an idea that is largely absent in younger generations.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:15 PM   #22
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Firstly - not all liberals are the same. Sure we have some eejits who give liberalism a bad name but in exactly the same way there are plenty of bigoted conservatives who give conservatism a bad name. Don't judge all people who believe in a particular political philosophy based on the actions of a few.

Secondly - I think the students should have listened respectfully to the speaker even if they didn't agree. A graduation ceremony isn't a place where it's appropriate to yell and boo a speaker. I've listened to many lecturers I didn't agree with, and yet I would never even consider shouting out loud in their lecture, if I really wanted to express an opinion I would wait until after the lecture and speak to them, or else send an email.

Disagreeing with someone's ideas is fine, it's what democracy is all about. But we should also remember that behaviour that's appropriate in one context isn't appropriate in another: booing a speaker at a graduation ceremony isn't appropriate.

And yes - if it was a conservative speaker, I would expect students who disagreed to sit and listen respectfully, regardless of how strongly they disagreed. It's called courtesy and apparently it's becoming increasingly rare.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:08 PM   #23
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There are a lot of people who live and work in large cities or for the military and wonder if Anti-War or WTO protesters have ever heard the word "courtesy".

The graduation ceremony is not the forum for extremist, offensive, and divisive political view points. How many of the liberals here would tell a black student to sit down and shut up if the speaker announced that he was a Klu Klux Klan member and was here to talk to the students about the inferiority of other races to white people?

Ultimately the speaker at this ceremony is not at fault, but the part of the faculty that approved the speaker and his topic are the ones that have crossed the line. The speach would have been just fine if it was Chris H. to speak tonight about his opinion on the war in Iraq, 8 pm at the basketball arena. But a graduation ceremony is the wrong forum for that. How can the faculty or who ever approved the speaker expect the students to respect their speaker at the graduation ceremony when they with this action are not showing the students any respect at all. It is hypocritical to talk of the students behavior and not discuss the faculty or University members behavior in regards to allowing this topic to be discussed at a graduation ceremony.

This is not a class room discussion or a speaker coming from out of town to speak to a class, this is a Graduation ceremony. A celebration of the students graduation from the university. As I mentioned above it is not a time for extremist and divisive talk with some many family and friends gathered, not to debate politics, but to celebrate the achievments of friends and family.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:24 PM   #24
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How many of the liberals here would tell a black student to sit down and shut up if the speaker announced that he was a Klu Klux Klan member and was here to talk to the students about the inferiority of other races to white people?
Excuse me, but don't compare anti-war campaigners to the KKK. It is not only insulting to those who opposed this war, it also illustrates a complete lack of understanding of what the KKK represent.

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Old 05-26-2003, 04:05 PM   #25
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
Firstly - not all liberals are the same. Sure we have some eejits who give liberalism a bad name but in exactly the same way there are plenty of bigoted conservatives who give conservatism a bad name. Don't judge all people who believe in a particular political philosophy based on the actions of a few.
Fizzing, who's judging all liberals? Did I or did I not say "many liberals"?
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Old 05-26-2003, 04:17 PM   #26
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I know you said that, but I was just re-affirming that while it's true to say some liberals have a problem respecting people's freedom of speech, it's not fair to label all liberals in the same way. I know you weren't doing that though.

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Old 05-26-2003, 04:35 PM   #27
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Text of the Rockford College graduation speech by Chris Hedges

I want to speak to you today about war and empire.

Killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq. Although blood will continue to spill -- theirs and ours -- be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power, and security. But this will come later as our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. Isolation always impairs judgment and we are very isolated now.

We have forfeited the good will, the empathy the world felt for us after 9-11. We have folded in on ourselves, we have severely weakened the delicate international coalitions and alliances that are vital in maintaining and promoting peace and we are part now of a dubious troika in the war against terror with Vladimir Putin and Ariel Sharon, two leaders who do not shrink in Palestine or Chechnya from carrying out acts of gratuitous and senseless acts of violence. We have become the company we keep.

The censure and perhaps the rage of much of the world, certainly one-fifth of the world's population which is Muslim, most of whom I'll remind you are not Arab, is upon us. Look today at the 14 people killed last night in several explosions in Casablanca. And this rage in a world where almost 50 percent of the planet struggles on less than two dollars a day will see us targeted. Terrorism will become a way of life, and when we are attacked we will, like our allies Putin and Sharon, lash out with greater fury. The circle of violence is a death spiral; no one escapes. We are spinning at a speed that we may not be able to hold. As we revel in our military prowess -- the sophistication of our military hardware and technology, for this is what most of the press coverage consisted of in Iraq -- we lose sight of the fact that just because we have the capacity to wage war it does not give us the right to wage war. This capacity has doomed empires in the past.

"Modern western civilization may perish," the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr warned, "because it falsely worshiped technology as a final good."

The real injustices, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, the brutal and corrupt dictatorships we fund in the Middle East, will mean that we will not rid the extremists who hate us with bombs. Indeed we will swell their ranks. Once you master people by force you depend on force for control. In your isolation you begin to make mistakes.

Fear engenders cruelty; cruelty, fear, insanity, and then paralysis. In the center of Dante's circle the damned remained motionless. We have blundered into a nation we know little about and are caught between bitter rivalries and competing ethnic groups and leaders we do not understand. We are trying to transplant a modern system of politics invented in Europe characterized, among other things, by the division of earth into independent secular states based on national citizenship in a land where the belief in a secular civil government is an alien *****. Iraq was a cesspool for the British when they occupied it in 1917; it will be a cesspool for us as well. The curfews, the armed clashes with angry crowds that leave scores of Iraqi dead, the military governor, the Christian Evangelical groups who are being allowed to follow on the heels of our occupying troops to try and teach Muslims about Jesus.

Hedges stops speaking because of a disturbance in the audience. Rockford College President Paul Pribbenow takes the microphone.

"My friends, one of the wonders of a liberal arts college is its ability and its deeply held commitment to academic freedom and the decision to listen to each other's opinions. (Crowd Cheers) If you wish to protest the speaker's remarks, I ask that you do it in silence, as some of you are doing in the back. That is perfectly appropriate but he has the right to offer his opinion here and we would like him to continue his remarks. (Fog Horn Blows, some cheer).


The occupation of the oil fields, the notion of the Kurds and the Shiites will listen to the demands of a centralized government in Baghdad, the same Kurds and Shiites who died by the tens of thousands in defiance of Sadaam Hussein, a man who happily butchered all of those who challenged him, and this ethnic rivalry has not gone away. The looting of Baghdad, or let me say the looting of Baghdad with the exception of the oil ministry and the interior ministry -- the only two ministries we bothered protecting -- is self immolation.

As someone who knows Iraq, speaks Arabic, and spent seven years in the Middle East, if the Iraqis believe rightly or wrongly that we come only for oil and occupation, that will begin a long bloody war of attrition; it is how they drove the British out and remember that, when the Israelis invaded southern Lebanon in 1982, they were greeted by the dispossessed Shiites as liberators. But within a few months, when the Shiites saw that the Israelis had come not as liberators but occupiers, they began to kill them. It was Israel who created Hezbollah and was Hezbollah that pushed Israel out of Southern Lebanon.

As William Butler Yeats wrote in "Meditations in Times Of Civil War," "We had fed the heart on fantasies / the hearts grown brutal from the fair."

This is a war of liberation in Iraq, but it is a war now of liberation by Iraqis from American occupation. And if you watch closely what is happening in Iraq, if you can see it through the abysmal coverage, you can see it in the lashing out of the terrorist death squads, the murder of Shiite leaders in mosques, and the assassination of our young soldiers in the streets. It is one that will soon be joined by Islamic radicals and we are far less secure today than we were before we bumbled into Iraq.

We will pay for this, but what saddens me most is that those who will by and large pay the highest price are poor kids from Mississippi or Alabama or Texas who could not get a decent job or health insurance and joined the army because it was all we offered them. For war in the end is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of soldiers by politicians, and of idealists by cynics. Read Antigone, when the king imposes his will without listening to those he rules or Thucydides' history. Read how Athens' expanding empire saw it become a tyrant abroad and then a tyrant at home. How the tyranny the Athenian leadership imposed on others it finally imposed on itself.

This, Thucydides wrote, is what doomed Athenian democracy; Athens destroyed itself. For the instrument of empire is war and war is a poison, a poison which at times we must ingest just as a cancer patient must ingest a poison to survive. But if we do not understand the poison of war -- if we do not understand how deadly that poison is -- it can kill us just as surely as the disease.

We have lost touch with the essence of war. Following our defeat in Vietnam we became a better nation. We were humbled, even humiliated. We asked questions about ourselves we had not asked before.

We were forced to see ourselves as others saw us and the sight was not always a pretty one. We were forced to confront our own capacity for a atrocity -- for evil -- and in this we understood not only war but more about ourselves. But that humility is gone.

War, we have come to believe, is a spectator sport. The military and the press -- remember in wartime the press is always part of the problem -- have turned war into a vast video arcade came. Its very essence -- death -- is hidden from public view.

There was no more candor in the Persian Gulf War or the War in Afghanistan or the War in Iraq than there was in Vietnam. But in the age of live feeds and satellite television, the state and the military have perfected the appearance of candor.

Because we no longer understand war, we no longer understand that it can all go horribly wrong. We no longer understand that war begins by calling for the annihilation of others but ends if we do not know when to make or maintain peace with self-annihilation. We flirt, given the potency of modern weapons, with our own destruction.

The seduction of war is insidious because so much of what we are told about it is true -- it does create a feeling of comradeship which obliterates our alienation and makes us, for perhaps the only time of our life, feel we belong.

War allows us to rise above our small stations in life; we find nobility in a cause and feelings of selflessness and even bliss. And at a time of soaring deficits and financial scandals and the very deterioration of our domestic fabric, war is a fine diversion. War for those who enter into combat has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque. The Bible calls it the lust of the eye and warns believers against it. War gives us a distorted sense of self; it gives us meaning.

(A man in the audience says: "Can I say a few words here?" Hedges: Yeah, when I finish.)

Once in war, the conflict obliterates the past and the future all is one heady intoxicating present. You feel every heartbeat in war, colors are brighter, your mind races ahead of itself. (Confusion, microphone problems, etc.) We feel in wartime comradeship. (Boos) We confuse this with friendship, with love. There are those who will insist that the comradeship of war is love -- the exotic glow that makes us in war feel as one people, one entity, is real, but this is part of war's intoxication.

Think back on the days after the attacks on 9-11. Suddenly we no longer felt alone; we connected with strangers, even with people we did not like. We felt we belonged, that we were somehow wrapped in the embrace of the nation, the community; in short, we no longer felt alienated.

As this feeling dissipated in the weeks after the attack, there was a kind of nostalgia for its warm glow and wartime always brings with it this comradeship, which is the opposite of friendship. Friends are predetermined; friendship takes place between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. But comradeship -- that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime -- is within our reach. We can all have comrades.

The danger of the external threat that comes when we have an enemy does not create friendship; it creates comradeship. And those in wartime are deceived about what they are undergoing. And this is why once the threat is over, once war ends, comrades again become strangers to us. This is why after war we fall into despair.

In friendship there is a deepening of our sense of self. We become, through the friend, more aware of who we are and what we are about; we find ourselves in the eyes of the friend. Friends probe and question and challenge each other to make each of us more complete; with comradeship, the kind that comes to us in patriotic fervor, there is a suppression of self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-possession. Comrades lose their identities in wartime for the collective rush of a common cause -- a common purpose. In comradeship there are no demands on the self. This is part of its appeal and one of the reasons we miss it and seek to recreate it. Comradeship allows us to escape the demands on the self that is part of friendship.

In wartime when we feel threatened, we no longer face death alone but as a group, and this makes death easier to bear. We ennoble self-sacrifice for the other, for the comrade; in short we begin to worship death. And this is what the god of war demands of us.

Think finally of what it means to die for a friend. It is deliberate and painful; there is no ecstasy. For friends, dying is hard and bitter. The dialogue they have and cherish will perhaps never be recreated. Friends do not, the way comrades do, love death and sacrifice. To friends, the prospect of death is frightening. And this is why friendship or, let me say love, is the most potent enemy of war. Thank you.

(Boos cheers, shouts, fog horns and the like)
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Old 05-26-2003, 06:00 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2

This is not a class room discussion or a speaker coming from out of town to speak to a class, this is a Graduation ceremony. A celebration of the students graduation from the university. As I mentioned above it is not a time for extremist and divisive talk with some many family and friends gathered, not to debate politics, but to celebrate the achievments of friends and family.
I'm not sure if I would label him an extremist. I read the speech and enjoyed it. I agree with most of it. But I agree with you that a graduation ceremony isn't the time to bring in politics. This may be a first...
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Old 05-26-2003, 07:09 PM   #29
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I agree with what Chris Hedges had to say, but I don't think his remarks were appropriate for a graduation speech. It's kind of like when one of my older brothers, who is even more liberal than I am, insists on bringing up politics at every single friggin' family gathering. He always ends up getting in a huge fight with my dad, who is very conservative, and it spoils the gathering for everyone. There's a time and place to talk about politics, but a graduation ceremony, just like a family reunion, isn't one of them.

That being said, the students who booed were definitely showing a lack of class. What the speaker did was inappropriate for the occasion, but that doesn't excuse their behaving like hooligans.
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Old 05-26-2003, 08:14 PM   #30
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Fizzing,

"Excuse me, but don't compare anti-war campaigners to the KKK. It is not only insulting to those who opposed this war, it also illustrates a complete lack of understanding of what the KKK represent."

You have missed my point entirely. I'm not comparing the KKK with Anti-War Protesters. What I am comparing is various topics which may be offensive to some or many people and the reactions that many people might have. I'm also looking at whether such political speaches should be made at a graduation ceremony, whether one sees it as extremist or not.

Again, though, I'm trying to get you to understand that people at a graduation ceremony don't deserve to be shocked and angered in such a way as this on such a controversial issue. There might have been several people at the ceremony who agreed with what Chris had to say in his speach. Believe it or not there might be some who would of agreed with what a KKK person would have said. The point is that both would have said things that were sickenly offensive to some or nearly all the people gathered there. The point is not really about whether Chris or a KKK leader is right in their beliefs but whether there is a point when a speaker at such a ceremony has crossed the line of respect and consideration for those he is speaking to given the context in which the speach happened.
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