Friday, April 16, 2010

America, the Beautiful... Civilized discourse does still exist!


Vernon Shunn Well I appreciate your civilized approach which is more than I can say for some others on this page. Simply stated though, I have nothing against what Bill Ayers had to SAY, I am more against him as an individual and that actions he was involved with and condoned. I am very for free speech and I believe it to be very important but because of who he is not what he had to say was the main reason for his invitation being revoked. It was also revoked because of all the threats towards him, anyone who attended his speech and so on which is a serious safety issue and I dont feel that nobody's life is worth the risk of Bill Ayers visit here. Even though he invitation was revoked he was still paid the 5,000 some dollars he would have received if he had come and that should have compensated for his troubles. The reason I am against this lawsuit is that is for all the wrong reasons, Meg Lanker claims his first amendment was violated which from a particular standpoint some would agree but because that was not the reason his invitation was revoked this lawsuit is just silly and a waste of time. The university chose to sway to the side of caution and not risk an incident which i feel was the correct decision and does not warrant a lawsuit. I am tired of people assuming that this page is an attack on Meg, it clearly is not, it was created for civilized discussion and opinion sharing to inform everyone that mistakes were made and this lawsuit is only going to do more harm than good. I have been told that Meg did not sue when Cheney was allowed to speak but at the same time lives were not threatened and due to the way politics are in today society he would never be cancelled because he is one of the biggest donator's of funds to this university and that is just a side effect of today's politics. I hope this clears some things up for you, and feel free to ask more questions if there is still something I did not explain.

Lisa Cox Thanks! That is incredibly clear. I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine this morning. Generally we agree politically, and we found ourselves at odds, but the bottom line is that we actually did our homework and had reasons for saying what we did to each other. I was really bummed out to get up this morning, looking forward to discussion, to find that there were all these people using the group as a... I don't know... I just cannot condone aggression like that, any more than I can condone Bill Ayers's violent actions in the 60s (whether or not people were hurt or killed.) It's the violence- and latent violence- that bugs me so much.

Take your point about Cheney: it keeps coming to my mind that it is indeed true that he was not threatened or harmed, despite that there were those who protested his visit. To me, that shows the hope that there are those out there who would hold civilized discourse and use their freedom of speech to protest without aggression in the form of slander, threats or outright physical aggression. On the other hand, BINGO! I think you are right on that the politics of the day dictate who is allowed and who is not, to speak on campus, and that being a reason, as opposed to educational opportunity, for a university administration to make a decision in this instance, is case in point why I have recently sworn off following through with getting a PhD and also have committed that when I am done earning the degree I am working on now, I will not go back into teaching, where I worked for many years.

And, all that said, despite my disagreement with Bill Ayers's past behavior with the Weather Underground, I admire his commitment to researching, forming theory and dispensing information on the injustices in our education system.

I believe I understand you, and I am really appreciative that you have made yourself clear. We can disagree on some aspects of this issue, but more than anything, I'm grateful we can agree on civil discourse rather than knee jerk reaction. The question that has come to my mind over and over around this entire issue, having seen the latter, is "Where does the fear arise that presses people to respond to a situation with such aggression?"

Thanks, and have a good weekend, and I hope that there are more people out there who will speak freely but thoughtfully.

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