Learn to listen
I realize that there is an inherent danger in writing about such a touchy subject around here, but that doesn't really bother me. What bothers me is how disgusted I am at the behavior of a single pro-lifer at the senator's speech yesterday morning. As cries of "what about abortion, what about abortion, Senator Lieberman?" fell from the balcony, I couldn't help but feel embarassed for the University and for the pro-life movement entirely.
I'm actually pro-choice, but besides the occasional abortion clinic bombing or idiot shouting from some balcony, I can respect a different point of view. Of course having the courage to stand up for a belief is nothing to be embarassed for, but it was too bad that the senator didn't start out with his point that when two parties disagree, it is wise to do so without any vindictiveness and also to disagree without being so hostile as to stop any chance of reaching agreement.
A candidate's time to speak is not the time for dissenters to yell self-righteous comments, distracting from what the speaker is actually trying to say. Get in line, write a letter, try and change this country within the structures that are there — don't yell from the balcony like a coward. Flapping your mouth might get you media coverage, but I don't think the media can write the law.
The senator was trying to talk about faith as an underlying foundation of society in a place where people with strong faiths go out and become adults who shape that society. But unfortunately, all that the media will pick up on is 50 seconds of yelling from the balcony.
That's what bothers me most of all. It doesn't matter what a dissenter is protesting, but when the protest is not done in manner representative of the issue being protested, then what's the point? The antagonist protest is doomed to fail because all that the audience remembers is the hostility of that protest. Somehow I doubt that such a protest will break out about capital punishment when G.W. Bush speaks on campus. There are better ways to express disagreement than yelling from across the room.
It's too bad my new friend in the balcony doesn't feel the same way.
Oct. 24, 2000
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, October 25, 2000