Wait, Really?

Ok. So normally Jordan Rothman’s articles only leave me feeling irritated, but his article in this past weeks edition of The Hoot had me pulling out my hair and yelling at the paper.

You can read the entire article here and if you aren’t half as upset as I am, maybe we should do lunch and talk about why you should be.

The entire article operates on the definition of peace as the absence of war and an unfounded romanticization of military service.  And to my surprise, he includes his…dare I say, liberal … position on gays in the military.

One thing that had me particularly dumbfounded was his passionate anger and disgust towards the Peace Room… (yes, I said the Peace Room)

“I remember the first time I entered the Peace Room during my freshmen year. This tucked away space in the Usdan Student Center is a revolting display of propaganda, as it includes a one-sided view of a very multi-faceted reality. Furnished like a hippie hashish-smoking room and containing an 8-foot tall statue of Ghandi, this place oozed the disgusting aura of blind non-violence. Worst of all, the room possessed a register of conscientious objectors, where Brandeis students had inscribed their names in order to represent themselves under this classification. This place was disgusting, this room was horrific. I felt like taking a flamethrower to the place. The room represented the blind pursuance of liberal ideals so indicative of our institution.

For those too faint hearted to explore the actual Peace Room themselves, I understand.  The ohm symbols on the walls, the books talking about alternative ways of solving conflicts, the meditation cushions… that can be so overwhelming to the rational war-mongering mind. Feel free to see the disgusting liberal propaganda here at Brandeis University’s own Peace, Conflict and Co-existence Studies webpage.  Make sure you’re prepared, as these pictures are quite shocking and may inspire you to reach for your handy flamethrower and run to Usdan. Beware of the conscientious objector registry, for this is the worst of all!

Wait, really?

After reading this, I wondered “Wow, did he really go to the same Peace Room I did?”.  For me, the peace room is not a place where I can finally let out a sigh of relief and blindly follow my liberal ideals to my hearts content.  I use the Peace Room as a study space, a meeting place for the Buddhist Club, and I have actually had many peace-related debates in that very room.  The Peace Room provides a relaxed atmosphere, outside of the war culture we live in right now. What I find more dangerous is that our country is seeming to operate on the pursuance of blind violence (which I personally find to be much more harmful than “blind non-violence”– whatever that is).

Also, I am proud to say that I have officially signed the Conscientious Objector registry. I also officially volunteer to be a witness for anyone who wants to do the same.

Then he continues:

“In fact, I would adamantly defend that it is often the best way to safeguard our valued liberties. Projecting an image of flaccidity and complacency bolsters our foes and weakens our ability to protect our country. Nevertheless, our university has an entire department dedicated to peace, conflict and coexistence. Clubs all around our campus preach the unyielding message of non-violence and peace. These groups are deluded whenever they talk against the efficacy of violent action. As the movie “Team America: World Police” conveys, “freedom isn’t free” and oftentimes must be paid for with the blood of violent activity.”

First of all, did you really just quote a movie whose main characters are puppets to make your point?

Second of all, this operates on the mistaken impression that non-violence=flaccidity and complacency.

Mahatma Ghandi.  Martin Luther King Jr.  Nelson Mandela.  The Dalai Lama.  Aung San Suu Kyi.

When you hear these names, are “complacency” and “flaccidity” the first terms that pop into your mind?  An avid Kucinich supporter, the first thing that comes to my mind is his presidential slogan “Strength through Peace”.  Personally, I view the path these people took as much more courageous than the easy answer of violence.  There are alternatives to military might, it just requires a creative mind and a willingness to get past the “us vs. them” propaganda .

I could talk about this forever, so I will cut myself short here with one final comment:

I don’t know if it’s just me, but the addition of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy just didn’t really fit in well with the rest of the article.  To me it seemed added as an afterthought.  And although I commend Jordan for his position on that specific issue… I wish he would reconsider every other position he presents in this article.


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