Destruction, backlash a betrayal of democracy

by The Simpsonian

Simpson College has taken on the atmosphere that many other college campuses have over the past month. The war in Iraq has spurred a variety of emotions and reactions as members of the college community voice their opinions on the situation. From signs to graffiti to white crosses, pro- and anti-war sentiments have been heard loud and clear at Simpson.

But the situation began to take a turn for the worse when crosses were destroyed, signs were stolen and windows were broken. And those were the visible forms of destruction. Numerous students have received cruel and threatening phone calls and e-mails because of their publicly-stated opinions. Voices from both sides of the spectrum were, in a way, silenced.

Citizens of the United States enjoy the freedom of speech, a freedom denied to millions of citizens of the world. And yet citizens of our own country are trying to deny that freedom by lashing out at both war protesters and war supporters.

And at Simpson College, we are encouraged to engage in open debate both in and out of class on any number of issues, a necessity at a liberal arts college.

A pillar of democracy is open debate and free speech. Demanding that people stop protesting or destroying an individual or group’s method of expression is an outright abandonment of democracy and all that we hold dear in this nation. Continue to debate, argue and discuss. But the destruction must come to an end.