Stick to the Issues

Those who blindly throw their allegiance to political parties give the entire system a bad name. In his February 6, 2004 article, Dan Taylor ’06 correctly points out that some liberals/democrats are hypocritical when they criticize Republicans simply for being Republicans. Even as a liberal, I agree with Taylor. We should be criticizing policies and proposals, not titles. Especially in light of the current state of affairs, liberals should have more than enough to criticize without resorting to personal attacks. Recently, I was talking with a conservative friend about politics when an unfamiliar girl approached. “Are you talking about politics?” she asked. “Yes,” was my reply. She pressed further, “Are you a Republican?” “No,” I said. She turned to my friend, the conservative, and asked the same question. He answered “yes.” “You suck,” she said. The entire episode made me nuts. Why would people resort to insults when it is so easy for liberals to win on the merits of our arguments? Stereotypes We all can agree that stereotypes do not portray the whole truth. Stereotypes generalize so widely that they prevent intelligent discussion of the issues. Both conservatives and liberals use name-calling as a discussion technique. When our leaders were questioning the justifications for war in Iraq, if a Democrat expressed the smallest bit of reluctance at going to war, he or she was labeled un-patriotic. Max Cleland, Democratic Senator from Georgia, is a sad example of Republicans at work. Senator Cleland, who lost all four limbs in Vietnam, lost his seat in the Senate because of the vicious smear campaign launched by the Republicans. They portrayed Cleland as soft on terror because of his refusal to vote for the Homeland Security Bill until the employees of the new agency were guaranteed the standard rights of federal employees. It was a disgusting display on the part of Republicans. Even today, we see Republican pundits like Limbaugh and Hannity constantly criticizing Democrats for criticizing our leader in a time of war. People are asking questions, exercising the highest form of democracy, and Republicans chastise them for being un-patriotic. President George W. Bush George Bush is not the epitome of ignorance. Those that follow him blindly on his crusades are. September 11 changed America forever. We need to take out the terrorists, and we need to do it now, but sk yourself: does the war in Iraq help us meet the goal of eradicating al-Qaida? Of course it does not. Instead, it drains valuable resources that could be spent fighting terror – the real threat. Meanwhile, the administration has done nothing about North Korean nuclear weapons or the leaking of nuclear secrets by our supposed ally Pakistan. During the months of fighting and reconstruction in Iraq, the United States had only 8,000 troops in Afghanistan. Perhaps our administration needs tore examine its priorities. Andover’s Reception Andover’s All-School Meetings are great opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. It does become apparent that some of our speakers are very opinionated. Dan Taylor ’06 alleges that the speakers are mostly, with the exception of Seth Moulton ’97, against the administration. It is plain to see that some speakers, like James Carroll, are quite leftwing. However, Rev. William Sloan Coffin, a definite left-winger, was very bi-partisan in his speech. He encouraged all students to follow their convictions regardless of their position on the political spectrum. Taylor failed to point out that most of our speakers do not come here to talk about politics, but instead focus on other issues. Julia Alverez ’67 did not voice her opinions on the war in Iraq, campaign finance reform, or other hotly contested subjects. Bill Traynor did not voice any political views but concentrated on his community service work in Lawrence, MA. The school has also established a political speakers committee consisting of both Democrats and Republicans to handle political speakers on campus in a bi-partisan way. The level of political discourse at Andover is not entirely commendable. To that end, I urge the Democrats at Andover to listen to their Republican peers. Many have ideas that deserve consideration. We should not discount the thoughts of others as quickly as we do. To the blind liberals: stop making the rest of us look bad. To our conservative friends: please avoid the namecalling and concentrate on the issues.