You may have noticed the “UR Carn” posters circulating the campus, mocking the UR Vegetarians’ own campaign. I must admit, with no disrespect to the vegetarians, that I laughed. But then I looked closer. “You should listen to us because we are a poster telling you how to live your life,” read the poster. Behind the questionable construction ? “we are a poster” ? the statement reveals what I think is at the heart of its creator’s criticism, and it gives me pause.
“Don’t tell me how to live my life” is the cry of the adolescent ? I am disappointed to be reminded that it is also a cry from some on this campus. It would seem that we have extended the reasonable right not to be harassed, to embrace some illusory right to be protected from ideas which might make us uncomfortable. Are we truly so insecure in our beliefs that it offends us to be challenged, to be told that we may be wrong? If we are that uncertain, wouldn’t that be an indication that we should be challenged?
I naively believe that universities should be bastions of free thought and speech. That they should be refuges where men and women of youth and intellect might learn and challenge one another ? not just in academics, but in matters of life, politics, philosophy and faith.
Unfortunately for the sensibilities of some on this campus, this means someone might criticize the way we think, vote or live our lives. I hope and pray that we do not give sway to such sensitivities, for silence, while bringing comfort, will mean the death of our education.
?Andrew KowalikClass of 2003
It takes a senator
We appreciate Campus Times covering the protest outside of Hillary Clinton’s talk but Metro Justice needs to clarify, that Metro Justice was not the lone organizer of that protest ? we were joined by UR Students for Social Justice and the Raging Grannies. Although Clinton ostensibly switched the topic of her talk from leadership to her vote authorizing Bush to invade Iraq, her talk did indeed illuminate her leadership style.
Clinton’s speech began with an accurate recounting of Hussein’s atrocities. She then embraced the 1998 Congressional vote for “regime change” in Iraq, ? a clear violation of international laws of sovereignty ? but tried to distance herself from a gonzo “bomb-them-now” approach. At the same time she also expressed support for the possibility of one of Dick Cheney’s non-UN ad hoc bombing coalitions should the UN falter. This kind of political maneuvering is called chasing the center ? it is an attempt to stake out a “middle ground” so as to appear “centrist” ? not too hot, not too cold. Her conclusion was to urge President Bush to cooperate with the UN, and, failing a UN-supported invasion, invade anyway ? ironically, to enforce UN resolutions. So while appearing supportive of the UN, in actuality she voted to undermine it by authorizing Bush to go it alone.
Along the way Clinton made three claims that defy reality ?
First, that Hussein kicked out the weapon?s inspectors in 1998. No, they were withdrawn by the U.S. after we violated the rules of inspection and demanded that Iraq allow us to continue to violate the agreed upon UNSCOM rules.
Second, that Iraq is, “according to some experts, six months to a year from developing nuclear weapons.” No, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iraq does not have that capability and according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, in a scathing article entitled “You Call That Evidence?”, the fact that Iraq was importing aluminum tubes that might be used as centrifuges means that they are at the beginning of the process and therefore further behind than we thought, not closer.
Third, that high level Al Qaeda operatives are in Baghdad.
Huh? Is anybody making that claim anymore?
At no point in her speech did Clinton wrestle with the moral and ethical implications of bombing a desperate people to “save them,” of the twisted logic behind killing 1.5 million Iraqis through sanctions that deny water purification equipment and medicine in order to save people from the possibility of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction? weapons that Hussein never used while at war with the U.S. Clinton didn’t even challenge Bush’s claims that Iraq is a threat to the U.S. or the Persian Gulf region, ignoring ten years of successful containment. She never even broached the subject of the lawless and destabilizing nature of a preemptive attack. Nor did she take on the issue of the lack of an exit strategy or that the resolution doesn’t actually have a goal ? it merely authorizes Bush to go in to enforce UN resolutions. She also did not address the fact that the vote sets a precedent that any country can invade another if it is in violation of UN resolutions. Shall we invade Israel, Western Sahara and Morocco ?all in violation of UN resolutions? No, she just cast her lot with those who would benefit from the $200 billion it will take to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq and then rebuild it and occupy it for 10-20 years. Clinton is now virtually assured campaign contributions from the oil industry, which is guaranteed to benefit from ousting Saddam.
?Jon GreenbaumMetro Justice Organizer
I was rather disappointed with Beth Haber’s humor column on Oct. 10 ? Ten Warning Signs Your Boyfriend is a Loser. Aside from not being very funny, it was rather insensitive and offensive as well. Number 2 was “He is a pizza delivery man. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to be a pizza deliveryman ? when you are in high school or college. When you are 27, it’s time to move on.”
In a time when our economy is not in a favorable state, it is really insensitive to put down someone’s occupation, no matter what it is. People have many different reasons for the jobs they take. In case you haven’t read the papers or talked to anyone in the working world recently, it is very hard to find a job right now. People often have to settle for occupations that they would never have considered before, at least temporarily. And you know what? Some people actually enjoy delivering pizza.
It’s an honest living and if that’s how someone wants to make ends meet, no matter how old they are, there is no reason not to support them.
?Daniel AxelrodClass of 2003
Drug reform needed
I strongly agree with Reuben Bushnell’s right on column, “Trying To Correct Marijuana Misconceptions” ? Oct.21. The original prohibition on a national scale was worse than the booze prohibited and the sequel, now, on an international scale is worse. At the very minimum, North America must bring credible drug reform and relegalize the plant cannabis ?marijuana ? especially when you consider the worst side effects of cannabis are police inflicted.
Clear minded citizens must stop voting for prohibitionist politicians.
Do cannabis prohibitionists even comprehend that they’re admitting a desire to cage humans for using a plant?
Bennett doesn’t know
Speaking at the Palestra, former drug czar William Bennett told students “I didn’t smoke ? I didn’t inhale.” That may explain his apparent ignorance with regards to the subject of his alleged expertise.
The emphasis on “drug-free” pasts as a primary hiring criteria for top level drug policy positions guarantees uninformed decision making. Bennett’s claims of drug war “success” during his reign as czar are partisan nonsense with no basis in reality.
Punitive marijuana laws have done little other than burden millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens with criminal records.
The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European country, yet America is one of the few Western countries that uses its criminal justice system to punish citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive prop
erties of tobacco. The short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal records.
Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to misguided reactionaries intent on legislating their version of morality. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors the U.S. government is inadvertently subsidizing organized crime.
The drug war’s distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand make an easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold. The only clear winners in the war on some drugs are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who’ve built careers on confusing drug prohibition’s collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. Students interested in drug policy reform should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at www.ssdp.org .
Thank you for your article on UR VEG, the new UR Vegetarian Education Group. We appreciate the coverage especially since our efforts have, according to the CT, “spawned much controversy on campus.” However, there are a few aspects of the article that we would like to respond to so that the UR community will better understand UR VEG.
A student said that it is “unfair” that we try to “push [our] beliefs on others” through our advertising. We don’t see what is “unfair” about what we do. We are an educational group ? we provide information from scientific sources such as the American Dietetic Assocation, eatright.org/adap1197.html, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, pcrm.org, about the health benefits of vegetarian diets so people can make better choices.
Our core mission, however, is to help people make better moral choices about what they eat and the industries they support. People should know the facts about where meat, milk and eggs come from. Since a picture speaks a thousand words, we show people what happens on animal farms and in slaughterhouses using the documentary “Meet Your Meat,” petatv.com, and the “Why Vegan?” booklet, veganoutreach.org. Witnessing the horrendous suffering that cows, chickens and pigs endure makes most people uncomfortable and, often, angry. Given the facts, we think these reactions are justified.
Many would rather not know about animals’ needless suffering but that is not a responsible attitude, especially at a university. Most people don’t want to support needless cruelty and killing and UR VEG’s mission is to help people in their choice not to. We meet each week, alternating Mondays at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Wilson Commons Room 122. For our schedule see http://sa.rochester.edu/urveg. All are welcome, especially members of UR CARN.
?Nathan Nobisspeaking for UR VEG
Feminism ain’t dead
I was saddened by Laura Berlin’s article ? Oct. 24 ? on the Hartnett Gallery show by Cecelia Berkovic and Katherine Mulherin. While journalists and cultural critics have been declaring the death of feminism for years, rarely have they done so with as little supporting evidence as Ms. Berlin. Berlin points to an art show by two female artists showcasing their perspectives on love and marriage as the death of feminism, when in reality her refusal to accept the desire of some women to marry men is far more indicative of feminism’s demise.
Infighting in the feminist movement has threatened to destroy it from within for years, as well-meaning activists refuse to allow others the right to choose different ways of life and still call themselves feminists. I think the most pertinent statement, for all people interested in human rights, should be “the right to choose.” For years, society didn’t allow women to choose what to do with their lives; they had to get married, or live on the fringes of the world as a poor maiden aunt. Now, many women have the choice to have a career, get married to a man, have a relationship with a woman, have kids with or without a husband and so on. Women are no longer forced to be “Mrs. Cleaver,” as Berlin snidely remarks, but it should be our right to choose that lifestyle if we wish it. Marginalizing another woman for her desire for a loving relationship is just as destructive as believing women should be barefoot and pregnant ? both viewpoints refuse to allow women the right to choose their own destiny. In that sense, Ms. Berlin’s well-meaning article reads like a blow to feminism’s very core.
?Suzanne DeckerClass of 2003
UR Carn ignorent
Methinks these people who’ve formed this “group” are in dire need of an education, a fundamental one at that, as opposed to attempting a post-secondary education, at least at this juncture. They need to be reminded that the basic biological reality is that humans neither require, or are equipped to properly digest, animal flesh, for the survival of their species. What may have been a necessity at various points of our history, as our ancestors roamed the planet seeking forage and sustenance, is for the most part relegated to a desire for certain tastes. Except for specific communities of humans, where they are an integral part of certain ecosystems, the feasting on the remnants of non-human lives is merely a continuation of the callous and arrogant way we tend to perceive this planet, and all that is contained within.
Admittedly, the posters of UR CARN are likely done in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, but the reality is that, behind this parody exists a sense that humans somehow “rate” greater freedoms from their responsibilities to the planet that allows them their existence, and that they also likely believe themselves a “superior” species to all others-as if that could ever be possible. All species are unique to all others, in all respects save one ? we all share this planet equally whether one species wrests control of its destiny from the grasp of nature or not. As such, the animals slaughtered to satisfy the tastebuds of those who have such little regard for them as living individuals, are beings wholly deserving of more respect than those who would kill and eat them. They are not ours to eat, exploit, abuse or torment. And for those of you who would like to think otherwise, are not carnivores.