Weighs in On Issues of War and Peace
I would first like to start this short tract by saying that above
all, I value the righteous and inexorable energy that Oberlin students
put in to thinking about and acting upon issues that run the gamut
from world hunger to the globalization issue and anything in between.
I also would like to point out the fact that I am but a freshman
at this college and I do not profess in any way to have intimate
knowledge of the motives of a vast majority of people that I know
precious little about. However, I must take issue with that I perceive
of the general tenor of a few on this campus on certain issues related
to the grisly, tragic and previously unimaginable attacks of last
First of all, I am deeply troubled by what I have seen as an attitude
against the war that is purportedly on the horizon.
I do not, in any way, support the purposeful killing of any innocent
civilians simply because of our anger at the dastardly acts of a
few. However, I do not presently wish for the community of Oberlin
College to give the federal government an unnecessary vote of no
confidence through organized protests, teach-ins and massive marches
through the town of Oberlin. We do know that the Congress has appropriated
money for military action and the cleanup of New York and Washington,
but what we do not know is the shape of the action against whatever
enemy we may face, be it a government, a terrorist organization,
or a marriage between the two, and such a lack of knowledge intellectually
prohibits us from condemning outright the actions of this government.
And for those who believe that military action is wrong, it must
be considered that the military can peform acts much more precise
and humane than carpet bombing. The moment in which I condemn this
government will come with time; if three months, six months and
even longer come and the U.S. appears to be following a short-sighted
policy, then I shall be in agreement.
From the moment that George Bush decided to run for president, I
have tried to warn others of his irresponsibility and his abhorrent
politics through protest and general disdain. But no matter how
virulently people may disagree with me and/or dislike Mr. Bush,
as of now, the President, along with the rest of the government,
is our new best friend, protector and rescuer in these difficult
times, and this truth should be as clear as day.
I hope that instead of letting our moral division on these issues
of great import bring us down as a campus, we make sure that we
stand together on what we find important like our love of this country,
our sympathy for those who have died and (I hate to be corny) the
strength that we find in our collective righteousnous. I do not
mean the righteousness found in any sense of military superiority,
but the righteousness to believe that we can come back from the
ashes of this tragedy and to not be afraid to walk a higher moral
plane than those who wish death upon us.
Late last Tuesday night, the day of the attacks, I couldnt
sleep, so I took a walk around Tappan Square. As I was about to
head to my dorm, I walked by the famous monument to the fallen Oberlin
students in the Boxer Rebellion. But what I had not noticed before
on the monument was the epigraph by the Chinese poet Du Fu, which
read I am grieved by the war and have not slept/Who has the
strength to right Heaven and Earth? Astonished by the fit
and the sagacity of this quote, I set off back to my dorm both impressed
and puzzled as to what the right answer was.
So in closing, whatever the answer may be, let them try to right
heaven and earth, and lets not try to tear them down just