Letter to the Editor: Older folks should support student activisim


Friday, May 19, 2017

Recent letters to the editor have expressed concern over encroachments to Free Speech guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The writers used the example of the shutting down of Ann Coulter as a speaker at the University of California-Berkeley campus.

It would be hypocritical, if at the same time, the defenders of free speech also did not protest against the creation of a nefarious list of outspoken academics, with the purpose of shutting down their rights to freely expressed their views. And what about the attempted enactment of a law banning protests, marches and demonstrations under the guise of “economic terrorism”? Is that also not an infringement of the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to assembly and to petition the government for redress of grievances?

Rather than ranting, I chose to examine why the students of Berkeley did not want to listen to Ann Coulter. She is a very well known hate monger and had publicly advocated violence. The actions of the students of Berkeley are not so much as depriving her of her right to speak as more of not wanting to provide her with an on-campus platform to deliver her anti-humanity messages. Instead of castigating the college students and calling them “whining babies,” I am ever so glad that young people now are taking a stand against hate, violence, racism and other forms of counter values. Indeed young people should be at the forefront to make this a better world and us older folks should be right behind them giving them as much support as possible. This should be our legacy to the generations coming up.

Another common bias I find is people throwing around the term PC, to dismiss any real meaning of a word or phrase. Using the term climate change to replace global warming is not kowtowing to political correctness. According to the NASA website, “Climate change refers to a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.

Does this not describe the recent record rainfall flooding this area following on the heels of Hurricane Mathew? We barely have time to recover and repair the past devastation. Or the drought sweeping over vast swathes of Africa causing food shortages and starvation of unequaled proportions. Or the melting of the Arctic ice. You can deny climate change as much as you want. No amount of wishful thinking will change the facts.

These are tumultuous times and we must learn to sift through a ton of verbal mystifications to get to the heart of the matter. I am glad our young folks and students are waking up to the reality of this future and taking a more active steps to decide what kind of a world they want to live in.


Rocky Mount