Polarization

Alan Weiss writing in the latest issue of his Monday Morning Memo:

Rutgers, my alma mater (which I was once proud of claiming as such), has had strong student protests causing former Secretary of State Candoleezza Rice to cancel her scheduled graduation speech. She chose not to become a distraction to the event. Her involvement in the Iraq War is apparently the key issue. (The fact that she was the first black woman in such a position doesn’t seem of interest.) Recently, Brown University students booed a former New York City Police Commissioner off the stage from which he had been invited to speak. (A woman heading some committee or other was quoted as saying, “Free speech is not guaranteed in private universities.” Really? Wasn’t that Germany in the thirties?) Rutgers, of course, is a public university, the first of the land grant colleges, and famous for its high academic standing prior to basketball coaches who emotionally abused players and athletic directors who ignored it. In my days at Rutgers there were angry debates between military recruiters and protestors (the height of the Viet Nam war) but debates they were, with both sides being heard. We’ve come to a sad state of polarization–and ignorance–when we’re so insecure we can’t allow “the other side” to be heard. Talk about bullying in the schools….

Well said.

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