Letters to the Editor

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To the Editor:We are writing in regards to the body outlines spray-painted onto the snow throughout campus. Though we understand the purpose of such actions, we find that in light of the Feb. 14 school shooting at Northern Illinois University, these expressions were distasteful and inappropriate.

We realize that this protest was probably planned well in advance. However, we feel that it should have been suspended until campus communities across the nation had a chance to cope with the shock of the tragedy.

Since many Mac students are from the Chicago area (including two of us), the effects of the shooting were far-reaching, and affected people personally. Just like every other action, there is a time and a place for protest, and immediately following something so devastating is not it.

Jillian Kahn ’11
Lauren Dutkiewicz ’11
Sara Magnuson ’11

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To the Editor:

Student Amia Jackson’s thoughtful opinion (“Obama offers hope for real change, truly engages our generation,” Feb. 15) discussing the cause of many campus protests as “searching for our place and purpose on this planet” awakened in me images of my days at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, we once had a charismatic young senator come through town, Sen. Bobby Kennedy. He was a wonderful orator, not unlike today’s Sen. Obama. Most on campus responded as most now at Mac do, with thoroughly engaged hearts and minds.

I was a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) then. I was profoundly apolitical, believing the Republicans and Democrats were simply subsets of the Capitalist party. I clearly remember chanting at an anti-Kennedy rally “Charisma is not a platform,” a belief I hold to this day.

Though I still cannot trust visceral buzzwords on a speaker’s placard or in his stump speeches, I also remember that these moments are probably the most idealistic of any student’s life, the moments they most want something to believe in. But having said that, I still harbor no doubts that though Obama is a talented man, I do see his true gift as being a far more skilled weaver of hopes and dreams than Clinton surely is.

And that brings up a problem that McCain will exploit-Obama’s exploitation of his own inspiration. This is an afterglow I’ve observed myself talking to students as a neighbor to the campus, at the caucus and from Amia Jackson’s opinion. Her references to a search for our “place and purpose on this planet” and “to leave our mark and our claim for future generation” sound, (though quite unintentionally) uncomfortably like Bush’s call for faith based initiatives.

The critical question remaining is: will the best orator make the best leader? I don’t know, but I do know we are electing the most powerful leader on the planet, so charisma should be quite low on the priority list.

Paul Peter Paulos
Macalester-Groveland resident