Letters to the Editor

Editor:

I was disgusted and appalled by Bertrand Fan’s column in the Sept. 24 issue of the Guardian. It showed not only a lack of compassion for all of us who have been so profoundly affected by the recent tragedies, but it also showed a lack of understanding of basic human emotions.

While I agree that it was sad that there were so many flags displayed in the week following the terrorist attacks, it is not for the same reasons that Fan thought so. I think it is sad that it took the deaths of thousands of people for us to realize just how great our country is and to have the pride to express that. I think it is sad that we had to go out and buy flags because we should have had them already. Now I only hope that this pride in our country does not fade as the shock of these horrid events begins to wear off.

I also think that it is sad that Fan does not understand that there is so much more to the flags than pride in this great country. People are displaying their flags to feel a sense of community. Seeing people with flags lets us all know that there are others out there who feel our pain; it lets us know that we’re not alone in this time of suffering, but that we are part of a group.

As to the comments about Americans spending so much money on flags when the money could have gone to the Red Cross, I have a question for Fan: How many times have you spent money on things like meals out, magazines or brand-name clothing when you could have donated that money to a good cause?

I could be wrong, but I bet you never have. Not that I am any less guilty of these offenses. I’m just trying to point out that people spend lots of money on things that are much less important than American flags, but Fan is not putting these people down. Purchasing and displaying flags is part of the healing process that most of us are going through and it’s sad that Fan is condemning us for that.

Even more unfortunate than this hypocrisy is Fan’s statement that he is not a “”poser”” because he did not give blood or donate money. Doing anything you can, great or small, to help in a time like this is not being a “”poser,”” it’s being a compassionate person. I would like to commend the many people who have ignored what people like Fan think and followed their hearts. If we were all “”posers”” who gave our time, our money and ourselves on a daily basis to help those who need it, this world would be a much better place.

I feel that it’s sad that Fan does not understand and feel patriotism during this time in our lives. I also feel that it’s a shame that he cannot understand the sense of community and pride that displaying the American flag gives to so many of us.

— Jessica M. Long

Roosevelt sophomore

Editor:

I am going to do something that will probably make me unpopular in the eyes of many students; I’ll do it anyway because it is what I truly believe. I’m going to take The Koala’s side regarding the allegedly racist comments printed in its September issue.

I justify this because I do not truly believe that The Koala hates Jewish people, Asians or any other group on campus. I’m quite sure, with a population of this size, that there are individuals among us who harbor irrational hatred toward various groups. We all have a low-key resentment of the regents and the local administration, but I cannot believe that any group or organization holds true hatred or enmity for any other group here.

People need to grow thicker skin and let small slights and comments of this sort slide. I’m tired of people jumping up and crying “”racist”” and “”hate crime”” over small things like this. Anyone reading this has my explicit permission to call me a bigoted honkie or a racist cracker. Why? Because of an old adage that ends, “”but words will never hurt me.””

Kristallnacht was hatred. The Japanese internment camps of World War II were hatred. A three-line comment about a fictitious fraternity is not hatred.

I believe that we already have a hate-free campus. Day after day, month after month, we get along with each other. We hate finals, lengthy writing assignments and an overload of work, but not each other. We’ve had tense situations on campus before, but at no time since I arrived here in 1996 did violence break out or did anything get damaged.

People will argue about times when things have appeared in the middle of the night or items have gone missing. To that I can only answer that it doesn’t happen often, and not to a single group over and over. Those incidents are probably not the workings of a single group. Furthermore, if the only hatred we have on campus rests in the minds of individuals, then the only solution is a form of thought policing. I don’t think anyone is comfortable with that.

Are The Koala’s comments in bad taste? Of course! The Koala is nothing but bad taste from cover to cover — that’s why we read and enjoy it every month.

The Koala should not be praised for its latest issue (aside from the general “”good job, you printed another one and made us laugh””), but neither should it be punished.

–Steve West

Revelle Fifth Year

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