Tattletales for an Open Society
Well, I'd better turn myself in before I do any real damage. I recently graduated from Penn State (where I must have been infected by one of those evil academics on the ACTA list) and in August I will begin teaching high school biology in North Carolina. I just might take my questions about the "war on terrorism" into my classroom and further spread this infection of dissent!
To the ACTA I appologize for my democratic tendencies, and my desire to instill the democratic virtue of a critical attitude in my students. Please add my name to the list in anticipation of my future "crimes." It would be an honor.
Soon-to-be High School Biology Teacher
On September 20, I asked my freshman Intro to Communication class to consider if military retaliation against the innocent people of Afghanistan was really a proper response to the horrible terrorist attack. I asked these young people to consider the following slightly trivial but still relevant example: If an aggressive man assaults me on the street am I justified to turn around and attack his 4-year-old daughter?
When one of my students used the phrase "collateral damage" in response to this question I asked the class to consider whether that phrase can ever be used when it is your own children and loved ones that are being discussed.
Please report me to Dr. Cheney and Senator Lieberman immediately!
Professor of Communication, University of Hartford
I teach a sociology class at Santa Monica College. On December 5, 2001, I shared with my students the American Council of Trustees and Alumni's report entitled Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It. In particular, I reviewed some of the examples in the report that purportedly undermine civilization. During this discussion, I shared with students the following exchange between a reporter and Mohandas K. Gandhi:
Reporter: Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?
Mr. Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.
I also shared with my student's my opinion that the report's rabidly right-leaning bent and fictional idealization of American values is further evidence that we have yet to achieve any semblance of Gandhi's notion of "civilization."
ROBERT M. MYERS
Vice-President, LA Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
Please add me to the list of US academics who are critical of the US response to 9/11. I've been sending letters and e-mails to the White House and Congress for the last three months calling on them to stop their war in Afghanistan. The last one argued that President Dimwit is putting the lives of dissenters in danger along with the lives of supporters by telling the world that we're all united behind his war effort. Not to mention the fact that he's flagrantly disregarding the will of the people that it's his job to represent to the world.
PhD Candidate in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric
I would first like to tattle on my father, who recently said to me that he felt Joe Lieberman has become a huge disappointment. Perhaps Mr. Lieberman considers my father's distaste for him un-American?
And of course there is me as well. From the outset of this so-called "war" in Afghanistan I have questioned whether America could ever end terrorism through the terror that always accompanies the use of military force. I have also greatly criticized Attorney General Ashcroft for his piss-poor defense of the "USA Patriot Act" (what a name, huh?). When he said that the only proper forum for debate on this bill is in a Senate committee and that if any citizens have the audacity to exercise their right--or shall I say civic duty--to question what our government is doing in this time of crisis that they are aiding the terrorists themselves, I was floored. In exercising my own free speech--and even worse, my own free thought--I must be un-American as well! So my name might as well go on that little list as well.
MICHAEL J. SMITH
Well, where does one start? Years of speaking out against racism, militarism, war and economic injustice. Since 1985, when I'd had more than enough of Reagan, becoming a War Tax Resister. Enduring the emptying of bank accounts, loss of wages and threats from the IRS to take whatever wasn't nailed down. Once they discovered there wasn't much worth hauling away, they continued the mail notices but have (so far) gone after more appealing fish. Warning people away from the Bush crowd and having a heavy heart during the election debacle. Knowing that something big would come of the piles of wrongdoing, perpetrated far more by the privileged elite than the growing numbers of poor being marched off to the growing number of prisons.
Indeed, I spoke against the bombing. As I am at age 61 and struggling with health challenges now, my family and friends don't start as many arguments when my flaming rebellion against the tide of injustice comes forth. Surely, we must do something to stop the fallout of such intense hatred against anyone, including ourselves. Bombing, though? I don't think it will produce anywhere near the desired or expected effects.
Today, we see on the news a report about families who lost loved ones in New York, hightailing it off to Afghanistan to speak with people there about loss, endurance and healing. How much more powerful that is than craters in the Earth or the incessant ranting and raving in the madrassahs. Violence begets violence. We have overwhelming evidence of that reality; century after century tells us so.
Yes, I speak out against the war and against Bush and his entourage. I speak out against the "free trade" that minimizes opportunity for workers everywhere and promises to continue punishing the environment as well. I speak out against housing an astonishing proportion of our young black men behind bars while we assure the sons and daughters of the elite can attend Stanford and the like.
In tandem, I speak out against the extremists who blame "the West" for all their troubles, when their own centuries-old history is rife with injustice and murderous acts against ordinary folks--especially ordinary women. In convenience stores in Chicago, I have witnessed proprietors of Middle Eastern origin telling African-American customers to "drop the money on the counter" so that they don't have to touch a black hand. I have seen the hatred in their eyes when I, a pale white woman, toss my money on the counter in protest against their treatment of the previous customer. Profiling? Please. It happens all too frequently in places where there is no news coverage. All of it, from all sides, must end if we are to continue as a specie on this lovely little Blue Planet.
Thanks for the opportunity to tell on myself. Reminiscent of the days, in high school, when I had to fess up to some sort of clowning around. This time, the clown is very serious. There can be no backing down from the commitment to justice, and believing that peace is the way...not the result.
Here's a modest question I plan to ask in my Issues in Modern America class tomorrow:
If we (the United States) attempt to fight terrorism and discontent around the world by encouraging other countries to "clamp down" on their dissenters, if we tolerate human rights abuses in the name of our security, do we help to perpetuate and make worse the conditions that breed terrorism?
English/Language, Bluffton College, Bluffton, OH
It bothers me that so many people think that if you wave a flag, slap bumper stickers of supposedly patriotic sayings and still more flags all overyour cars, and never want to question anything your government is doing (or let anyone else do it), this is patriotism.
I wonder too why and how, if the Soviets had never managed to take over Afghanistan in a long, bloody war, how our military managed to march in, bring down the Taliban, and get hold of so many Al Queda members in a matter of months. Remember when we were told this would take years?
I remember the seeminglove affair the media and the general public had with the Gulf War while I was a high school student. Then, when people found out that our bombs weren't that smart, that we left a maniac in power while thousands of Kurds were forced to live on the Turkish-Iraqi border, and the sanctions we imposedare hurting the general public far more than those in power, people started to realize that it was a dangerous infatuation. The question is, When will the people of America allow themselves to see this supposed "war on terrorism" for what it really is?
Midwest City, Oklahoma
I would be honored to be included on ACTA's prestigious list of the politically incorrect. I fly our American flag. Not because I agree with the war against Afghanistan and the killing of its civilians, but because I believe in our country and its wonderful Bill of Rights. Our United States Constitution is the thread that binds our nation. How frightening it would be to waken one morning without a free voice.
Surely we have not become apathetic to our hard-won constitutional rights. We must not allow ACTA and like organizations/minds to coerce us into submission to their politically conservative policies. They ride the wave of patriotism; banking on a current unquestioning unified emotional state hoping this will blind us to their opportunistic legislation.
I am not a faculty member of a college or university, but am a prospective teacher and, by golly, a card-carrying member of the ACLU.
Graduate Student, Elementary Education
Millersville University, Millersville, Pennsylvania
I do not belong to any academic institution, however I would feel honored to be listed with such courageous, intelligent people (who actually possess common sense)on the ACTA list
I decided to write a book putting my common sense view of corporate America on the line. The following is an excerpt that hopefully will put me on this list:
One last thought on various industries: All "news facilities" are corporate owned...need I say more? Oh well, I will... The mass media defends capitalism! That is because Mr. Catfish will not allow anything on the air or in the print that might be controversial, and therefore, offend any of the people who pay for the privilege of reading or seeing their publications. Not reading or watching them leads to low profits and no advertisers! You will not get a true accounting of most events occurring throughout the world because everything involves capitalism. This is especially true if it involves our government. No news corporation wants to offend patriotic people. So, educated yourself and do not be blind to our nation's faults just because you are a patriot...that is how we end up at war.
I thank The Nation for following a different path.