The lost columns

May 022012
Authors: Jesse Benn

As the semester and my time writing for the Collegian come to an end, I’m left with a list of ideas that I’m out of time to write about. So, this last week I’ve decided to offer up some brief thoughts and bullet points, a potpourri, if you will, of my otherwise lost columns.

Up first: Christianity and the bible.

Can we stop taking this stuff so literally?

I’ll never forget sitting in class in second grade while three girls told me I was going to hell. Not because of anything I’d done or would do, simply because I didn’t believe Jesus was my savior (he’s not, by the way).

I still think anyone who believes in a deity that jealous and cruel has some serious unresolved issues.

Really though, we’re a few hundred years since the Enlightenment, so it’s about time we treated our religious stories as just that: stories. Whatever you think about it, we know that the New Testament was written hundreds of years after the stories in it took place –– back when we didn’t keep the most exact historical records.

We also know that since its first writing it has been translated, transcribed, edited and then edited again. So, even if it was the word of God to start with –– which it wasn’t, it was the word of man, or at best the word of God as described by man –– we know that it has since been changed repeatedly by man (specifically men).

*The Qur’an and Old Testament shouldn’t be taken literally either, for the record.

Okay, now some bullet points.

– English only” and freedom of speech are mutually exclusive.

– John Boehner will go down as one of the worst Speakers of the House, ever.

– The Tea Party wouldn’t exist if we elected a white president in 2008.

– The scary thing about Willard is that if he somehow wins the election, he is too spineless to stand up to the House tea baggers.

– The phrase “tea bagger” is fair game because the tea baggers hastily bestowed it upon themselves.

– The idea that atheists are more immoral than people who are religious is scary, because it suggests the only reason religious people are moral is because they are scared of that story book we talked about before.

– If the opposition in Afghanistan was smart, they wouldn’t fight this season. We’re leaving soon anyway and the less they fight, the faster we’ll leave and the more of our money we’ll leave there with them.

– If the U.S. was smart, we would have left Afghanistan years ago. Since we aren’t, we should leave as soon as possible.

– Racism hasn’t gone away. The idea that it has is a new, common form of racism.

– Speaking of racism, while Ms. Mayo missed the mark, she was trying to say that if we all were less worried about making a bad joke, like many of the ones in her column, and more worried about meeting new people, learning about new races, cultures and ethnicities, we’d all be better off. Her intent was lost in the impact of her words, but it doesn’t mean it was without merit.

– The outrage over Trayvon Martin’s killing can teach us as much about the difference between classes in this country as it can teach us about race. If you don’t know what I mean, Google around to see how many young, poor black kids have been killed in similar incidents, and ask yourself why you never heard about them.

– The idea that Occupy is an anarchist movement doesn’t make sense and is part of why it is failing –– OWS came about as a reaction to deregulation that led to increased inequality; it should be calling for more government, not no government.

– People who blame politicians for gas prices don’t understand international markets.

– Austerity during recessions doesn’t work.

– Ron Swanson from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” only used to be a caricature; now he represents your average House Republican.

– Obama is more conservative than socialist.

– If we want to fix our long-term deficit issues, we need to address health care costs, not raise taxes on the rich by three percent or cut safety nets for the poor.

– We should raise taxes on the rich by at least three percent.

– Republicans love raising taxes –– as long as it’s on the poor and middle class, not the rich or big business.

– It’s not that universities are “liberal,” it’s that science, history and facts are.

– And finally, progress always wins.

Jesse Benn is a senior political science major who is looking forward to what’s next. His column ran Thursdays in the Collegian, 2011/12. He can be reached at

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