Mightier than spray paint

 Uncategorized
Apr 142004
 
Authors: Robert Lee

Whiners, y’all in politics are bunch of whiners. That’s okay,

though, because so am I. What may separate individuals like me and

individuals like you is that I hide my whining behind a veneer of

“positive change,” and you make very little effort to conceal what

you’re doing. A little extreme, I know, but I’m sure I have your

attention. What I said about whining may not be true, but the ways

individuals differ in their presentations of criticism are.

The Campus Insanity Project, established by my cohorts, the

College Republicans, proved to us that graffiti can be cleaned up

when somebody asks for it. That’s a good thing for this campus;

destruction of property is not inviting, welcoming or aesthetically

pleasing for visitors. Sure, we took pains to combat a little bit

of liberal bias here and there, in addition to the liberal

graffiti, but that’s well within our right. People criticize us

daily, and in many of the same ways.

Unfortunately, though, “criticism” on this campus was given a

black eye by a couple of whiners with some spray paint and

stencils. The markings around campus saying “Stop Liberal Graffiti”

and “I (heart) Bush” were a shock to me, especially since it was

brought to my attention by a phone call from the CSU Police. These

are nothing more than graffiti; vandalism of the worst kind

committed by scared, weak and afraid children with nothing better

to do.

The act was idiocy, undeniable idiocy. It’s humorous that the

groups fighting against the irresponsible use of First Amendment

rights would do the same deed. Congratulations, kids, our point has

been proven. I doubt that anyone with intelligence will point the

finger at us. Beyond the idiocy, though, those unknown culprits

have demonstrated the difference between criticism and censorship,

and what is intended by both.

I like criticism. It fosters debate, discussion and ultimately

understanding between opponents and friend alike. Campus Insanity

was intended to foster an environment where First Amendment rights

are enjoyed by critical members of our community. The red herring

that College Republicans are engaging in censorship

notwithstanding, I have personally seen a number of instances where

Campus Insanity’s desired effect was realized.

Mentioning the red herring, though, are a few uncritical acts.

First, criticism is not censorship of any sort. Republicans,

Democrats, Greens and Libertarians – they have beef of some type

(maybe not the Greens, they stick to salad) with somebody else.

They criticize the parts of the status quo that is offensive to

them, and they work for change. The only distinction seems to be

that Republican criticism is censorship, while all other is

enlightenment. The reality is that dissention is often welcome,

where or whatever the source. The charges that we seek to silence

is unfounded, unwarranted and is a sign of ignorance.

Second, the vandalism is, in and of itself, a way to silence us.

I’m assuming that pinning some blame on us for graffiti was a

method of discrediting the efforts of Campus Insanity, but without

direct refutation of our arguments. It’s a simple plan really, and

one I tried in elementary school to get a classmate in trouble. I,

and just about everyone else, has grown out of that. As I said,

though, a few kids, without anything better to do, went back to

second grade for a night. It’d be funny if not so pathetic.

I’m here to tell you, all student groups on campus want, and

love, to criticize opponents. Do it, it’s a fun time. Do it

respectfully, though. Words are the weapon of choice. One, they can

be washed off quite easily with a handshake and smile. Two, they’re

more effective. Three, it’s not spray paint that says Colorado

State is a wretched environment to discuss ideas. Come talk to me,

I’ll be more than happy to stop your whining any day. I’m sure you

want to stop mine.

Robert is an ASCSU senator for the College of Liberal Arts. He

is a guest columnist for the Collegian.

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