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
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.