The fool at the table

IUS Horizon

There is a fool at every table, and if you can’t find them, then it is probably you. That is an interesting poker analogy, but it is fun to broaden that to everyday life. And better yet, you can substitute the word fool for more interesting words. I will just let you use your imagination on that.

Sarcasm doesn’t carry over well into print, and, then again, some people are just too dim-witted to catch it verbally. Columns that are written in newspapers are opinion pieces done by a writer. This column is mine, so it is my opinion. For most rational people, this makes all the sense in the world. There are, however, a few idiots out there that want to lump the staff or my adviser into my piece. Look around the table and see if you can find the idiot.

A few weeks ago I wrote an interesting rant-type of editorial. I got some interesting feed-back on that article. It was on a combination of topics that usually polarize people to one side or the other. Most of us at the table got the point. It wasn’t meant to be a research thesis with definite conclusions to support one side of an argument. It was a sarcastic look at how we all say we believe in free speech until someone says, or prints, something negative or to the opposite of what you feel very passionately about. Thankfully, there were a few of you that obliged my theory.

One fine gentleman wrote to me and told me I needed my rights revoked. I am not sure if he meant my right to breathe, my right to vote, my right to bear arms or any other rights I have as a United States citizen. I am going to assume he meant my right to free speech. I’m afraid this gentleman is still looking around the table trying to find the fool.

This particular example dealt with my feeling on same-sex marriages. We all have an opinion on this and every other subject in the world.

I just heard President-elect Obama and Sen. McCain tell the country over the past few months over and over again that honest debate about issues is what this country was founded on and that we need more of. The point is that you don’t have to agree with me, and I don’t have to agree with you. That is what makes the United States of America the best country in the world. We are free to debate issues without fear of being killed or persecuted for our beliefs.

Free speech and the First Amendment have been popular topics of conversation in the newsroom this semester. And the majority of it has had nothing to do with me, rather the Student Government Association. The hullabaloo started with the use of names in the police blotter being run in The Horizon. The short version of this drama goes like this — the SGA informed us that we should not use the names of students arrested on campus as it will unduly embarrass those students.

We informed them that it was our First Amendment right and duty to report the names of people arrested on this campus.

If you asked around campus about the most popular feature in the paper this semester, the police blotter is on top. In fact, most of the reaction, except for the SGA, has been positive about the police blotter. So, exactly why is the SGA trying to step on our First Amendment rights? Now that a member of the SGA has been arrested for DUI and reported in the police blotter, maybe it is to protect its own organization. The bottom line is that if you find yourself on the police blotter you were either charged with and/or arrested for a crime. Being embarrassed should be the least of your worries and, as it is a matter of public record, we have both the right and responsibility to let the students and faculty know what you did. Is it somehow less of crime if you commit it on campus? The SGA needs to look around their table very closely.

I hope all of you currently on the SGA know that you are not really governing anything or anyone. If you are interested in pursuing real politics someday and just want to get a feel of how the political process works, great. Otherwise, please don’t presume to tell me what I can or can’t do with matters of public record.

In fact, how many current members actually got voted in by the student body? Or did you all just vote in whoever showed up for the empty senate seats? The real problem with SGA table is everyone you see at that table is the fool.

I’m glad Angel Dyke, SGA senate secretary, wrote in this week. Did you get voted in by other members of the SGA? Are you seriously telling me to commit the crime of loitering just so I can see who you are? Are you seriously comparing yourself and the other members of the SGA to members of Congress and Senate at the state level or that of the United States of America?

Stop pretending you are building roads or trying to lower tuition. Stop trying to write legislation that will cover the costs of buying tissues. Stop getting arrested. Go back to hearing arguments on parking tickets and figuring out how many pizza parties a semester you can get away with. And by all means, find a different table to sit at.

By GREG DASSELL
Editor
gdassell@ius.edu