In the past ASM has passed ridiculous resolutions far outside their scope, leaving me to wonder if they think ASM represents the students of this campus, or rules the entire human race. Yet, just when we need their “ASM as the seat of world power” rhetoric the least, here comes another useless, and in this case out-of-line, resolution.
Jennifer Epps, the diversity committee co-chair, has introduced a resolution ostensibly supporting the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but in fact condemning our government.
The resolution was submitted at the Sept. 20 meeting and will not be debated or voted upon until the Oct. 4 meeting. Although the resolution has not been argued in council, I could not in good conscious wait to take aim at this particularly offensive bill.
The resolution correctly draws parallels between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of two weeks ago. Sixty years ago, our nation was viciously and unjustifiably the victim of a secret attack, and on Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of innocent Americans lost their lives in an equally vicious and secret raid.
But the resolution loses its perspective when it equates President Roosevelt’s order to intern Japanese-Americans during World War II to the recent instances of harassment and discrimination directed toward Arab-Americans. The former was a government-sanctioned atrocity perpetrated in the name of national security; the latter is decidedly not sanctioned by our government, or by any rational citizen of this country. In fact, such actions have been roundly criticized by those at the highest levels of our government, especially President Bush.
The resolution goes on to clearly take aim at our country. It states:
“ASM resolves to stand in firm opposition to any acts of terrorism, including those acts committed by our government.”
This thinly-veiled assertion that we have brought this on ourselves heaps more hurt on those who have suffered than it does on the government the resolution is attempting to condemn. Whether you believe that America has committed terrorist acts or not is irrelevant. This condemnation simply does not belong in a statement supposedly eulogizing fallen citizens. How, in a statement of solidarity for the victims of an awful crime, do you condemn our country, and offer terrorists mitigating circumstances for bombing innocent Americans?
In an even more callous and thoughtless paragraph, the resolution ties the dictatorial Taliban regime to our government, seemingly placing them in the same category.
“Be it further resolved that ASM condemns any further loss of innocent life, and calls our government to make the distinction between the innocent and debilitated people of Afghanistan and the Taliban regime (which we helped create) that controls the country.”
This statement has very little to do with supporting the victims of the attacks, and everything to do with spreading more anti-government and, indeed, anti-American sentiment. The idea that the United States helped to create the Taliban regime is clearly debatable and should not be included parenthetically, regardless. But what is really troublesome is the fact that the resolution has again departed from the stated purpose of remembering the victims of terror to take a shot at the U.S. government.
Is it so hard to resist making a condemning statement, even if doing so jeopardizes the earnestness of sympathy for the victims? I cannot pretend to understand the motive behind this bill. If it is to support those that have died, it has failed; if it is to condemn our government as a terrorist group, it has failed.
By combining what seems to be real sympathy for the victims with hackneyed anti-social rhetoric, Epps has subverted her own cause and shown disrespect to those hurt the most.
If (or rather, when) ASM passes this resolution, it will be another example of how far afield our student government is from reality.
I challenge ASM members to vote against this measure in order to send a message to students that you are representing the whole, and not a rancorous few. Will you choose legitimacy?
I can only hope others will see the passage of such an abject resolution as an affront to those who have suffered and as a complete waste of time for student government. In the future, perhaps ASM will focus on its own little fiefdom, and leave the running of the world to someone else.
James P. Kent ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in economics and business management