As a preface to this blog post, let me just say I have a dim view of all politicians regardless of what color tie they wear. I blame my taste in history.
It used to be that back in the day, politics was fun. You could sit around with your buddies and talk about what was going on, and most of the time the politicians would be honest with you and actually work to get stuff done. There was actually a time where the world owed the U.S. money instead of the other way around (as brief as it lasted; there was an economic crisis soon after).
Now, though, everything’s all about polls and statistics (also what killed the TV industry; Firefly is way better than Two And a Half Men, in my opinion, yet the former was axed half way through its first season while the latter has dragged on for who knows how long and gets stupider every episode). Politicians don’t care about the opinions of the American people any more; all they care about is the opinions of the stockbrokers and investors that keep them in power. Was there a popular vote when Obama considered going into Syria? I don’t think so (note: the last time that the U.S. formally declared war on another nation was World War II). I would probably like politics a bit more if they just asked us a bit more about topics like war, domestic rights, etc. instead of just having some guy who I most likely did not vote for saying that I agree with him when in reality I do not.
Why am I bringing this up? The recent e-mail war.
For those of you not at Wabash, a few days ago President Hess and President Brian Casey of DePauw announced that both institutions were opposed to House Joint Resolution 6, which would recognize marriage as only between one man and one woman. Reception of this news was… mixed, to say the least. This eventually spawned an “e-mail war” with multiple people supporting or opposing President Hess’ decision. I hadn’t checked my e-mail at the time, so I ended up missing most of the conversation (although it was more like a flame war than a conversation; glad I stayed out of it when things got a bit heated).
So now I have a chance to voice my own opinions, and get back to my opener of this post: Was Hess’ decision really based off the opinions of Wabash as a whole, or just the opinions of a few investors wanting to curry favor with a specific group of people? If it’s the latter, I cringe at the stupidity of the move.
I’m not saying I’m some rampaging homophobe, I’m just thinking of logistics. If an institution or company says it supports Side A in a heated topic, then everyone on Side B will become alienated with said institution. That might not seem like a big deal at first, but in the long run think of all the support and money you’re not getting from the people who are favorable to Side B. Think of the prestige and accommodations that you’re not getting from that brilliant student that turned away and went somewhere else because you supported Side A and they didn’t. Think of the merger that your company missed because the other executive did not want to be associated with a group that supports Side A. These examples are a bit extreme, but they are still relevant; contrary to the belief that “all people can get along”, there are many intelligent people who hold those views, and they will distance themselves from those that disagree with them.
Also getting back to my original opener, I had no idea that Hess was making this move until the flame war started. It seems like a pretty important topic to not tell anyone about, and I’m sure there are a few people who would like to discuss whether or not it was a path the college should take. But Hess seems to have ignored that. While I have the utmost respect for President Hess, why does he assume that this decision reflects the feelings of Wabash as a whole? Wouldn’t this have been less polarizing if he had just asked us students what we felt? I think all this could have been avoided if there had been some kind of public debate rather than a snap decision that some of us didn’t even know about.
Fortunately, there have been steps to rectify this; there’s a debate at 8 on Friday, and I encourage any students reading this to go and make your opinions known. I’m no rhetoric major, so I’m sure that the debaters would be able to explain the situation a lot better than I’d ever be able to.
As for my own reply to the resolution of “Wabash, as an entity, should take sides in political issues”, I would say “No, unless you’ve asked the members of the entity what they thought first”. What’s the point of an entity of one guy makes all the decisions without stopping to see if anyone might disagree? I normally stay out of politics and debate such as this, but I just wanted to get this out in the open. Go to the debate; I’m sure it will be a lot more enlightening than what I can say.