Friday, February 17, 2006

Non Fidelis at UW

I'm so ashamed of my school right now. The student senate has voted not to support even the idea of honoring WWII Congressional Medal of Honor winner Gregory "Pappy" Boyington because we shouldn't honor people who kill. Apparently, even if those people killed were literally fascists who were attempting actual global imperialism.

The award for the Most Asinine Hippy Statement of the Month goes to "Senator" Jill Edwards, representing the Honors Croquet League, who said that she didn't think "a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." This profoundly disrespectful statement for military people in general is disgusting. Are we really going to go back to spitting on the troops? Does Miss Edwards really think the world would be a better place had we not had US Marines in WWII? Certainly this goes beyond disagreement about the Iraq War.

The University itself brags about the distinguished Marine on their official alumni page. I wonder how proud the author of that article is about his alma mater now. More importantly, I wonder how much money they'll be willing to give to the school in the future. I hope President Emmert is taking notice.

Of course, this whole hoopla may wind up helping the school recognize COL Boyington. I wouldn't have known about the effort. If I find a way to donate to the effort, I'll post it here.

Read the full minutes of the Student Senate session here. Contact Miss Edwards here.


Cato said...

Full disclosure: I am a close personal friend of Jill Edwards, who is an exemplary human being.

Point 1: The quotes by her being bandied about were taken out of context. I know you've got the minutes linked, but anyone who's been in a deliberative body knows that those aren't particularly accurate, or the whole story.

Point 2: She's already gotten plenty (thousands) of emails from people all over the country, thanks to the College Republicans and Kirby Wilbur, most of which have been very mean-spirited. She's got the point, she doesn't need to hear it from more people.

Point 3: I disagree with Jill on this one, but I can understand why pacifists would be leery of putting up a memorial that lists off all of the planes, ships or people Pappy killed. (for the best reasons, I know)

Point 4: The proponents of this memorial apparently wanted it to be as big as the George Washington statue. I picture it being placed right next to George, maybe a bit taller, with a fatherly arm around George's shoulder...

Point 5: Come on, people. Who is really concerned, really, about what resolutions the Senate does or doesn't pass? It isn't a democratic institution (it's based on clubs, not population), and if you want a vote, all you need to do is create the "I love Orrin and Pappy club" to advocate your point of view. They pass or fail resolutions for much worse reasons than a concern about advocating warfare.

Just dropping the other side of the story on you. These are really nice people, even if we don't see eye to eye all the time.

And you should all come to the next croquet match.

Orrin Johnson said...

She's got at least one more E-mail from the President of the Military Law Association inviting her to join us this Thursday at the Military Law Association/Black Law Student Association's TGIT, where we'll be drinking beer, eating crawfish, and discussing the military's role in domestic disaster response a la Katrina. I hope she comes, and meets actual military people from UW, since it's apparent she hasn't actually ever gotten to know any of us. I certainly would like to meet her.

Cato, in what context could she say those things and have them not be terribly offensive, anti-Military, and laughably historically ignorant? I'm sure she's a very nice person, but her point of view on this, while she's entitled to it, is simply indefensible. And her defense of "it's taken out of context" strikes me as somewhat disingenuous. Is she embarassed that UW produces US Marines or not? If it were up to her, would she kick ROTC off of campus? Something tells me she would.

If you tell racist jokes in a public forum, you SHOULD get hundreds of E-mails and letters from people telling you that you're being an ass. Likewise, when you use a student fee sponsored event to reinforce the perception of military officers as crazed and happy killers of babies who wish for war without end instead of the defenders of freedom that they are, you should be called on it. Her comments were mean spirited (ignorant at best) in whatever context they possibly could be taken, and I don't mind that she got exposed.

The fact that she feels free to spew such ahistorical nonsense as an officer in a public forum and NOT be called on it is the problem. The fact that you can be educated enough to represent other students in a major University student body and yet be so ignorant of basic American history and the context in which it took place is the problem. And the fact that the IDEA of the memorial got voted down, because Miss Edwards' view was a MAJORITY one - THAT is the problem. And perhaps the idea that the student senate spends time passing irrelevant resolutions on the student fee dime is the problem - but then I've been pretty skeptical of student government since the promised pop machines in the Junior High cafeteria never materialized.

How many other times at other Student Senate meetings have such ridiculous statements been bandied about unchallenged? I will hazard to guess that this is hardly the first time, or even the most egregious comments made on the floor of the student senate, and were in fact majority opinions.

Miss Edwards embarassed her school in front of the entire nation because she engaged her mouth before she engaged her brain. Her comments have the potential to seriously impact almuni dollars the University needs. That's a risk you take for the privilege of having the resume bullet of "Student Senator". I will not appologize for holding her accountable.

Cato, I encourage you to pass along our invitation to her to the law school on Thursday for some free eats, and to direct her to this blog to respond and explain her "context" if she so wishes. I would honestly very much like to hear what she has to say about it.

PubliusRex said...

She also astutely noted that "many monuments at UW already ommemorate rich white men."

I must have missed where there was a racial or economic litmus test for hero status in this country.

"Aw sucks Mr. Boyington, you saved your country in its darkest hour and put your life on the line for your fellow citizens, but since you have white skin and too much money, you're not actually a hero."

In addition to immature, vacuous, brain-washed and sanctimonious, you can go ahead and add racist in from of Miss Edwards' name.

George Washington was both rich (shocker) and white (double-shocker), maybe his statue should be taken down, in fact, maybe we should just rename the whole state. So were Lenin and Stalin and so was Fidel, I might add.
As to your points Cato. Please explain the context we need to understand why her comments aren't outrageous. Please explain to me how a body that makes this decision is entitled to be called "deliberative" and not "reactionary?" Please explain to me why someone who runs for and holds a public office and who then makes mean spirited comments of her own in the service of that office, no matter how petty that office may be, is exempt from "hearing more" from the people she has insulted? Please explain how we should give any credence at all to pacifist points of view when they are as stupid as hers...afterall, we don't tap dance around neo-nazi points of view. Please explain how the merits of the proposal bear in the least on the repugnancy of her comments. Please explain why we should have these pathetic student governments when this is the product of their hard work?

PubliusRex said...

I stand corrected. The racist comment was made by VP Ashley Miller. Remove the racist tag from Jill Edwards and add it to Ashley Miller.

Jill Edwards is just immature, vacuous, brain-washed and sanctimonious.

I'm positive she would distance herself from Miss Miller's comments.

Steve Gillespie said...

Orrin, you shouldn't be ashamed of your school just because it has bad leaders. Look at me! I'm not ashamed of America!

Ms. Edwards's statements represent the American left wing about as well as Pat Robertson represents the right. She displayed woefully bad taste/ignorance/stupidity. I'm also having a little trouble understanding what context would excuse her statements, and I imagine that she is getting a pretty effective education on the subject.

I know that you wanted me to get online and challenge some Federalist stuff, but I agree with most of what you are saying here. I for one wouldn't mind having such a memorial. Sorry. I'll try to do better.

Hillary in '08,


Orrin Johnson said...

Steve, there's plenty of crazies and silly-billies out there who say dumb things without consequence. The problem here is that Miss Edwards' view was shared by a MAJORITY of the students who are self proclaimed representatives of the student body. She's taking the heat because she said the dumbest things the loudest - but you're right. All 41 who voted against are equally to blame.

Welcome, Steve - I'm glad you're here to stir things up!

Cato said...

If we're talking about what showed up in the minutes, Jill made two basic statements:

1. she questioned whether it was appropriate for ASUW to honor someone who killed people.
That seems like a reasonable view for a pacifist to have, albeit one I disagree with vehemently. I certainly wouldn't call it immature, vacuous, brainwashed or sanctimonious, unless I'm willing to apply those labels to pacifism as an entire ideology, which I'm not. In fact, if we want to maintain civil discourse, we should be more gentle in the invective we hurl at individuals than that which we hurl at ideas, not more.

2. (this is the one that got taken out of context) As I recall, the point she was making was that of all of the impressive and noteworthy alumni who could be held up as an example of what the UW produces, she didn't believe that Marines were at the top of the list. I can't agree without looking at a list of distinguished alumni, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. Look around the UW campus. How many memorials do you see to individual alumni? I count none, but it's a big campus. I wouldn't be surprised it there are one or two. So by giving Pappy a memorial, we'd be giving him a spot at the head of a very distinguished class. He might be the most distinguished alumnus we have, and I certainly don't have a problem with putting up a memorial to him. But the idea that there might be alumni more deserving of that honor doesn't strike me as comparable to something a neo-nazi might say.

I probably didn't adress every one of your points, feel free to restate any I missed. Let me reiterate my main thrust: I don't agree with Jill's views on honoring war heroes, but I don't think they're odious, and there are legitimate reasons not to be putting up a memorial to Pappy, whether we agree with them or not.

Orrin Johnson said...


Those are fairly weak qualifications at best. First, I DON'T think that pacifism is legitimate. At all. A person who stands by and watches his nation and his freedom fall under attack and does nothing should be ashamed to look at himself in the mirror. (Did we learn nothing from Spider-Man?) And since her ability to BE a pacificst is derived entirely from OTHER people willing to fight for her, it's also manifestly selfish. I wouldn't use language so harsh as Publius', but I can't disagree with his characterizations of her opinion. She has a right to have a point of view - not a right to have it validated as legitimate when it's not. That slavery should be returned is a reasonable view for a racist to have - that doesn't mean we shouldn't condemn that opinion.

Memorials to alumni LITTER this campus. Buildings are named after them. Rooms within the buildings are named after them. Scholarship funds are named for them. Gardens are named for them. Athletic fields are named after them. And many alumni far, far, far, far less worthy (Jim McDermott) are lionized when they visit by students and faculty alike.

And unless her comments were placed in the minutes out of whole cloth, that is NOT what she said. She said that A (read: any) member of the Marine Corps was "not an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." It did NOT say, "I'm glad UW produces Marines, but think other people are more worthy," in fact, she said just the opposite. And when given the opportunity to clarify, she gave the old canard about wanting to "get people to think".

At the very least she could be consistent. If she is a pacifist, then the only consistent point of view is to think derisively about those who chose to take up arms kill bad guys for any reason whatever.

But it's beyond her. Her sentiments are the feeling of the majority of the official representative organ of the student body. And that's why they all (not just Miss Edwards) deserve our condemnation and derision.

PubliusRex said...

The bare minimum requirement for a point of view to be mature, non-vacuous and respectable is that the point of view be rational. That is the bare minimum.

From this girl's statements, her point of view is that war is always wrong, never justified and that anyone who participates in one is a de facto is not worthy of honor.

That's not a rational point of view. It's really a very childish one. Civil discourse does not require respecting un-respectable points of view.

My ears are open, but I cannot imagine a good explanation for her statements...or at least I've never heard anything remotely close to one yet.

Cato said...


In re my point number 2: That is exactly what I'm saying. The minutes did not accurately reflect what she said as a whole, but did in fact take her words out of context. At least that is my understanding.

PubliusRex said...

Well, what did she say then? If you're going to state that what she did say was out of context, could you please provide us an explanation of how/why?

Cato said...

I think I did in my second post. Her main point, as I recall (second hand, as is all our information) was that Marines (and presumably military people in general) are not necessarily the example she'd give of who the most worthy alumni are. If we are going to be honoring one person, so the theory goes, it should be someone who's contribution to America didn't primarily involve killing people.

Orrin Johnson said...

Cato, that's our interpretation as well. And that sentiment is unacceptable, offensive, and just flat wrong.

He didn't earn distinction for "killing people," he earned it because he was willing to risk being shot at and killed to prevent fascists from extending their control over the world. To that end, because of the fanatascism of the enemy, he had no choice but to kill them. Even taking your context, which I think is reasonable, Miss Edwards doesn't understand this basic and simple distinction, and because of her officially and publicly vocalized and majority supported position making CLEAR she doesn't understand it, then she deserves our derision.

PubliusRex said...

If that's her point, then I am not sure how you can say it was taken out of context?

Cato said...


My understanding was that people thought she was saying that UW doesn't want to or shouldn't be producing Marines at all, and if we are, certainly shouldn't be proud of it. Which I think is different from the statement I articulated.

That said, I think we're spinning our wheels here.