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Passions in Poetry

Where is the line drawn?

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Skyfyre
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since 08-15-99
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0 posted 10-15-2004 01:58 AM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

I arrived for class yesterday to an unusual sight.

The field in front of the Student's Center, usually occupied only by students eating lunch or simply passing the time between classes, was peppered with hundreds of 8x11" signs staked into the grass.

On each sign was the name, rank, hometown, and "date of death" of a US or allied soldier.

I realize this is supposed to be some sort of protest of the war, but I was appalled.  The manner in which these brave men and women were represented in this display was cold and disrespectful - they may as well have piled bodybags on the lawn for shock effect, it would have been no less inappropriate.  I was shocked all right, but not in the way the organizers intended - who is to say that these people did not die fighting for what they believed in?

But there they were, staked into the grass, like so many scarecrows to frighten the children.  Colorless, meaningless numbers on a page.

Argue politics if you will.  Protest the war, and mourn the dead - but have some decency and do not mix the two.
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
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1 posted 10-15-2004 02:12 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Please know I admire you as I say, quoting first:

"Argue politics if you will.  Protest the war, and mourn the dead - but have some decency and do not mix the two."

There's more than two facets and if those two weren't mixed already I'd have no protest.

Once upon a time I had a very hard time getting into a woman's clinic, as I had to sneak through protesters. I sat there, watching them from the window once I was safely inside, and I was indeed asked what I thought about it...

My answer was

"They have as much right to be there as I do to be HERE."

Freedom's confusing sometimes but well worth it.

and no, not always tasteful.

but always worth it.


Skyfyre
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2 posted 10-15-2004 01:00 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

Believe me, I'm not disputing anyone's right to protest anything.  I am merely commenting on the utter disrespect of turning these fallen soldiers into some faceless symbol for their little crusade.

Mistletoe Angel
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3 posted 10-15-2004 02:56 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I respect and sympathize with your thoughts and feelings and opinion here, I really do. While one person may find a demonstration toned at an appropriate way, it could seem offensive to someone else. I think that is applicable to most forms of demonstration.

However, I have to say, because I am a firm believer in the Noam Chomsky philosophy that freedom of speech means EVERYONE has the right to freedom of speech, that they should just have the right to demonstrate what they want to. Noam believes even the most outrageous, or crazy citizens of the world, whose opinions are unthinkable or inconceivable, have the right to say what they want.

With that said, if you feel offended by this, or some of your peers do likewise, you have every right to protest. Don't be silent, let them know your concern. You have the right to make a counter response! Just be respectful and reasonable when you do so.

Personally, judging by the description of this demonstration, I wouldn't be offended. I don't think this is in any way demoralizing our young men and women in uniform, and is rather doing the opposite. It is trying to strike an aesthetic response to everyone, "...never again!". Never again should our young men and women have to experience the horrors of sensless wars like these and the numbers won't keep adding up in loss.

I believe you CAN do both, in protesting the war and mourning the dead. War hurts. War scars. War kills. And I don't believe anyone should be hurt, scarred, or killed this way. I don't believe in war, which terrorizes whole communities like that.

But, of course, that's just another opinion.

If many more agree with you and are offended by this, then perhaps you can convince the organizers to have their demonstration elsewhere or consider an alternative way of symbolizing the losses. Otherwise, I say just be respectful and let them be as long as it needs to take.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

inot2B
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since 09-18-2000
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Alabama


4 posted 10-15-2004 06:11 PM       View Profile for inot2B   Email inot2B   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for inot2B

If the college allowed them to do this then they have the right. Just as you have the right to write a letter to the Dean or the school paper to say you didn't like the display. Personally, I feel it was in poor taste.
I do not think every group has a freedom for anything they wish to do. If I saw a group burning our "American Flag" I'd make such a scene that I'd proably be arrested.
Skyfyre
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5 posted 10-15-2004 10:02 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

quote:
Never again should our young men and women have to experience the horrors of sensless wars like these ...


Do many of the soldiers fighting and dying over there consider it a "senseless" war, do you think?  Do you think they wake up every day and say, "Gee, we're fighting for nothing important over here?"

Not attacking you personally, but as you said, wars kill, wars scar - not just the "senseless" ones - and whether or not this war counts as senseless is a topic of great debate which I don't personally want to get into.

I just want a little respect shown for the men and women who fought and died for this country.  They are not numbers.  They are not symbols.  They are not rallying points for your little Dems vs Reps propaganda war.  Whoever set up this protest didn't even have the courage or decency to attend their own protest - they just stuck the things in the grass and left it at that.  How convenient, and how very cowardly.
Alicat
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Coastal Texas


6 posted 10-15-2004 10:24 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

Even not taking my view into account, though that view would be simply shaking my head at those who fully enjoy the rights and priviledges others paid for, there is a distinct difference between what those protestors did, and what Noah's Portland group did.  The Portland protest was done in the light, where all could see and hear.  They showed bravery, and physically stood up and marched for their beliefs.  This other group came in the dark of night, cloaked in shadows, and set up their protest so they would not be seen, would not be identified, would not be called down, would not have their views challenged.  Bravery versus cowardice.

As an aside, I would not be surprised at all if the group behind that paper cemetary had as their impetus the 'Bush will draft you' hoax, reinforced by the DNC and Senator Kerry.  Their exploitation of the war dead was not merely a protest against war, but also a protest against the supposed draft.

I wonder if they'll ever have the courage to march in the light, or, perhaps, they'll stage another paper cemetary of Iraqi names, towns, and dates of death as they are catalogued from the mass graves.
Mistletoe Angel
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7 posted 10-15-2004 10:50 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Well, you see Skyfyre, just now you have added a dimension to your argument in which I agree with.

In your original response, you didn't mention the "cowardice" aspect to the argument, the "didn't even have the courage or decency to attend their own protest" prism to it.

But now that you've said that, yes, that was a cowardly form of protest. A true protest should be a formal statement, a proclaimed gesture that reverberates to the public front, center and live.

I agree that our soldiers are no numbers, symbols, objects. No human being should be treated like a trivial number or be treated like digits in black math demonstration.

If you had mentioned how it was cowardice at first, I would have agreed with you. I do agree if they really feel strongly about what they believe, they should reveal themselves publicly and speak out.

Now, I do believe this war is senseless and immoral, but I agree also it is a great debate and this is a different argument.

I honestly don't know what to think about the draft rumor. I believe there is way too much fearmongering in our society, and in result so many young people now feel Bush or Kerry is capable of restoring the draft. Having learned of House Resolution 163 being crushed in defeat, I'm optimistic this won't be the case whatsoever, and I think theBlatantTruth.org overreacted or just scaremongered. Having to do with that demonstration, I'm not sure how related or unrelated that is.

Thanks for opening up this discussion!



Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20
Skyfyre
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Posts 1966
Sitting in Michael's Lap


8 posted 10-16-2004 12:21 AM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

Yeah, sorry I didn't mention that at first, but it took me a good two days to calm down enough to post anything coherent about this.  I was literally that ticked off.

No protesters, no name of the group sponsoring the protest on the signs, nothing.  I have no problem with someone who stands up for what they believe in, whether or not I concur with that belief.  However, this was no such animal - I feel that the departed in question were exploited in the worst possible way to further some group's agenda.

Oh, did I forget to mention they were doing voter registration on campus that same day?

If I were a family member of someone in that "cemetary," I think I would sue.
Kellie_Cantrell
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since 05-22-2002
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Washington State


9 posted 10-16-2004 05:17 AM       View Profile for Kellie_Cantrell   Email Kellie_Cantrell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kellie_Cantrell

I think that it is like a poem or fine art, it is all in (an individuals) interpretaion of it.
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


10 posted 10-16-2004 09:42 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

During the Revolutionary War, a third of Americans
were in favor of independence, a third just as vehemently
opposed with the remainder neutral, ( material and military aid
from France was crucial to American independence
becoming a reality).  Were it not for the fall of Atlanta
shortly before elections, Abraham Lincoln would likely have
been voted  out of office and replaced by  the head of a party
whose platform contained the intention to seek an end
of the Civil War without reuniting the country or ending
slavery.  At some discomfort level, let alone point of
personal risk, many if not most Americans would not
fight for the people of New York City much less those
of a foreign country, (including England or Israel).
The Japanese in World War II, the Communists in
both Korea and Vietnam all relied on a lack of American
home resolve in the face of mounting casualties as the
way of winning their objectives against superior
American material wealth and military power.
Remember Lebanon.  Remember Somalia.
The Islamic fundamentalists and Saddam Hussein’s
kind are acting on the same confidence.

Saddam Hussein and his kind murdered hundreds
of thousands, men, women and children.   Expertise
in rape and torture were attractive skills for those
seeking a career in their government.  But  we
knew all that for years and did nothing that hindered
much less stopped it.  It was only after 9/11 and
after all the major world intelligence organizations,
(including that of France, Germany, and Russia),
were convinced that Saddam’s regime still had weapons
of mass destruction, ( and were seeking more),
and suspected , (in at least Russia’s case
publicly acknowledged, by Putin), plans to
attack the United States directly or indirectly at
home and/ or abroad that the United States
with allies finally struck to end it. We have not
found those weapons in significant quantities hence
there was no threat to the people of the United
States hence the war was in hindsight a mistake.
Now Americans are being asked to fight and die
for the chance for freedom and democracy for a
people we were quite indifferent to being
massacred before.

American personal lives matter, no one else’s does,
at least not at the expense of physical risk
of American personal life and limb.  Life
can’t be a party if you’re dead.  That beneath
all appearances is the reality of the mentality.
No one is claiming the war in Iraq is immoral,
(as they did with Vietnam), only wrong as a
mistake because it costs American money and
lives with the benefit primarily going to
those for whom Americans  really didn’t and do not
care.  Let others argue the morality of such
an attitude.

As to the fallen being used, who cares,
they’re dead; they don’t matter either.

Grin and bear it.

John
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
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11 posted 10-17-2004 06:39 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't understand why outside a special institution, such as a school, people's ideals for decent learning enviroment fall down so many grades, that now they think it appropriate to do such things, that never a teacher or student should do in a school.  Why is it different?  In any right world, it is incorrect in a school,; teachers shall not have licence to use horror and shock.  And yet people that know nothing about teaching at all and often just wish to make contraversy, have the "licence" to use the worst methods of expression out and abroad.  Isn't the world a learning enviroment too?
We say our teachers should use good manners for teaching and we pursue a good learning enviroment in a school, why don't we say the same about demonstrators and politicians, and people more generally in the press and throngs, that they observe the better manners for learning and for a decent learning enviroment, or they should not have the "licence" to demonstrate.
People pursue learning and light in school; they should carry and keep that more outside of school too.  
Learning is light, not spite.
serenity blaze
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12 posted 10-17-2004 08:09 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Actually Linda, I am more sympathetic than my initial reply might imply.

I used to work for the State, and my office was located directly across from City Hall.

So I do understand your dismay, as I have seen some distasteful sights as well. The problem is though, as protests go, the more distasteful, the more publicity, which is, of course, their aim.

Alas, it goes with the territory I believe.

Essorant
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13 posted 10-17-2004 08:36 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Fair aims do not justify foul games.
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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Waukegan


14 posted 10-17-2004 08:42 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


"Fair aims do not justify foul games."

Sometimes, yes they do.

Hitler was a monster who got sexual gratification
by having women urinate and defecate on his
head as they stood over him; and yet this man
was allowed to lead a people that had produced
Beethoven and Goethe into committing
against themselves and the world one of
the great horrors of history.  If someone
had taken a shotgun to him in 1933 who
can argue it not justified?

John


Midnitesun
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15 posted 10-17-2004 08:51 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Sad. Whoever put them there, for whatever reason, should have the intestinal fortitude to own up to it and stand by what they believe. But if no one ever admitted to the deed, how can you be so sure of the motive or intent, or assign the deed to any particular group?
It was a cowardly hit-and-run act.
Brad
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Jejudo, South Korea


16 posted 10-17-2004 09:17 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Logically, no. It would be unjustifable to murder Hitler. Given the argument, the premises undermine the conclusion.

Doesn't mean I wouldn't give it a shot though.

Brad
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17 posted 10-17-2004 09:20 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

By the way, I'd never read anything like that about Hitler's sexual practices. Where did you get that? Honestly, it sounds suspiciously like the same arguments made against homosexuals on hate sites.

And I have heard the argument that Hitler was gay.
Huan Yi
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18 posted 10-17-2004 10:25 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Brad,

“By the way, I'd never read anything like that about Hitler's sexual practices. Where did you get that? Honestly, it sounds suspiciously like the same arguments made against homosexuals on hate sites.”

It comes from a note on page 249 of Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death”
where he quotes and summarizes from “Adolf Hitler’s Guilt Feelings,”
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1971, 1, No. 2: 229-249, by someone
he familiarly refers to by his last name; “Waite”.  He also notes from
the same reference that each of Hitler’s mistresses did or tried to
commit suicide.

John
serenity blaze
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19 posted 10-17-2004 10:44 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Actually Brad, I'll have to find the source, but I had heard that about Hitler.

I'll see what I can do...
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


20 posted 10-17-2004 11:27 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


No man is evil himself.  No man is evil because he is alive or because he is he.  Therefore, no man should be treated as if he is the evil itself and be slain.  
Evil deserves to be killed.  Evil influences, evil thoughts, evil weapons deserve to be killed.  Not men.


Midnitesun
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21 posted 10-17-2004 11:46 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Evil thoughts? Ess, excuse me, but how do you
(1)identify which thoughts are evil?
(2)kill them?

As for the signs, I'll say it again, I think they were offensive, but probably not illegal unless the school prohibits such.  
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


22 posted 10-18-2004 12:13 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Essorant,

“No man is evil himself.  No man is evil because he is alive or because he is he.  Therefore, no man should be treated as if he is the evil itself and be slain.  
Evil deserves to be killed.  Evil influences, evil thoughts, evil weapons deserve to be killed.  Not men.”

Tell that to the parents of a child who was raped
tortured, dismembered and then murdered.

Some men can and do consciously and deliberately choose evil;
and there are women who love them.

John
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


23 posted 10-18-2004 12:32 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Evil thoughts? Ess, excuse me, but how do you
(1)identify which thoughts are evil?
(2)kill them?"


1.  A Destructive thought is evil.

2.  You don't even need to know where
    evil thoughts are.  As long as you
    think good thoughts, and share them,  
    they shine thro evil thoughts like light
    thro dark.  
    
    
    
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


24 posted 10-18-2004 12:50 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Tell that to the parents of a child who was raped tortured, dismembered and then murdered.

I would, John, and more importantly, I support that the laws that already do.

The problem with vengeance is it's as often misdirected as not. You might reconsider your stance if those parents, in their overwhelming grief and anger, had any reason to think YOU were responsible for their loss. Emotion, though real and compelling, is a poor foundation for justice.

quote:
Some men can and do consciously and deliberately choose evil;

I don't believe that for a moment.
 
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