Editor’s Note: Rethinking Our Priorities

It is commonly said that things always seem better in retrospect. I want to come back to Stanford for my twenty-year reunion in 2029 as a self-satisfied alumnus who exaggerates his Stanford experience. While I have had some great times here, I must say that 2009 has been a stressful year thus far, probably the most stressful for any Stanford class at least since the Vietnam War. While most Stanford students are not directly affected by the War on Terror due to low military participation rates, we all are faced with the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. I fear that 2029 might look like 1929.

Instead of talking about pressing national security and economic concerns, too many would rather discuss Proposition 8, Condoleezza Rice’s so-called history as a “war criminal,” and “sweat shops.” The Prop. 8 talk hit home with The Review, as we had to rent out security services due to some hateful talk directed at Senator Rick Santorum—a social conservative that we brought to Stanford to talk about the continuing problem of terrorism. The protests were primarily directed at his stance on gay marriage and some comments he made a few years ago regarding the issue. We did not bring him here to talk about gay marriage or his stance on social domestic issues, but that did not stop several of our newspaper stacks from getting thrown off of our distribution racks or from having Santorum event flyers getting ripped from bulletin boards. The protestors at the actual event were civil, and we appreciate that. While I have no problem with civil protest, I only ask that the protest is relevant to the event that is taking place, and that it not interfere with our own freedom of speech. Attempting to silence us through such bullying tactics as throwing away stacks of newspapers is completely unacceptable.

The Stanford Review makes an easy target for protests regarding gay rights because we are perceived as the “fascist Republicans” when one fails to acknowledge the paper’s strong libertarian base that exists along with social conservatives. Rather than protest ethnic minorities, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposition 8, it is much easier for many instigators to direct their attention towards a conservative newspaper. This minority voting trend with respect to the gay rights issue is not something that mainstream news wishes to discuss because the same demographic that voted heavily in favor of Prop 8 also voted heavily for Obama. I have absolutely nothing to say about Prop 8 or its court case and am only directing criticism at those who tried to impede our distribution and Santorum’s speech on terrorism—a topic that we as a nation still need to be concerned about whether or not we agree with all of the Senator’s views.

Moreover, the movement to label Rice as a “war criminal” is absolutely absurd. Rather than focus on Rice’s possible tangential awareness of some maltreatment of some detainees, we should talk about the future: how do we get out of Iraq in a way that ensures that we will not have to later go back and sacrifice more American lives and dollars? Also, we need to continue to talk about Afghanistan and Iran, but I do not see how criticizing our public officials helps our prospects. In 3 years, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could easily become “war criminals” as well. I am still waiting for “Stanford Says No to War” to have the audacity to condemn Obama for his continued offenses in Afghanistan, Iraq, and cross-border raids in Pakistan.

In addition to security, the economy should absolutely be a top priority for the entire country, and the Stanford community. As you will see in this issue, those protesting the “sweatshops” havelittle answer for how the economy is going to recover or how those oppressed in sweatshops would find jobs if it were not for the American corporations employing them. We might instead want to talk about whether the minimum wage, healthcare rules, and corporate taxes should be lowered to encourage American industry on American soil.

There is plenty with which we can be outraged about as a Stanford-wide, and nationwide group. For starters, we were let down as Stanford invested irresponsibly and can no longer afford to give professors any salary increases. Bin Laden still roams free in some Central Asian cave. Our government let us down through its regulatory and housing loan laws. Now, we have a Congress that is spending money that we have not even made yet at a rate of two dollars for every dollar it currently takes in taxes. The idea that Obama is pushing for a $600 billion healthcare reform package should seem laughable, but it very well might pass.

Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees (or palm trees for that matter). That’s why the
first copy of The Review is free on campus to students, but if you take fifty copies or more in protest and start throwing them in garbage cans, they cost $20/issue. Also, please recycle.

Thanks,
Brian

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