Staff Editorial

As the old Lawrence rumor mill continues to churn out misinformation about the purportedly diabolical schemes of past events, it’s a bit disenchanting to hear the kind of responses that our campus has been generating. As a community that claims to value diversity, it seems that our quest for understanding extends clear across the globe, yet too often stops short of the most important issues that have enveloped American political and ideological thought. It is the opinion of the Lawrentian staff that many of the liberal students on campus have used the perhaps miscalculated actions of student groups as an opportunity to discredit the ideas and aims of an important voice on campus.
There was an article in a Seattle newspaper in February that recounted a guest speaker in the ’50s at Lawrence. George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party at the time, came to speak at Lawrence to a campus that, presumably, widely and adamantly disagreed with his ideas. The majority of the audience listened respectfully to the entire speech and exited without applauding or saying a word. The campus wasn’t successful in crushing the spread of extremist ideas that day, nor did they make any great strides in the quest for social justice. Nonetheless, those students did something that was more powerful than any editorial, demonstration, or rally could have been. They learned.
It seems that when it comes to politics students underestimate the value of an academic environment like Lawrence. The opportunities for civil debate and educated discourse are difficult to come across in the “real world.” Every time a conservative student bites their tongue at the lunch table or refrains from raising their hand in a classroom, the student body misses an opportunity to learn, and thus come closer to understanding that which may seem incomprehensible.
Acceptance at its most base function is a far cry from understanding and as any athletic coach will tell you, the more you know about your opponent, the stronger your team is come game day.