This Is A War Worth Fighting

To the Editors:

As both an Oberlin alumnus and a self-supporting citizen of the real world, I have been saddened to read various accounts about the recent short-sighted anti-war demonstration in Tappan Square.
From 1986 to 1990 I supported various protests about on- and off-campus matters, including U.S. involvement in the Middle East. I wore a red ribbon at graduation, and in ’91 I marched with the protesters down Broadway in New York City the night “Desert Shield” became “Desert Storm.”
Oberlin is still a fun little vaccuum. My 24 best friends and I spent last May caravaning from NYC to the sleepy little hamlet to celebrate our 10-year reunion. It is still a haven for kids who like to dress and act like they’re not from highly privileged backgrounds. (Actually, I have never met anyone from lower tax brackets who would be caught dead looking or acting like that, but I digress). It’s fun to hiss at non-P.C. dialogue at the movies. It’s fun to mold a world view out of the Starfleet Prime Directive and some Donovan songs, with a little contact improv thrown in for good measure. But, please, children, save the fake war protests for fake wars.
Anyone who has not recently visited Lower Manhattan, which, by the way, is on week three of spouting plumes of smoke, should think twice about spewing Vietnam-era rhetoric at a time like this. We are not in a distant and ambiguous political skirmish this time. We cannot coccoon ourselves in Albert Schweitzer holier-than-thou “let us benevolently and
peacefully counsel peoples of otherness around the world” platitudes after what has just happened. Save the paternalistic upper-middle-class arrogance for the expensive tie-dyed armchair.
–Reed Hays
OC ’90

October 5
October 12

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