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A tribute to the truly courageous

During my time in Bowling Green I’ve been repeatedly informed that my convictions are abusive to hold and easy to express. Those who represent my political and philosophical opposition are told by these same arbiters that their expressions are a practice in heroism.

While it is somewhat amiss to write a column commending – even circuitously – myself, this judgment must be challenged.

Is it heroic to side with prevailing views?

Whether the opinion is valid is irrelevant for the moment; my point is simply that no courage is required on this campus of any movement involving the words “equality” or “progress.”

On the reverse side, each column I submit to The BG News is a case study in endurance.

I stand by every word I have written in the last two semesters. I believe in the causes I champion and the challenges I issue. And I know that the instant my words are published, my writing, my beliefs and my very person will be assaulted, sometimes threatened and inevitably ridiculed.

Every incidence in which I have been accused of utilizing demographic privilege in order to safely and effortlessly espouse “dominant” views is – in beautiful irony – an articulate statement to the contrary, proof that my expressions are neither safe nor effortless.

I would like, therefore, to pay tribute to individuals and organizations whose genuinely heroic efforts on campus are met with scorn and hatred.

First up has to be the College Republicans (full disclosure: from August 2006 to December 2007, I and an individual also garnering public hatred, Daniel Lipian, spearheaded this organization).

The membership of College Republicans never exceeds more than about 30 individuals, and normally is whittled down to half that by year’s end. Yet they succeed in being one of the most iconic, controversial and courageous organizations on campus.

When planning events, the group is confronted with the inevitable “offensiveness factor” – “can we actually afford to express an opinion on BG’s campus?” As a natural evolution, we protect our members more viciously than a newspaper protects its reporters, and to this day no one is truly the wiser as to which member actually planned the notorious “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day.”

That aside, the College Republicans, in the last few semesters, has succeeded in making headlines on an almost weekly basis and packing the Union’s Grand Ballroom to capacity – twice – regardless of student and faculty sentiment.

My next tribute is to Sam Kettinger and the stalwart supporters of Falcons for Life. While I am not personally a pro-lifer, I must bring to light Sam’s and his predecessors’ valiancy.

If the opposition to College Republicans is combative, Falcons for Life faces a verifiable militia.

Despite this opposition, and very nearly being wiped out when they were denied status by the University, Falcons for Life has succeeded admirably in protesting abortion-friendly policies on campus, including successfully crushing the mandatory abortion coverage in the University-sponsored health insurance program.

Regardless of my opinion, it takes a singularly heroic individual and organization to weather that storm of furious opposition.

Of course the only suitable tribute to follow Falcons for Life must be the local religious organizations.

While organizations like Creed, H2O or ACT do not face the singular fury unleashed on conservative groups, they are engaged in a constant, almost tacit struggle for distinction.

Between defamations by comparison to hellfire-and-brimstone evangelists (an unfortunate Union staple) and general skepticism by even University faculty, the immense value of religious organizations is constantly challenged.

True to their faith, however, these organizations face assailants with patience, grace, and humility – which, from the perspective of one not-so-gracious columnist, demonstrates quite eloquently who’s right and who’s wrong in this standoff.

Finally, my thanks and support to the individual: That one individual who takes on the entire class in order to stand up for what he or she believes in. Those who demand of the progressives to know what, precisely, they are progressing towards and why are labeled as patriarchs, reactionaries and inevitably compared to Hitler.

Those who question definitions of “equality” and “justice” are slandered as advocates of inequality and injustice. But these questions are terribly valid. As a former progressive I remember the leaf-in-the-wind phenomenon of cultural progressivism.

Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with a specific sentiment, I maintain that these organizations and individuals, not the exhibitionists and revolutionaries whose views are in precise alignment with the bulk of our campus, are the true bastion of courage. I hereby recognize and thank them for their valor.

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