Regarding your readers’ response (April 5-6 edition from Eva and
Derek Shelton) to the photograph of the student holding the “Let’s
Bomb Texas ... They Have Oil Too!” poster in front of City Hall.
Your readers have misconstrued the protester’s meaning and have
implied some troubling things about the very freedoms that our
servicemen are purportedly fighting and dying for.
The student is in no way negating the importance of Texas, its
people or its servicemen, as your readers suggest. In fact, it is
fairly obvious that her poster has absolutely nothing to do with
Texas. The student is simply drawing this sarcastic analogy as a way
to illustrate the reasons why shebelieves we are fighting a war in
Iraq. This is a brand of sophisticated political humor that has been
used for most of the 20th century, and anything inferred about Texas
itself is completely erroneous. To say that she is deliberately
insulting people is to entirely miss the point of her protest.
Furthermore, one of the reasons that President Bush contends that
we are at war is in order to effect regime change so that the Iraqi
people might enjoy many of the freedoms that Americans take for
granted. One of the rights that the Iraqis have not previously
enjoyed is the right to openly disagree with and critique their
leader. Your readers imply that we should fight for this right for
others, but deny that same right to our own citizens.
A free and unencumbered political voice -- whether at the ballot
box or in a peaceful antiwar protest, whether in concert or
disagreement with the current administration -- is critical to our
existence as Americans. The students pictured (and those around the
country who both protest and support the war) have learned quite
early that as Americans, they possess such a voice.
Instead of the arrogant and presumptuous condemnation of shame
your readers have placed upon that student, I would like to commend
her -- along with the other students pictured and your readers -- for
finding her respective voice and belief, and finding a peaceful forum
to express them. In these extremely hostile and violent times, that
is one of the most American things we can do.
STEPHEN J. PIELOCIK