Defacing property shows disdain

he most talked about soap opera on television, starring John Kerry and George W. Bush, has managed to pique the interest of at least one Western liberal, causing him, her or them to deface a bench on Western’s campus laden with Bush’s words to the American people.

On Sept. 20, 2001, President Bush said, “The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us…we will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.”

This quote, engraved on a marble bench that sits below the Guthrie Bell Tower, was manhandled earlier this summer in an act we believe was unnecessary in order for someone to express their political viewpoint.

While any students, activists or people concerned with the well-being of their freedom, prosperity and happiness should fight for their rights and fight for what they believe in, they don’t need to stoop to the level of damaging a memorial created to honor the life of a man who died in the Korean War.

The Guthrie Bell Tower is a memorial dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives during battle. Would you scratch out someone’s name on the Vietnam Memorial? What’s going on in Iraq is a war, no matter what Congress says it is or isn’t. The quote is about fighting for freedom, a freedom many young soldiers (some of whom go to this school) are dying on a different continent at this very moment. Discuss the politics, don’t deface a monument dedicated to the memory of soldiers.

Instead of damaging public property, why not host a rally on campus to educate those misinformed about the ins and outs of a presidency that some feel needs to be replaced? Hang up fliers explaining what Bush did wrong and what he did right. Instead of creating hostile energy, maybe students should go out and change the world with their words instead of scratching out someone else’s on a marble bench.

Because a group of men gathered in Philadelphia in 1776 and created the Declaration of Independence, we inherited a list of unalienable rights that allow us to disagree with our government.

So raise your hand in class and talk about what you saw on the news; talk about how your cousin, brother or father was sent away to war and how it makes you feel. Practice your right to assemble and to speak freely; start a debate.

Hundreds of thousands of people have swarmed the streets of New York City this week to protest the Republican National Convention, carrying pseudo-caskets and Kerry signs, risking a trip to jail or getting shot with rubber bullets to show the world they think America is in the wrong hands. They’re sticking their necks out to fight for a cause they feel is right, and this is more effective than vandalism.

In Louisville, the Courier-Journal reported several people ripping political bumper stickers off cars and people swapping Bush yard signs for Kerry yard signs in the middle of the night, and vice-versa. Are these tactics working? They’re bringing attention to the upcoming election, but not allowing anyone to learn anything. The only thing people gain from seeing the bench by the bell tower is the knowledge that someone, somewhere hates George W. Bush’s administration and wants him off a bell tower in Bowling Green.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s seven member editorial board.