Tuesday, January 23

Slow News Day

Cordell Eddings, "Colleges are hotbeds of ambivalence over war: Indiana students see both sides, hesitate to discuss topic", Indianapolis Star January 22

It seems there wasn't quite enough Colts news and AFC Champions teeshirt ads Monday to fill an entire issue, and the reporters and editors assigned to the filler took it out on the readership. The guy assigned to cover the brewing controversy over male practice players in female college athletics seems to have decided to just cover one side of the debate and knock off early; no doubt some peeve or other regarding the free buffet was at the heart of someone else's decision to run David "The Dean" Broder on the opinion page ("If the streets are safe, it will be easier to insist that the Iraqis working in the ministries do their jobs, without fear of retaliation against their families or themselves"). Then there was Mr. Eddings' piece.

The amazing universal claims of the headline are the result of interviews with four students spread out over two Hoosier campuses, or roughly double the Star's usual rigor.

The other remarkable discovery Eddings made, but does not seem to have realized, is that 100% of ambivalent college students are, in fact, war supporters whose ambivalence stems from the apparent failure of their personal good wishes to have any effect on events 6500 miles away. Or so the methodology suggests.
It's getting more and more difficult for Indiana University senior Lauren Schafer to read news about the war in Iraq.
But as a political science major from a military family, she really can't escape it.
"I have to make myself read about it," said Schafer, who has become largely disillusioned about the war -- not because she is against current actions, but because she's conflicted.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she was for the war. "It was the 'rally around the flag' idea," she said. But her views have shifted....

"College students honestly don't know what should be done. We don't know what should be done. We don't like what's being done, but we don't have any better ideas," Schafer said.
Butler sophomore Cindy Gil agrees that many students are confused about the war, which is reflected in the way the topic comes up on campus.
"In class, it is not something people really want to talk about that much because it's such a sensitive topic," said Gil, 19, who said the events of 9/11 still have people on guard when discussing politics.
"It affected so many people . . . a lot of people are not really willing to delve into that issue," she added....

IU freshman Michael Rinehart remains optimistic but says it will take time before the United States sees success in Iraq.
"I know mistakes were made, but reconstruction always takes time," Rinehart said. "It will definitely show more results. It's a good start, and we should be able to see progress at least."

Butler freshman Terry Heimemann, 19, said he thinks Bush's plan is justified but also understands the sacrifice involved.
"I have a lot of friends whose brothers, boyfriends and girlfriends . . . are in the armed forces, and many of them are upset," he said. "I think it changes people's opinions when their family is going out there."

I'm not quite sure how Mr. Eddings found his sample audience, but I'm guessing it wasn't when he lectured the local American History Club:
War traditionally has not been popular with students, going back to the Civil War, when people burned draft cards...

Now, I know what you're thinking: these ambivalent kids today, with their ambivalent rap music and ambivalently belted trousers! But we shouldn't lose hope. I have a feeling that someday these future ambivalent leaders will point the way to America's wishy-washy rebirth:
"If I get drafted, I get drafted," Rinehart said. "It's my duty to my country."

And if he volunteers...I'll volunteer.


Anonymous said...

I think it goes back farther, at least to the Marian Reforms. If I get conscripted, I get conscripted. It's my duty to the empire.

punkinsmom said...

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around "hotbeds of ambivalence."