Letter: Safe, but not wrong

As Kevin Symcox’s comrade in Directed Studies, the History Department and, soon, the infamous lower Manhattan, I can relate to the sentiments he expressed in his column (“The View from the 40th Floor,” Feb. 3).However, I find his argument unconvincing.

Our failure to be wild should not be attributed to a lack of inherited wealth as Symcox says, but instead seems to stem from a lack of imagination or courage to pursue the things we think up. Most of us seem to have lost the gut to pursue other paths except the one of “world leader.” Most of us simply cannot imagine being a taxi driver or a flower lady — Yale never taught us that, and we’ve become used to viewing the world by reading The New York Times (or not).

We just want to play it safe.

But allow me to defend the “cowards” that will be walking out of Phelps Gate on their way to the corporate world because, really, there’s nothing terribly shameful about playing it safe. Not every Yale student can, or has to, colonize Mars or save humanity. Most of us are no heroes. And many of us will join corporate America.

And make no mistake: Behind the inspiring slogans of liberty and opportunities, corporate America, with the economic power it creates, is what makes America’s promises credible. While Obama offered hope for all in 2008, the country still needed the professionals to get us out of the recession; while members of the Peace Corps go out to Uganda, we, the ordinary workers of capital markets, grease the cogs of capitalism that help fund them.

After four years, I have come to understand that someone has to be Jack Bauer and do the dirty work to protect innocent people. Someone has to be the Dark Knight, hunted and condemned, for the good of Gotham. Someone has to live humbly, rather than to die nobly, for the cause of America.

And the ability to take that burden without spitting a word of regret, I am convinced, is the true mark of maturity.

Robert Li

Feb. 4

The writer is a senior in Ezra Stiles College and a former staff columnist for the News.

Comments

  • sleepwalking

    Most of us are sleepwalking from childhood and will continue to do so until some event makes us ask: What do I really want from life. Then we can awake and walk on our own volition. Some sleepwalk unto death.

    PK

  • have you considered stand-up comedy?

    “Someone has to be the Dark Knight, hunted and condemned, for the good of Gotham. Someone has to live humbly, rather than to die nobly, for the cause of America.”

    Have fun living humbly on your 50K starting salary.

  • Yale 08

    @#2,

    $50k in NYC is barely above the poverty line.

  • Salinger calling

    #2:

    J.D. Salinger popping through again?

    “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” William Stekhel,

    as quoted to Holden Caulfield by the drunken, closeted, sexual harrasser, Mr. Antolini under the guise of mentoring.

  • PS to Salinger calling

    PS # 2:

    So is Gotham a riff on Salinger or Stekhel or neither?

    PK

  • Yale 08

    “And make no mistake: Behind the inspiring slogans of liberty and opportunities, corporate America, with the economic power it creates, is what makes America’s promises credible. While Obama offered hope for all in 2008, the country still needed the professionals to get us out of the recession; while members of the Peace Corps go out to Uganda, we, the ordinary workers of capital markets, grease the cogs of capitalism that help fund them.”

    Amen, Mr. Li.