I wrote my first column because I was enraged by the lack of patriotism displayed at Yale in the wake of Sept. 11. I didn’t plan to make a habit of opining on the editorials page, but when I was asked to write regularly for this year, I gladly accepted. I intended to represent viewpoints not commonly heard at Yale but hardly marginalized in the rest of America. In short, I had hoped to bring to the Yale community a reliable dose of conservative common sense.

Over the past year, however, it has become evident that common sense isn’t highly valued on this campus. Nor is civil debate. Nor are ideas that fall outside widely accepted liberal doctrine. Between hostile e-mails, vitriolic comments posted anonymously on the Yale Daily News online forum, and nasty pranks played before the entire college, many readers have demonstrated their inability to disagree respectfully. I fear for the state of political and intellectual discourse at Yale when thoughtful argument is replied to with slander and personal attack. If Yale is, as I firmly believe, supposed to be a training ground for America’s leaders, what does this say about the future of national debate and dialogue?

My hope is that this type of response can be attributed simply to collegiate antics, although I remain concerned. A more optimistic view is sustained by all of the serious feedback I have received over the past several months. Many have been very generous in their compliments and support; others have been equally generous in their critiques and objections, but their input is no less appreciated. I have never insisted upon unexamined agreement, only have I hoped that readers might listen and think seriously about the ideas being presented. In this lies the spirit of politics, of discourse, and of learning.

If through my column I have caused but one reader to seriously re-examine and reflect upon the issues discussed, and have thereby contributed to campus debate, I will have considered it a success. I offer my sincerest thanks to my parents for their unflagging love and support in this and all of my endeavors, and to all of those who have taken the time to read and to respond. I also extend my best and warmest wishes to the University and to all who live for God, for Country and for Yale.

Meghan Clyne is a senior in Branford College.