To the Editor:
After reading the diatribe of Alissa Stollwerk (“Dialogue is great, but only if it is for real,” 11/17) and her misleading interpretation of both the post-election Republican tone, my words and the events of the “Don’t Mourn, Organize Rally” of Nov. 4, I wanted to set the record straight and address some of her concerns.
Firstly, Stollwerk speaks of “arrogant” Republicans unwilling to extend the same respect to Democrats that they constantly call for. She evidences her claim by citing the push of the YCR for bringing back ROTC to campus (which, according to her, will further divide liberals and conservatives rather than uniting them), and the actions supposedly taken by members of my organization at the aforementioned rally. This gathering, which Stollwerk claims was unambiguously “peaceful” was presented to me by the event organizers as an opportunity to “gather together, channel [their] anger — [and] plan how to resist Bush for the next four years.” After hearing this description, I informed Republicans of the time and location of the protest and suggested that we make our presence known.
After seeing that the tone of the event was one of quiet organization between liberal groups, my fellow Republicans and I ensured that there would be no chanting, jeering or antagonizing. The megaphone which Stollwerk speaks of was never used, and, despite being verbally attacked by disgruntled Democrats like Stollwerk, I was proud of my Republican colleagues for not responding to such provocations.
Stollwerk is right about one thing: I am not the “great conciliator” nor have I every alleged such. I am the leader of a partisan group on this campus who, on most issues, will be at odds with Democrats. My point has always been, however, that these differences should not preclude civility between both sides of the political spectrum. The push of the YCR to bring back ROTC was not intended as means to further divide — the bulk of signatures we have collected thus far are from liberals who believe in the importance of the military and do not want to restrict the right of their fellow students to serve while at Yale.
I am sorry that Stollwerk is having a hard time interacting with the Republicans who she “enjoyed and hated so much.” She has a right to be frustrated with the outcome of the national election; she does not have the right to portray campus conservatives as something we are not.
Al Jiwa ’06
Nov. 17, 2004
The writer is the president of the Yale College Republicans.