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News ::
High School Dissent
11 Nov 2001
Modified: 11:34:13 PM
I was recently criticized in one of my classes for speaking in favor of anti-war demonstrators.
In my 5th period Government
and Law class I was criticized by some fellow students, recently, for saying that I supported many of the actions of Vietnam War protesters.
Keyword being many, I did support peaceful demonstrations, peaceful direct actions, and peaceful sit ins. Violence the likes of which were seen at the 1968 Democratic Convention and elsewhere, and deplorable treatment towards
veterans returning home (many of whom went on to protest the war) I denounce. The class was discussing a Supreme Court case, the name of which escapes me, from 1969 that involved a group of high school students and a school district. The students wore black armbands one day to
school in protest of the Vietnam War. The students were suspended for their
actions. The class discussed this extensively. Whether it was a violation of the students First Amendment rights; how far First Amendment rights
extend into the school; whether the constitution applies to high school students while in school and so on. The teacher asked us our thoughts and
feelings about the way the court ruled and the way we thought it should have. One student said, “I think its bad for people to oppose the actions of their country, especially during war. That’s bad for America. They shouldn’t be allowed to protest.” My thoughts immediately turned to those who were scrutinized and sometimes imprisoned for their opposition to US
involvement in World War I: George William Norris, Jeannette Rankin, Alexander Berkman, Victor Berger, Emma Goldman and Eugene Debs just to name a few. I view them with the up most admiration and respect. They were standing up for what they believed in and, what they believed in was not the popular national sentiment at the time. I added to the discussion, “Not only do I think that the students rights were violated, I
openly support their dissent and protest.” The bell rang about a minute or so after I said that. Time for lunch! While on the way to lunch a friend of mine asked me, “How can you not support your country during a war? That’s bad for the country.” I responded by saying “Just because someone does not support certain policy and actions that their country takes, does not make
them unsupportive of their country.” I continued, “How can opposing killing people be bad? You don’t support killing people do you?” My friend looked at me dumbfounded. My friend shot back “I support killing certain people. Bad people,” my friend finished the response using the latest Washington buzzword “evil people.” “What if that means killing thousands of
innocent ‘non-evil people’, who are barely surviving as it is, in the process? Does capturing a suspected criminal, not even one who has been proven guilty, justify the killings of innocent civilians?” If these questions were never raised - as they’re not being significantly raised now - millions more would have died in wars than actually have. Dissenters and protesters bring up very good points. The lives of millions have been saved and improved thanks to the questions and concerns of dissenters and
protesters. Those who are my age should be especially thankful of the anti-war movement of the 1960’s. If the pressure on Washington did not
reach the extent it did the war, most likely, would not have ended when it did. More young men would have been drafted, sent off to fight, killed and sent home in a box. Some of these young men could have been the fathers of
my friends. Some of these young men could be you. I do not accept the "logic” that the human race is so evil that it is forever tied to the cold,
dark moonlight of war and division, that it will never get to bask in the warm, bright sunlight of peace and unity.
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Huazzah for the youth!
11 Nov 2001
Yeah! It takes guts to speak the truth in high school. Godd for you. Traeting vets returning from nam like shit was stupid (spitting on them for instance). Most were like 19 or so and couldn't possibly understand what they were getting into. Many are still psychologically devastated by what happened to them and by what they did. Patriotic brainwash. I had a gym teacher freak out in the cafeteria once back in high school and he jumped behind a table to hide from enemy fire decades past but still just bubbling just under the surface of his consciousness all the time. I can't say that I disagree with the '68 Chicago thing though, the cops attacked them brutally, people have a right to defend themselves.