clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

T-shirts And What's Important

People make too much of a t-shirt: Greg Paulus had his picture taken in some UNC togs. We have no idea why; maybe someone just asked him to and he was being nice. Or maybe it's because his brother plays football there. Or maybe it's just the warm-up shirts for the barnstorming tour. Whatever.

We don't own any UNC stuff but if we were going to refuse to wear it, we'd probably refuse more because of the disgraceful treatment UNC students have given to public speakers lately. You don't have to agree with everybody, or anybody for that matter. But two speakers who were invited by a student group to discuss illegal immigration were shouted down by a mob which made it clear that they would not allow them to continue. There's a word for this, and it's fascism. Incredibly ironic, and sad, that it happens on American campuses, not least of all in Chapel Hill, which has a noble history of allowing unpopular speakers.

Although these ideas were deemed unacceptable by the mob, Crystal Mangum, whose false accusations about the Duke lacrosse players caused a huge uproar and devastated a number of people, was allowed to speak freely and was treated with respect.

Athletic rivalry aside, we take a lot of pride in our state university and would prefer it be the greatest public university in the land, but when people are shouted down and violently intimidated, that's an impossibility.

In the 1960s, the legislature banned communist speakers and civil rights advocates were turned away, which is equally reprehensible. Meanwhile, in different venues across the U.S., Malcolm X was speaking and saying things which were profoundly provocative and challenging.

We're not saying that Tom Tancredo is Malcolm X or anything; we don't really care what his ideas are and certainly haven't read them closely. What's important is the principle. If a lying sex worker deserves respect, surely a former member of Congress does as well.

Actually, there's a better word for all this, and that's Orwellian.