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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Students blind to world's realities

Author: Drew Pugsley

As we sat in the Grille pondering a topic for our article this week, Estye Ross actually had a pretty brilliant idea, believe it or not. We conducted a poll of all of the people in The Grille at about midnight on Oct. 22. The Question: Are you satisfied with the way in which the current administration has responded to the events of Sept. 11? In light of the 90 percent approval rating that President George Bush has garnered since Sept. 11 from the general public, the 56 percent approval rating (31 percent disapprove and 13 percent don't know) that he was given by the Middlebury College students and employees Monday night is not terribly encouraging. The results of this survey, however, are definitely indicative of something that I personally consider to be extremely disconcerting much of the Middlebury College community is, in general, exceedingly naïve and idealistic.

I would first like to briefly address another important issue on which Estye and I may actually agree somewhat. This is the issue of apathy on the Middlebury College campus. We found that many of the students like Daniel Roda '04, who claims that he really is pretty ignorant, are actually very interested but do not have time to involve themselves politically as much as they would like. We were both pleasantly surprised to learn how interested most students truly were. I would like to thank all of the political groups on campus: the New Left, the Progressives, the Republicans, the Democrats and Julie Baroody '03.5 and Joe Schine'03 for organizing events to help heighten political awareness.

Ideally, of course, even President Bush would love to be able to deal with this international crisis with zero casualties. However, as I have stated time and time again, Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan have not offered any cooperative gestures, whatsoever. Therefore, collateral damage is necessary in order to resolve the unique predicament in which we now find ourselves. I am appalled by the fact that at least 31percent of this community is too shortsighted, idealistic and irresponsible to recognize this. Unfortunately, because I am still trying to identify the origin of this naïve idealism, I really am not sure of any way to fix it other than through discussion.

The fact that much of this community is still to quote Stacey Dash from the 1990s hit movie "Clueless," "in [its] post-adolescent idealistic phase," is actually not such a horrible thing. I just happen to find the fact that many women and men who are our age are actually fighting this thing while we just sit here and criticize them to be incredibly disturbing. They don't have the luxury of just hopping up to Burlington in their Audis or Volvos and putting their hundreds of dollars of newly purchased khakis from Abercrombie and Fitch or, in Estye's case, $150 leather pants from the Gap, on their parents' American Express Card.

The issue of naïve idealism bothers me on another front as well; the prospect of having such a naïve and idealistic leader is a very scary thing. This could have startling repercussions for the future of this country and the world if people do not grow out of this. If the United States, with the help of its allies, is not able to disable terrorism, other targets in the United States and around the world will be hit. And sometimes the only realistic, effective way to accomplish this goal is military force. War is an absolutely necessary component of international relations and if our leaders are not able to understand its utility then the United States will not be able to retain its position in the world and the terrorism will continue from all ends of the globe.

Finally, Estye and I would both most sincerely like to thank those who took time from the Yankees game, e-mails, homework and friends to engage in discussion with us on this issue.