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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Of Ward Churchill
I have avoided this topic for the last week or so, despite the heat of the debate, and for several reasons.
One, as a C.U. alum, this didn't shock, surprise, or frankly, even raise an eyebrow. I was at CU from 87-91, during which time I lived through the anti-apartheid/divestment movement, the Nichols Hall movement, and then, eventually, the protests to the first Gulf War. There was this character at CU who would spend his entire day screaming at anybody who happened to walk by "his" UMC Fountain about the evils of capitalism, the greed and corruption of "the man", and any other topic he happened to wander onto. Me and my buddies called him the Fountain Rat--he could have easily been Ward Churchill. During the anti-apartheid days, a movement got afoot to try to force CU to divest from South Africa, and any company that did business with South Africa. At its height, this movement spawned a shanty town, in which hundreds of these students(?) lived in boxes and under cardboard props and in sleeping boxes--in the UMC Fountain area. There was another series of protests by American Indian groups (I don't know if Churchill was among them) in front of my dorm,which at the time was called Nichols Hall. Apparently the man whom the Hall was named after took part in the Sand Creek Massacre; never mind that he also went to extraordinary lengths later in life to secure funding for the University from the legislature. The Dorm is now called Cheyenne-Arapahoe Hall. And, of course, the first Gulf War was cause of much campus radical activism and goofiness. So, though memories fade, none of what Churchill has said or done seems out of the norm of University behavior.
Secondly, I try never to devote much thought or energy to idiots who, ultimately, have very little power or influence in the world. When Ted Kennedy spouts off, that's important because he's--near as anyone can tell--the leading intellectual/ideological light of the Democratic Party at the moment; when Ward Churchill spouts off, most people go "who?" Besides, there's an old Chinese proverb about wise men arguing with fools, and he definitely fits in that third category.
And third, I thought that eventually either Churchill or his supporters would reeal themselves for the childish, churlish, moronic, hate-filled fascists that they really are. And today's exhibition at the Board of Regents meeting certainly accomplished that.
About 100 supporters of Ward Churchill showed up at a University of Colorado Board of Regents meeting called to discuss the controversial professor.
While the meeting was initially open to the public, no time was scheduled for comment. Instead, Churchill's supporters spoke and booed during the proceedings until one student was escorted out by police and the regents voted to convene the rest of the time behind closed doors.
After the regents left the room, a shoving match ensued between one man and an officer. In the end, two people were arrested.
What they are revealed for, these disciples of Ward Churchill, are hypocrites who espouse the wonders of free speech but are willing to resort to violence to prevent others from exercising their own free speech. This is the danger of a man like Ward Churchill, who I suspect is slightly sociopathic and delusional with a heavy dose of a messiah complex. His type finds weak minds to manipulate and then drives them to excesses of behavior to which he himself is unwilling to resort, all the while living quite comfortably on his $100k salary and tenure.
And that's all I'm gonna say on this.
But if you want more intelligent and thorough commentary, check out Joshua's work on this, or go the Caplis and Silverman website (the two radio deejays who have really been driving this story)