Letters from alumni about Danny
Glover at PU
Referring to Mr. Woods's letter, I'm in complete agreement with the idiotic maunderings of Danny Glover.
When truth becomes treason, our nation is in trouble. There is a basic confusion in this country. There is an ideal America that was envisioned by Jefferson, and is still carried by many of us, which is often confused with the reality of today, which is a nation whose economy and life are controlled by our multinational corporations. And many of our politicians promote this confusion. Or do they live in it without realizing it.
No intelligent person could believe the things the President says as he tries to whip America into a fearful frenzy so that we will give billions more for more military and more security. He hasn't gotten beyond being a prep school cheerleader. What will all this police power be used for after this phony war is over?
Bush, Ashcroft, and their ilk are doing much more to erode freedom in this country than any group of Muslims ever will.
Years ago historian Tom Corwin 62 said that we should not complain about the government, since it was the only thing that stood between us and big business. It would seem that they had the same realization, since they have been doing everything possible to buy our government.
In the summer of 1967, I made a significant shift. I had been a Marine and had studied politics and international relations. I accepted limited war as a reasonable way to carry out foreign policy. And I accepted the idiotic belief that we are good and they are bad.
During the spring of 67 I did a lot of reading about Vietnam. Several people offered reasonable ideas for ending the war. I thought the war would be over soon. I waited for any of these ideas to be implemented. They were never even discussed by the people running the war. I realized that the people in power wanted the war to go on. I saw that wars are run for the benefit of those in power. I became a pacifist.
Mr. Woods, I'm glad you are proud of the things your son and his friends had to say. And you don't have to worry about them, since they should be in little danger as they kill people with their expensive toys.
David Jenkins 62
One of the delights of PAW is reading the letters from disgruntled alumni decrying something at Princeton they don't like, usually because it's not the way it was in the good old days. Normally I chuckle at these letters and move on, but your January 30 issue contains such a classic collection of old fogey letters that I can't resist commenting.
First in line is a fine example of an old favorite, the "women are ruining Princeton" genre, from one Hugh M.F. Lewis 41. (Why do so many of these people have two middle initials?) Mr. Lewis includes the always-fun assertion that he doubts you'll dare to print his letter even though lots of alums agree with him.
Unfortunately, the declining number of PAW letters complaining about women suggests there may not be many of this kind of old fogey left after all.
Next we have another familiar complaint, this one about architecture, from James F. Lotspeich 44. Mr. Lotspeich decries the decision to have the new science library designed by Frank Gehry, who is considered the greatest architect of our time by many critics and working architects. The writer tells us he has seen Gehry buildings and can't find any redeeming social or esthetic features in any of them. One suspects he feels the same way about the Picasso's in the Art Museum.
The most virulent of the January 30 letters, and the only one that bothered me, is from Robert 0. Woods 62 on the familiar theme of "people I disagree with who therefore shouldn't be allowed to speak on campus." The object of Mr. Wood's ire (he uses such words as "fool" "idiot" and "near treason") is Danny Glover, who apparently gave a speech opposing America's use of capital punishment (a view shared by every other western democracy and a hefty percentage of Americans.) My concern about Mr. Woods's letter, however, is not its substance or even its over-heated language. It is that Mr. Woods is from a younger class than mine.
Please do not print any more old fogey letters from classes younger than 1955. They make me fear that I am getting very old.
John C. Tucker 55
Robert Woods 62 wrote to PAW criticizing the university for affording Mr. Glover a "soap box" from which he spewed forth "hypocritical" and "near treasonous" views on capital punishment. Rather than stifling such nonsense at the outset, the university looked the other way as these things went "on in the universitys name."
Since I did not hear the Glover remarks at a seminar sponsored by Amnesty International, I retrieved the account of his visit in the November 16 Trentonian. Glover, it seems, had the temerity to suggest that the death penalty should not be employed to punish Osama bin Laden. Glover is guilty of consistency in his views, rather than hypocrisy.
If the events of September 11 cause people, including university students, to reexamine the issue of capital punishment, I fail to understand how patriotism is relevant to the debate. The only thing that "went on" in the "name of the university," as far as I can tell, was the presentation of a point of view one is entirely free to accept or reject.
Thank you, Princeton University.
George Clark 69
I have just had one of those existential moments that are so theatrical that they seem contrived. Out here on the frontier in Albuquerque, Mr. Danny Glover's performance, which was delivered with the complicity of the administration of Princeton University, received great coverage in the local media. One of the radio talk shows dealt with little else for hours.
The fact that Glover had been invited by a special interest group was never mentioned; the fact the the university had provided him with a soapbox, on the other hand, received the most profound notoriety. I would not go so far as to say that I am ashamed to be a Princeton graduate, but I am certainly embarassed to admit it around here. Does the administration feel that it owes the graduates nothing? At the very least they could try to preserve some appearance of responsibility for the things that go on in the university's name. A formal press release at the minimum.
Since I thought that he would be interested, (my son had been accepted at Princeton some years ago but chose to go to a service academy), I sent him a copy of the Trentonian account of Mr. Glover's maunderings. My son is now an F-14 ("Tomcat") pilot, currently on an aircraft carrier headed West. His response, which made clear the commitment of himself and his comrades, was so poignant as to make anyone proud to be an American. It is obvious that he understands that he and his brothers and sisters are risking their lives to preserve a system that even affords a perogative for fools to speak near treason in public with no fear of the consequence.
The contrast between the shallow, hypocritical, mindless goings-on that take place in the name of my alma mater and the spirit of the men and women who are wagering their lives to preserve the freedom of fools like Mr. Glover is staggering. When I read my son had to say in response to Mr. Glover, I truly understood for the first time what democracy really means. At the same time I was saddened to finally appreciate the fact that that our gifts have now become so trivialized that one of the world's greatest universities will thoughtlessly allow its name to be appropriated to give weight to the maunderings of an idiot whose only motive is to show a total lack of gratitude to a nation that has so richly indulged him.
Robert O. Woods '62
Princeton loses 13 of its own in the September 11 attacks.....and just two months later, the universitys chapter of Amnesty International held a forum on capital punishment where the Hollywood expert Danny Glover asked for mercy on Bin Laden if he is caught (as well as bashing the current American policy set to try and thwart another tragic events like 9/11). Tell me, were any of the parents, children, or siblings of the deceased asked for their thoughts on this subject?
Robert E. Coughlin 84
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