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I was originally going to title this post "President Bollinger, late to the Free Speech Party," But read on for the answer to the change.
Unlike Moveon.org and the Democratic Party, I listen to opposing views (such as Mahmoud Ahmadinijad and President Bollinger) before I decide to chastise their words. I listened, I read. Free speech lives everywhere except in Iran, US College campuses and the Democratic party.
Mahmoud Ahmadinjad, President of Iran spoke at Columbia University on Monday. Before he spoke, President Bollinger, of Columbia University chastised the president of Iran.
Did he do it because he was brave and in front of an easy audience? Partly. Did he do it because he believes in the War on Terror? No. Like every Upper West Side Liberal, he doesn't vote for Republicans. So, why did President Bollinger attack the President of Iran?
The invitation to an Anti-Semite, homophobic, who rules a country trying to gain nuclear weapons to attack Israel and fight a proxy war in Iraq (as per General Petraus' testimony) offended a majority of Americans. The day before, the New York State Assembly (run by Democrats) and the New York State Senate (run by Republicans) both threatened to cut off funding to Columbia University.
The true test of Free Speech, is not to defend your right to speak, but someone whose views are opposite yours. Defending the president of Iran is a cakewalk -- he is not an American, but he is given the same opportunity. However, in an earlier era, Columbia would have invited Sakharov or Alexander Solzenitzen not Brezhnev. Why not any Iranian Dissidents?
Last year, the Minutemen tried to speak at Columbia University. The College Democrats stopped their speech. Here is the video:
President Bollinger responded with this press release. He took the side of freedom of speech. I may disagree with Jason of Washington Interns Gone Bad, but I would not expect the power of the State to be used to stop his speech or mine.
Disagree all you want with a speaker, but let them talk, than argue. Code Pink's protest in the middle of Congressional Committee Rooms is not "Speaking Truth to Power," It is chilling speech they oppose. When Democrats, their protest cabals and Moveon.org understand the power of first listening, then responding; Political discussions will gain some maturity.
While there is no free speech in Iran, I hope to hear how Democrats propose to make free speech a reality there. I'm listening.