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EDITORIALBOARD The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor in chief having final responsibility. Editor in Chief Kalee Bumguardner


Managing Editor Mattie Williamson

7.7.2009 page5

Think nothing

Opinion Editor Jason Staggs


Palin should find new way to serve the public


e were surprised to hear of Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation last week, but are glad that she is doing what is right for her family and the state of Alaska. It is a disgrace that the chief executive of one of the United States can be made to accumulate such a substantial personal debt, due to legal fees arising from official actions, that she is driven from office. We hope and are confident that she will be able to raise the funds necessary to pay off these debts, and that her successor, unencumbered by the vicious attacks that have plagued Palin since last fall, will be able to serve the citizens of Alaska more fully. Although we sympathize with her, we urge her not to run for higher office. Her résumé is not one that recommends her to serve on the national stage. Having completed less than one term as governor of the 47th most populous state in the nation, she has left the electorate outside the “land of the midnight sun” with little on which to judge her should she choose to run for office in 2012. Her previous jobs, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, and as city councilwoman, while they speak to her dedication to serving her fellow citizens, reflect an absence of preparation for national office. Gov. Palin’s 2008 campaign for vice-president revealed that she has a telegenic personality, but she appeared incapable of straying successfully from packaged and re-packaged talking points in both her speeches and interviews. Since her return to Alaska after November’s disappointing election results, Gov. Palin has unfortunately shown that she is not capable of simultaneously governing even a small state and managing the complications resulting from her national exposure. Her lack of experience in international affairs, and the absence of any experience dealing with large and diverse electorates who any national leader must represent, provide convincing reasons for us to recommend that she stay away from elected office for a substantial number of years. She has a family to help raise, many legal and financial issues to deal with, and most promisingly, a guaranteed niche as an attractive and eloquent public speaker. We hope she will energize the Republican party over the next few years and contribute to the dynamism of American politics as President Obama slowly becomes stale news.

TOSUBMIT Mail call must be fewer than 200 words and include the author’s name, classification, major and phone number. Staff and faculty must include title. Guest columns must be fewer than 700 words. All submissions should focus on issues not personalities, become property of The Battalion and are subject to editing for style, clarity and space concerns. Anonymous letters will be read, but not printed. The Battalion will print only one letter per author per month. No mail call will appear in The Battalion’s print or online editions before it is verified.

Osa Okundaye — THE BATTALION


ast spring, the country was temporarily horrified to hear of the polygamist practices of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, who were uncomfortably brought into the public eye by a raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch. The group, which numbers well into the thousands and lives in isolated communities throughout the southwest, believes that polygamy is a mandate from God and necessary to reach heaven. Girls as young as 11 or 12 years old are regularly married to men in their 30s or 40s. As was quickly discovered after the raid last year, most of these children don’t feel abused. Occasionally, traumatized teenagers and adults do escape from the group speaking of its evils, but most don’t see anything wrong with their culture — it must be we who are wrong. The refusal of the children, almost unanimously, to admit to anything which might incriminate their elders was a key factor in officials ultimately returning nearly all of them to the ranch with nothing to show for their trouble. Which begs the question, where is the line between culture and cult? Sure, the rest of America “knows” that raising children to believe that pedophilia is OK is wrong, but is that just our cultural bias? All children are raised inside a cultural box of some kind, be it America, Texas, conservative or liberal. But when the boxes become so tight that the children are forbidden to question and are never exposed to other ways of life, that box becomes a prison. Thankfully, in America closed cultures like this are rare, but that isn’t the case everywhere. Over 90 percent of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the group responsible for the barbaric, merciless war in Uganda, are kidnapped children. As the army raids and pillages, violently murdering along the way, they kidnap children who are young enough to be convinced that theirs is the right way. They’re stolen from their families and taken to encampments where they are taught day in and day out that the LRA is right and this is the only way. If the chil-

Kat Drinkwater

We cannot escape the influence of society, but we can shape our destiny. dren survive to reach adulthood, many will become leaders in the movement. Recently, four children under the age of 14 who were being trained as suicide bombers were arrested in connection with al-Qaida. The use of children as combatants is, unfortunately, well established. Becky Fischer, a pastor featured in the documentary “Jesus Camp” thinks they’ve got the right idea. “Where should we be putting our efforts? Where should we be putting our focus? I’ll tell you where our enemies are putting it. They’re putting it on the kids. They’re going into the schools. I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and in Israel and Palestine and all those different places.” How can a child learn that killing is wrong, if they’re told only that it’s right? How will they learn that sometimes boys like boys and girls like girls, and that doesn’t make them any less of a person, if they’ve only been taught hatred? It’s like expecting a child who has never heard anyone speak to learn to talk. They won’t. When people aren’t allowed to think for themselves, when children aren’t allowed to ask “why?”— when they’re deaf, blind and mute to all outside influence, told what to believe and those beliefs are daily, rigidly reinforced by the society they are immersed in — that’s a box that’s too tight. Because when they start feeling that something’s not right about what they’ve always been told,

what then? The boxes that most of us here in the U.S. grow up with and deal with every day aren’t turning us into murderers or pedophiles, but damage is still done. Subtle prejudices and double standards become built into our thinking, and it breeds people, like shamed pastor Ted Haggard, who don’t know how to be themselves and wind up living conflicted double lives, never feeling content. Lately Haggard is largely unemployable. He’s selling door-to-door insurance, in between promoting his post-fall-from-grace documentary. But at 52 years old, he’s finally gotten out of his box, and he finally has a message that, more than just a crowd pleaser, resonates with him, too. Because despite that charming smile, Haggard could never completely get behind the message he preached before. It was one that came from his box, but not from his whole heart. Humility, forgiveness and the struggles we all face will be his new theme. Getting out of that box may be one of the best things ever to happen in his life. Everyone is formed by their environment, predominately our parents or caretakers. At some point, often in college, everyone has to examine the world view we were equipped with and decide if it’s something we want to carry into adulthood. I hope you find yourself thinking about why you believe what you believe and how you plan to raise, or are already raising, your children. Because even a box that yields a model citizen is still a box. Life requires a dynamic explanation, not a box with the top nailed on. People who are isolated from the world believe what they’re told, although they’re not sure why, until they start wondering and their box starts splintering. College isn’t too late, 50 isn’t too late; take off the blindfold, get your fingers out of your ears and step out of your box.

Kat Drinkwater is a senior University Studies-Honors: psychology and neuroscience major.

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The Battalion: July 7, 2009  
The Battalion: July 7, 2009