Everyone knows that there are at least two sides to every story. Since I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded person, I like to hear both sides before I lean one way or the other. This logic was my motivation to attend the lecture by Ann Coulter. The Republicans of our campus invited Ms. Coulter to speak as a part of a series of lectures titled “American Heroes,” (the term “hero” here is clearly open to interpretation as last year’s “hero” was Oliver North). These lectures are designed to bring a “balance” to the “liberal views” that dominate our academic environment. Wonderful. A chance to hear the other side of the story. I sat with a handful of fellow lefties, surrounded by elephants, and eagerly awaited a chance to hear an intelligent and coherent counter-argument to the beliefs that I have developed at this “liberal” institution of higher learning. I couldn’t have been more disappointed. After the hour-long speech I was sure that I had been warped to the after-hours comedy club for the Republican Convention. Ms. Coulter was full of witty one-liners that were consistently encouraged by a rich chuckle from the audience. The title of the lecture was “The Terrorists and Their Left-Wing Sympathizers.” Terrorism was clearly a side note because it was bash-the-liberals night at UCSB. All of the conservatives in the house were having a great time listening to Ms. Coulter whine about all those whiny liberals.
At this point, however, all hope was not yet lost. It was time for questions from the audience and, although I knew several questions would be a perfect set, spike, score one for the Republicans, I also knew that my friends were armed with intelligent and to the point questions that would certainly be a stick in her spokes. Well, more disappointment. I was right about my friends, they asked great questions, but Ms. Coulter has experience with public speaking and is a master of spinning. Listen to the question, omit any part that might weaken your argument and retort with, in this case, another jab at liberals to get your right-wing sympathizers to laugh at the hippies. All in all I left with a few good jokes and no worthwhile information. No harm, no foul, except that I was somewhat offended by the title of the lecture seeing as how we are living in a time when terrorism is obviously a pertinent issue and it was here reduced to support the arguments of petty politics. I asked my friend Mike for his opinion on the matter and he said, “Listen people – conservative AND liberal – this is a time for understanding and tolerance, and for once let’s rise above the sarcasm and finger-pointing.” Well said, Mike.
I strongly support the young Republicans of our campus in trying to bring a balance to this liberal university in this conservative world. I will continue to attend the “American Heroes” lectures in hopes of seeing the other side. My one request is that in the future the process is undertaken in a more constructive manner.
Nick Brubaker is a senior global studies major.