On today’s front page, we have a story from a local student who was confronted at a Campustown pizzeria in Ames the other day by a group of guys chanting “Build the Wall!”
The only wall I see is the one around those people’s closed minds.
As ugly and hateful as politics has become this season, it is no excuse to abuse others. And it is never okay to target people based on the color of their skin or the language they may be speaking.
The sheep standing in line who joined in on this chant should be ashamed. The instigators are probably just ignorant, drunk, or likely both; what was the others’ excuse to be so rude?
Imagine being a young female student and having a bunch of men come at you at a public place, where you are just trying to get a bite to eat with a few friends. Imagine a whole crowd being stirred up to humiliate you, and wondering if you are even safe to walk out… put yourself in their place.
No matter what your politics, you have no right to be a… - well, you can fill in your own term here, we’re a family paper.
What should bother us isn’t a few rude people - there are a few in every crowd. It is how easily the rest of the people are manipulated to blindly follow.
I also recall hearing of an incident among BVU students boarding the bus to return to campus from a local bar recently, when black female students were told they should have to go sit in the back of the bus.
Didn’t we put this kind of dimwitted racism away in the 1950s and ‘60s? I wonder if this public incidents would have been happening before the current election campaigns.
Make of that what you will when you go to the voting booth.
At the incident in Ames, one woman, and only one woman in a lengthy line, chose to say anything on behalf of the victims.
What about the rest, who may not speak the hateful things, but lack the courage to speak up against it when they have an opportunity? Not one person had guts enough to say, “Stop this - these are human beings?”
Those who started the chant know nothing of the young women they targeted - including their immigration status. All they saw was brown skin, and that was enough excuse for them to feel superior, entitled to intimidate others.
They are about as blind as the federal leaders who refuse to support a Dream Act, so that young adults who were brought to this country as small children and raised all their lives here have some chance to earn their citizenship.
How can you not see this? This country is aging and suffering from a welfare economy… it desperately needs bright, ambitious young people to work, raise families, make homes in our communities, pay taxes and Social Security, and send their children to our schools and colleges.
And yet supposed “leaders,” instead of encouraging the best and brightest to become educated and involved, would throw these young people away.
All their small minds can think of is to build walls and more walls.
And to one small extent, they are right. Our country does need stable, protected borders. It does need to control who is allowed, and it badly needs reform to a broken immigration policy and citizenship process that Congress has proven incapable of doing anything productive about.
But be careful what you ask for. The same walls that are used to keep people out can be used to keep people in - ask Berlin. And when you start addressing your problems with walls, it tends to be hard to stop stringing that razor wire.
If you think a wall is the answer to all this country’s issues, fine, everyone has the right to their opinion. Good luck with it.
What we don’t need is racial harassment. And to hell with anyone who claims to be a leader if he or she tells or shows you otherwise. Hatred solves nothing, it is the reaction of a small, poisoned mind.
I have lived in Ames, attended Iowa State University and I am proud to send my son there. I refuse to think this kind of behavior is the norm for people. Goodness help us if our country has come to that.
If there is anywhere that should foster understanding and acceptance, it should be our university towns, Storm Lake included. Hearing of this behavior should startle and trouble us. We shouldn’t accept it quietly, and one student, Steph Caceres from Storm Lake, didn’t. She told the story, and last time I checked, it had been shared going on a thousands times within five days.
Steph also shares that she has experienced multiple incidents. “I’ve cried and I’ve feared all because my skin is brown and I speak Spanish... because that’s literally all some people see when they see me. But I’m here. And I’m going to finish. And I’m going to finish strong.”
So there, you go, fellas. If your little chant was meant to scare students like this off, looks like you picked the wrong girls to pick on. I believe you just made them more determined.
Hate has a way of backfiring, doesn’t it guys?
Then again, there are always people looking to go through life building walls, and always people looking to tear them down and build bridges instead.
You get to pick which kind you want to be.