Why are we listening to Rocker?

Dear Editor: Permit me to preface the following point of view regarding a current controversy which is beginning to transcend President Clinton’s Foreign Policy, the positions of the two presidential candidates, the plight of the needy, the grotesque fluctuations of Wall Street and the present state of the human condition; namely, the John Rocker incident by stating that, in no way do I endorse his comments nor do I feel that he should be applauded, but I merely implore the general public to regard the matter in a logical frame of mind rather than in a paradoxical and contradictory manner at best and a self-deceptive one at worst. John Rocker’s fervid critics maintain that his utterances are those of a stupid man and yet attach tremendous importance to his remarks by becoming completely disconcerted and enraged by them. We have been reminded through the centuries that strong reactions can only be directed against those whom we consider worthy of these reactions and yet we respond with rage to someone whom we claim to be obtuse, thereby elevating Mr. Rocker to a position of consequence. Abject contempt for the statement of an individual can be far more forceful by a complete disregard of him. It seems that our society has reached a plateau of ultra-sensitivity that has surpassed any previous period of time for, in our desire to be politically correct, we have lost our sense of proportion. I recognize that some statements and actions occupy a unique area of evaluation if we are to sufficiently uphold the dignity of life but, nevertheless, there is an element that is being egregiously overlooked and I refer to objectivity. We should be able to subjectively absorb a distasteful statement while also appraising it on a purely rational plane. Let me repeat that I resolutely appreciate the posture of the severest Rocker critics, but I also reserve the privilege of attempting to dissect the entire picture-a synthesis is the result of combined ingredients and can only be arrive at through detachment. It was Voltaire who said: “I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Similarly, the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States affirms that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. Howard Lawson


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