Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jill Edwards: In her own words

This is not meant to disrespect Miss Edwards. If anything it is an opportunity for her side of the story to be shown.

In surfing around other Boyington stories, I came upon a link to her after session notes that she posts as a part of her representation of the Honors Croquet League...No I am not making that up...I could never have made that up. Oh come on, it isn't that bad. Moving on.....

As I was saying, in honest fairness, I think it is important to see how she felt about the fray. I am going to post, unedited, her notes from 2-7-2006 (the day of the initial debate and her notes from 2-21-2006. In fairness, suspend judgment till you read them all. I have only one comment, which I will save until the end.

February 7, 2006

Senate this week was interesting. I talked more than I ever have before and realized exactly why I never talk. I apparently upset a lot of people when I opposed a memorial for a Colonel from WWII who had recieved a Medal of Honor and who was a UW graduate. This was the main discussion and rather than go into it, I think I would rather post some of the charming and sweet letters I have recieved since then.

". . . most of you aren't informed at all about that which you discuss. That's a sad commentary about a university education that is supported by my tax dollars. No doubt you all have been corrected for your erroneous and sometimes outrageous remarks (Jill Edwards, Ashley Williams). It is one thing to stand up for your political beliefs. It's entirely another to totally misrepresent the truth for political reasons."

"Against overwhelming odds, [Boyington] helped the overall cause of stopping what had been started on Dec. 7th, 1941 when the United States was attacked by the Empire of Japan. Or had you forgotten? Or did you ever even know? You should be honored that such a person is an alumnus of your school. Most schools can't claim such an honorable person. I'm just sorry that your school has to claim you."

"If it were not for a lot of people like Greg Boyington, you'd probably be attending classes in German or Japanese........... Kinda sad---but such is life in the Socialist Soviet of Seattle, 'ay? "

So there you have it. Thanks, I am thouroughly regretting opeining my mouth. No quote of the week this week, I think the above suffice.

Now, the most recent, dated 2-21-2006, where she does show some respect and regret:

February 21, 2006

A significant amount of time has passed since my last Senate report, and I'm sure all the members of the League are wondering what HAS been happening in Senate since my last update.

As you may recall, at the last meeting some things were said, then summarized, mis-summarized, quoted, misquoted, publicized, and blown out of proportion, intentions were misinterpreted and some people were offended. As my hopefully final statement on the manner: I am sincerely sorry that this happened, especially that people were offended. On an upside, lots of people have been reading these reports; on the downside, I apparently can't spell (no wonder crosswords are so hard for me).

Just so everyone is clear, as I feel I owe you at least, the people I'm representing in Senate an explanation, I am pretty sure I didn't discuss the worth of the Marine Corps as a whole. The Secretary summarized my comments, paraphrasing them in a way that added an extra layer of meaning I didn't intend and by the time it became an issue, people didn't think the difference in meaning was significant. To clarify, I was merely questioning the idea that Boyington deserved a memorial above ALL other UW alumni and if he was indeed the BEST example of a person the UW wanted to produce (people may disagree with me on this point, fine, but I hope they realize it was not intended to be offensive). I never intended to imply that Marines are not good enough for our institution. Also, when I questioned honoring Boyington for killing people, I meant to question if that the one thing of all of his achievements we wanted to choose to honor, instead of his sacrifices, bravery etc, not that we should not honor him on the basis that he killed people. I am NOT anti-military at all. I support the people in the military so much, I would like to see them not killed as much as possible. I realize that in the past war has been unavoidable and I have the utmost appreciation for people who have served and are serving.

Of course, some of you may have heard about the bill to force me to apologize. All I can say about this is the idea of forcing someone to retract their statements because other people disagreed does not hold with what the ASUW stands for.

Now that that is over with: At this meeting, a bill opposing the denial of federal financial aide to anyone with a prior drug conviction passed almost unanimously as I recall. If anyone in the League has been denied federal financial aide due to a previous drug conviction, please contact the ACLU. There is more information on the Senate website; they are trying to create a case to challenge this law.

As usual, a lot of other important things were discussed. Check the Senate web-site or come to the meetings, Tuesday nights at 7.

Quote of the week: From the Simpsons Episode "Bart-Mangled Banner" in which Bart accidently moons the American flag: [Interior of Springfield Shopper newsroom] Editor: (holds up photo of Bart mooning flag) "Alright, who can take a story and blow it waaaaay out of proportion?" Reporter: "I'm your man, boss!" Editor: "I want you to overhype this story so much it makes the New York Post look like the New York Times. Or the New York Times look like the New York Post. I forget which one the good one is."

My only real comment concerns this statement:

the idea of forcing someone to retract their statements because other people disagreed does not hold with what the ASUW stands for

Jill, you miss the point.

Asking you to apologize does not necessitate your retraction of your words, it merely asks you to be responsible and address the offense they caused, and if possible clarify them. This you have done, though I would find it more to your credit had you done so publicly, not in the notes of your Croquet League. Regardless, to take this as an attempt at censorship misses the point. No one wants to censor your words. We just want you to be responsible for them.

Free speech requires responsibility. If your words are hasty and offend, that is a logical consequence, and in the end, as an adult, it's up to you whether you want to address the consequences of that or not. I tell my kids the same thing. You said it, you own it...Now deal with it.

You, according to your notes, rarely participate, and I suppose it is to your credit you got involved at all this time. That should be applauded. You spoke your mind, and exercised your opinion.

But your words, as quoted, seriously offended some people, and if nothing else I hope this makes you a more effective Senator (and person I suppose) by making you a bit more considerate of the effect of your words on others. You are speaking to the record when you speak in the Senate, and the record is ruthless about recording the words you say, something your Washington DC peers often forget as well...

Finally, just in passing, I would say that reading her other notes, one wonders why she is there at all. She expresses a lot of disdain for the institution itself:

For a while during the meeting, and this disturbed me somewhat, I got very caught up in the debate. I started acting like it would make a difference whether we passed this resolution or not. It shook the very foundation of my beliefs as an ASUW senator: that the ASUW Senate has no actual bearing on reality. I had to remind myself that passing this bill would not change the bookstore's policy, that few people out of the senate would care or even know that this bill had been passed or not. So my faith in the pointlessness of senate was restored. But I have a greater understanding of my fellow senators, who actually *care* about what happens. Power is a drug; even when it isn't real it is still psychologically addicting. No wonder they expend so much energy thinking they have great influence when really they don't.

I know little about the Senate itself, but the more I read the more intrigued I get.

Here is a short list of some of its notable resolutions in this session:

Hmm, maybe she is on to something...I dunno, maybe those are key issues to the Croquet League.....