Aug 09, 2020
From left: Lars Maischak, Greg Thatcher and Randa Jarrar.

Editorial: Will we learn from our mistakes?

It’s the politics of it all that has us spinning in circles.

We have been here before, and we will likely come back to this same place in the future. We can predict that another professor or administrator or even a student will soon face the wrath of online attacks for what they may say or do if it offends political junkies on either side of the spectrum.

We find ourselves in a quagmire. It is the result of Fresno State English professor Randa Jarrar’s far left remarks on Twitter calling Barbara Bush a racist who raised a war criminal. Jarrar’s comments are shocking. Some of the responses from the right have been worse.

The problem with politics today is that we are not looking to make friends with strangers online who hold different views – much less make amends after we’ve let out our vitriol.

When Jarrar said Bush was a racist who raised a war criminal, we saw no attempts by those who disagreed to understand what she meant and we saw no attempt by Jarrar and her supporters to fix that problem. Instead, the entire situation went into a menacing downward spiral.

The question for the Fresno State community is: what, if anything, should we do together to survive this digitized political division that is here to stay?

The fact is that social media is a hotbed for political speech and activity and any idea is subject to be torn apart by people next door or some who are thousands of miles away. Mistakes will be made on both ends of the political argument. And we can learn from them.

We don’t need to get into arguments over everything. That a professor at a public university criticized the Bush family shouldn’t worry anyone too much. She’s a professor who is tasked with teaching difficult subjects, often some that will make your blood boil.

The Bushes are a powerful family. They can take care of themselves, or they wouldn’t be one of the biggest political dynasties in the United States. John or Jane Doe don’t need to speak for them or even fight their fellow man for them.

Two people with different mindsets should be able to come together and explain the differences in their beliefs – even in 2018.

There are ways to check power in the biggest and smallest levels of America’s democracy. Those systems will do the hard work for us. There needn’t be a mob of Twitter users attacking a single person for her views when a system is in place to make sure she knows it when she did something wrong.

We’d ask for you, the reader, to simmer down and relax. The internet is not going anywhere. Politics is not going anywhere. Your energy is best kept doing things that benefit you and it doesn’t need to be wasted over spilled milk.

The next time this online political faction reaches too close to home and you must respond, carefully craft your views. Be modest in your response to different opinions. And more importantly, don’t do it in a place where your thoughts are limited to 280 characters.

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Civil rights groups call for investigation into Randa Jarrar to stop