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Letters to the Editor 1/24

Actors have the right to speak their minds

I have read many letters recently condemning actors and actresses speaking their minds about the proposed war in Iraq. I would like to say that even though I don’t agree with what they are saying, I believe that they have that right to speak their mind, even if their opinions are uneducated and ignorant.

I applaud Sean Penn for trying to educate himself on the subject and visiting Iraq. Penn found out firsthand just how the people of Iraq live and was able to see the lies and terror the people of Iraq live with each day.

Though he does not fully admit it, I know in my mind that he was not fooled by the circus show he saw on his visit.

I think it is great that actors, actresses and all famous people, for that matter, have come to realize that they are people who can make a difference.

I just wish they would use this form of influence in the domestic arena teaching children by example that they should not use drugs and that an education is important.

Children see on a daily basis that their favorite sports stars are being arrested for domestic violence or the use of drugs, or that their favorite movie stars are going to rehab or being arrested for shoplifting. How are they supposed know that those actions are wrong?

I think before I am willing to listen to people like Martin Sheen on how the proposed war in Iraq is so wrong, I would like to see him talk to his son about his constant drug addictions and make a difference in his own family.

Let’s not even try to talk about what happened the last time an actress tried to protest a war.

Need I say Jane Fonda and the deaths of many American prisoners of war?

Samuel J. Nirenberg is a political science major.

Actors should not voice their opinions

This is in response to the letters to the editor disagreeing with Mark Laps and his opinion that the liberal actors of Hollywood should do what they are paid to do — act — and stay out of national politics.

Yes, Ronald Reagan was an actor and he did become President of the United States, but let us remember that he was an actor first, then he became a politician.

He was never an activist against his country. He never went to a foreign country, especially one that is considered a terrorist state, and spoke out against his country’s policies. He never called the President of the United States a liar while saying the dictator/murderer of that country was just misunderstood. Sean “Penn-head” went to Iraq, called the president a liar and said Saddam was just misunderstood.

Yes, these actors have a right to free speech, and they have a right to disagree with the policies of the United States, but they commit treason when they do as Mr. “Penn-head” did.

Mr. Alex Baldwin said that if President Bush was elected, he would leave the country. Of course, he didn’t, but what kind of American is that? I’ll help him pack his bag if he needs some help.

These actors are just that, actors. Their opinions on the running of this country are just that, opinions, but they have a national audience. To preach to us about right or wrong is just plain wrong.

I believe the mainstream public in this country have more knowledge and integrity than people like Mr. “Penn-head” and Mr. “I’ll-leave-the-country.”

Wake up and smell the roses. These people can’t even run their own lives, much less the country.

Gary Stanley is a senior majoring in secondary education.

Officials who want war should be ousted

During the MLK weekend, around a million protesters gathered in the streets of America to show that America stands for peace, not war. Five hundred thousand marched in Washington D.C., 200,000 in San Francisco and thousands elsewhere.

Aside from the United States, protesters were found on almost every continent — acting in solidarity. These protests were larger than any protest during the Vietnam war. Not just the United States, but the world has spoken and we are saying we don’t want this war.

Yet, Emperor Bush still persists, violating the will of the people of America, and the U.N. resolution on Iraq. As a “model” for the rest of the world, the United States is falling to the ground, and Emperor Bush is making sure we are going to hit hard.

An invasion of Iraq and the subsequent attacks and deaths are high crimes — an impeachable offense for all involved.

I hope Bush remembers this, because if he violates the will of the world and goes to war, our nation will come together like never before to remove Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft and all the other war cannibals who call themselves the leaders of the free world.

Anthony Schmidt is a sophomore majoring in anthropology.

Across the pond college life is similar

Since a couple of very kind USF students helped me while I was on a study trip to the United States, I have enjoyed keeping up-to-date with USF life through the online pages of The Oracle.

How different it seems from my own university in the Tees Valley area of England (a very post-industrial area often likened to say, Allentown or Bethlehem, Penn.), yet often the same issues seem to occur.

As you may know, our universities are not centers for sport in the way U.S. colleges are, but issues of senior management (not about me naturally), course quality, living accommodations, relationships with the local community, etc. are also important here everyday.

Today is a very big day for English universities with a government announcement due about new methods of students having to pay fees (likely to be in the form of a graduate tax once they start work rather than up front); a move to allow more prestigious universities to charge higher fees (in place of the hitherto flat fee system whether you’re at Cambridge or my university); and a move to bring back vocational universities (which will do no research).

All in all, I’d rather be in Tampa or St. Pete. It’s sleeting here — sleet being an evil mix of snow and rain.

Paul Mayes is assistant director for the University of Teesside in Middlesbrough, England.