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Letter: Writer calls for student activism, not war protests

Whether you are for or against the current conflict in Iraq, it is important to remember that America gives you the right to protest in exchange for certain social responsibilities as a citizen. The recent rash of protesting on campus reminds me of a coach arguing calls after a game is over: too little, too late.

This isn't to say that intelligent discussion should not be held; it's the hallmark of our freedom. But if you count the Cameron-esque chants I heard from protesters as "intelligent discussion," then I'd suggest the admissions office re-check your academic credentials.

What is most disturbing about these protests is that the students involved could make so much better use of their time. Instead of students calling their elected officials to voice their opinions on the war, we have students pulling fire alarms in Perkins Library. Instead of having students circulate petitions, we play "Proud to be an American" and say "that's enough for me."

This may come as a shock, but we are not a big enough campus that your march around the quad will make George W. Bush sit up in Washington and say "my God, let's get our boys out of there." I urge the students of Duke: Don't speak, act.

The next time you feel like picking up your spray-can and tagging a bus stop with some cliched slogan, pick up a phone instead and see about raising money for the Red Cross or for a refugee relief program. You say you support our soldiers? Then write a letter to a Marine overseas and let him know you support him.

You may think your little sign is making the world a better place. It's not. A protester will never accomplish as much as an activist. Why not do something worthwhile with your time instead?


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