Skip to comments.Sparking Debate (McKinney speaks at Cornell, finds tough audience!)
Posted on 12/17/2003 8:50:54 PM PST by slowhandluke
The Cornell Review Conservative Newspaper Online
Paul M. Eastlund
This was an editorial article appearing in the Sparking Debate? issue.
From the Editor
On November 20, 2003, Cynthia McKinney gave a talk on US foreign policy in the Statler. Against my better judgment, I attended. I expected not only to be disappointed, but disgusted; I expected to see Cornell University at its worst. Instead, I witnessed the school I love in its finest hour.
McKinney herself was predictably inarticulate and unintelligent. She seemed positively inept in every aspect of her speaking save for her ability to evade questions; in this area she displayed supreme mastery. Even the sharpest, most direct inquiries were met with audaciously blatant non-sequiturs or conspicuously unsubtle segues into not-so-analogous subjects that McKinney felt more comfortable discussing.
Occasionally in her erratic wanderings from topic to topic she blurted out some characteristically absurd assertion - for instance, that U.S. sanctions caused the genocide in Iraq - and then insisted that everyone in the audience had misunderstood her. Frankly, I'm not sure how many ways the words "the genocide in Iraq was caused by US sanctions" can be interpreted. Perhaps, though, if she wants to avoid further confusion, she could do her audience the favor of spelling out her responses in the same charming manner as her father.
Naturally, McKinney attracted a gaggle of hippie townies and adult academics to fawn over her. As if their collective habit of perpetually nodding dumbly was not irksome enough, they saw fit to voice their unquestioning approval after every one of McKinney's sentences in an irritating and inane chorus of "mmhmm"s that smacked more than slightly of typical "libiot" groupthink.
The hippies tossed her softball questions that she routinely and comically struck out on. When asked by a high school teacher for a suggestion for a textbook he could assign to his class to give them an international perspective of world events, Professor Cynthia McKinney responded frankly: "One book? I'm not a teacher." (This begs the question of why she is on Cornell's payroll.)
All of that - McKinney's idiot antics and the twits who loved her for them - was to be expected. But there were surprises throughout the evening, and the first was Professor Peter Katzenstein.
Professor Katzenstein was one of two faculty members invited to ask questions of McKinney. When his turn came, he completely shredded the former Congresswoman's speech to pieces. McKinney spoke about the change in US foreign policy towards Haiti, and attributed it to the valiant efforts of the Congressional Black Caucus. Professor Katzenstein had known a student who wrote her dissertation on the causes of that very foreign policy change, and - surprise, surprise - the Congressional Black Caucus had not been mentioned once in the dissertation. In short, an academic who had spent months researching the topic thoroughly didn't give McKinney one bit of the credit. McKinney's response was bumbling and devoid of substance, but more notable was her facial expression: her dumb-founded, deer-in-the-headlights look confirmed all doubts about her competence to speak on the topic.
After Katzenstein had torn apart the central thesis of her speech, he went after McKinney's views on Iraq. He began by carefully baiting her into damning the US for not taking a more active role in Rwanda. After she launched into a sermon against America for allowing human rights violations to occur, he asked, for clarification, whether she thought human rights violations in other countries justified US intervention. She quickly agreed that she did. When Katzenstein smugly pointed out this incongruency in her stance on the war in Iraq, McKinney looked like she had been slapped in the face.
When Katzenstein finished with McKinney, the audience was invited to ask questions, and a group of Cornell undergrads took their turn taking shots at the ex-Congresswoman. They came prepared with notes - errors from her previous speeches and testimony disproving points she had made - and refused to let their questions be brushed aside. One student, after asking a particularly difficult question about McKinney's views on Zimbabwe, specifically requested that the question be answered with respect to Zimbabwe itself instead of being met with an irrelevant rant about Iraq or Haiti. Another student demanded to know how many people Cynthia McKinney felt needed to die before the US could morally intervene. McKinney changed the topic, but the student posed his question again. She again failed to answer properly, so the student asked a third time. Flustered, she asserted, "I think I've answered your question." The student fired back with, "You have not." The moderator moved on to the next question, but Cynthia's dignity was in tatters.
What I saw that night renewed my hope in political dialogue at Cornell University. I still despise that Cynthia McKinney has been hired here, but I am not alone. I take great solace in the fact that others share my outrage.
The Review frequently discusses the liberal student body at Cornell, but I noticed an interesting phenomenon at the event. I said before that a group of adult academics showered praise on McKinney. I did not see a single undergraduate do so. A close liberal friend of mine was in the audience; when I asked his opinion afterwards, he replied, "Liberal or conservative, stupid is stupid." I am heartened by the fact that my friend and fellow classmates are intellectually rigorous enough to see past the groupthink that was so thick in the room and perceive McKinney as the dishonest, disgraceful functional illiterate that she is.
There is a larger point here, though I've taken my time in getting to it. In my time at Cornell, I have met countless conservatives. Many have told me that dialogue on campus is entirely one-sided or that they feel isolated by their political views. At times the Review itself has even fallen prey to this form of pessimism and been reduced to loudly damning a student body it did not dare to hope for a dialogue with. If there is one sentiment I hope to espouse in my time at the Review, it is that this campus does have the potential for legitimate political dialogue. Our student body may lean left, but students can disagree with us and still be reasonable and rational - like my friend, who might've seen McKinney as an ideological ally if he weren't too intelligent and honest to overlook her idiocy. The faculty may be stacked against us as well, but at least some of them - Katzenstein, for instance - seem to be reasonable about their views also.
Conservatives, take heart. You are not alone, and our cause is not lost. There are many of us on campus - but more importantly, there are many other students who are also reasonable, rational, and mature about their opinions. They are open to discussion and can be convinced by a superior argument. So put to rest your fears of social stigma and make your voices heard. Many times the Review has written about the poor state of dialogue at Cornell; today, I write in optimism. There will be no better time than this, no better opportunity to join the campus dialogue and voice your opinions. So come on in, the water's fine. We at the Review look forward to hearing from you.
The Review frequently discusses the liberal student body at Cornell, but I noticed an interesting phenomenon at the event. I said before that a group of adult academics showered praise on McKinney. I did not see a single undergraduate do so. A close liberal friend of mine was in the audience; when I asked his opinion afterwards, he replied, Liberal or conservative, stupid is stupid.
Even the usually liberal Cornell Sun took her to task, see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1042545/posts
So, I don't think this article will do it. Though, since I've never known him to be called gentle, I'm crossing my fingers for the next year and a half.
"It be da J-E-W-S, I tells ya! Da JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS -- !" :)
It was the J-e-w-s!
And for good measure.
"Liberal or conservative, stupid is stupid."..OK.. I'm down with that! =o)
As Robin, the Boy Wonder, might have exclaimed: "Holy Incriminating Evidence, Batman!" :)
Once we had statesmen to match any other civilized country. Patriotic, educated, aware, steeped in history, phlosophy, political science, military affairs. Now we have an intellectual reign of terror, a rabble with wild hair, wild speech, hysterical rhetoric, because we are now all equal. No longer does a statesman need to know intimately what happened before he himself was born. And we must pretend that the most irrational, outrageous and ignorant statements imagineable have equal value as the distillations of wisdom that are the result of a lifetime of study and effort. We now are expected to react to the basest instincts of man, all in the name of compassion and understanding. The new Dark Ages.
Now we have Hilary, Kerry, the Kennedy idiot child, Dean, and egalitarian abortions like McKinney, Murray, Sharpton. I won't even deem so-called journalists the court jesters of mindless socialism as worthy of mention, even as a footnote. As for certifiable idiots in film, theater and entertainment, they can be dismissed as the ravings of the town idiots, albeit some with wealth, but devoid of anything else of value.
Let's just deal with it and go on. Or allow things to fall apart and start over.
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