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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

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Dangerous Comedy


By: Leanna Herbert, Contributing Writer

A huge number of Wofford students say they’re going to see Donald Trump speak for free comedy. Why pass up an opportunity to laugh at the perpetual butt of an ongoing American joke? Why not be entertained? I don’t particularly want to address Trump’s presence at Wofford, but only the student body’s approach to the speech. Hateful words are not entertainment. Nor is fear mongering. Nor is ignorance.

Welcome to 2015: there’s a plethora of entertainment available to us. Just looking at Netflix has become heartbreaking when you realize there’s no possible way to make it through all the shows and movies you’ve added to your list. That’s the real reason we need a weeklong Thanksgiving: some sort of warm-up round for the giant Netflix binge that will be winter break. Why leave the comfort of your couch to go just to be “entertained”?

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Try South Carolina native Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None.” Looking to make fun of Trump’s hair? Check out “Zoolander” to see where he got the inspiration. Or how about “Clueless,” if we’re looking for names to call him.

Yes. We are all expecting something crazy to come out of Friday’s speech and no one wants to miss it. And, admittedly, Netflix will never compare to live entertainment. Sneak in some popcorn or Starbucks (dare I say, in one of the red cups we’re supposed to boycott), and you might get dinner and a show. Trump has the ultimate pedigree for an entertainer, but he abandoned that the moment he called himself a candidate rather than a comedian. But, remember that this speech is not intended to be comedic; it is meant to inspire and convict.

I ask that you honestly evaluate what has been and is being said, what we as potential voters are being asked to believe. If we forget about all of Trump’s stunts and spectacles, has his platform and behavior alone earned our attendance? While he deserves respect, courtesy and Wofford’s hospitality, does he deserve our approval? He deserves our respect at least to the extent that he has shown it through his words to all members of our community. This is not a partisan issue; it is a human issue. Cordiality, attendance and approval need not go hand in hand. Does he support what values, treatment and conduct we laud here at Wofford? It seems he may have taken the “Conquer and Prevail” a bit too far and too literally and at the expense of too many.

To students of color at Mizzou, we, student allies at Wofford College, stand with you in solidarity. To those who would threaten their sense of safety, we are watching. ‪#‎ConcernedStudent1950 #InSolidarityWithMizzou

So many students have posted statuses supporting the protesters at Mizzou these past weeks, especially in the wake of threatening messages. Many wrote that they “stand with you in solidarity.” There’s such a disconnect between this status and Trump’s statements. In a Fox Business interview, Trump asserts his belief that the protests are “disgusting” and that those who resigned at the demands of university student, student athlete and faculty protesters should have refused to resign. He called them “weak, ineffective people,” but that begs the question if Trump believes himself strong enough to address the issues and aggressions that have sparked the protests; or, instead, is it that he believes himself strong enough just to stubbornly stand his ground under their accusations and demands and dismiss their experiences and stories as nonsense unworthy of his time? And, arguably, solving a problem takes more strength, bravery and understanding than does failing to address concerns while refusing to back down. Do we want someone who dismisses students’ complaints that they don’t feel safe or valued to be the one protecting or representing us? I believe this question is relevant to all, no matter how you feel about the legitimacy of the students’ grievances or protests. Wofford students run the political gamut, and it’s wonderful to have such a mixture where we do not all agree, but we need to stop thinking about this in such a partisan mindset: what Trump has said in the past is intolerant and it’s not entertaining.

By no means am I asking that people not go to Trump’s speech, instead, only to go as an informed listener and knowing that this is not entertainment. Sadly Trump has more comedic credentials than political, and we can’t forget his past remarks or, better said, insults and offenses. This is a man running for political office, and he needs to be treated as a politician, not as a circus clown (don’t let the hair fool you). Exposure to ideas that are different from your own is one aspect of that liberal arts education and is undeniably valuable. But like hate-watching an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s” still ups their ratings, you will still be putting a body in a seat. Just because we as students will honor him with our presence and our attention, we need not agree, we need not cheer or chant (unless, or course, he manages to say something that truly speaks to you). Fame can earn him an audience, but it should by no means earn him support. Ideas, leadership and treatment of others should do that. We as students need only to listen to what he has to say, remembering we are by no means obligated to accept any of it. I’m not asking you to walk out, but I am asking you to be mindful as you listen; be stingy with your applause. See if he is capable of earning it.

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  • T

    T.C.GoreNov 20, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Honor his freedom of speech. Applaud if you approve, boo if you disapprove, laugh at the laughable. It’s the American way.

    • W

      wocoNov 30, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      they’re a very small minority on campus, they just like to speak out a lot!

  • B

    Bruce KennedyNov 19, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Another post by some bleeding liberal. Seems like there’s a ton of them at Wofford these days. This piece is so biased it makes CNN look good. #globalwarmingcausedISIS #liberallogic #bernieputin2016