Campus Politics: A mission for 007

This article is more than a newspaper column – it’s an invitation for Avi Raina and all those who would oppose him to come over to Carter 45 to play a little James Bond.

I’ll be happy to fire up Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 and everyone can spend the better part of an afternoon lobbing remote mines at each other and taking head shots with the Cougar Magnum. In the end, there will be a definitive winner: the kill count doesn’t lie and there’s no disputing the numbers. Health handicapping will not be allowed and the no Oddjob rule is most definitely in effect.

The realm of high-tech violent video games seems a much more appropriate forum for the type of thought and expression that has recently filled the pages of the Record. In this battle of liberal versus conservative, it seems everyone just wants to win. No one will recognize that the other forces indeed have legitimate points and the result is a debate that spins wildly out of control until both sides are pinned to the extreme depths of their respective labels.

The tragedy of course is that both perspectives undoubtedly have some valuable insights, but everyone seems to think that a radical position is the only way to balance the effects of the opposing partisan view.

There is obviously some discrepancy between what the two parties ultimately think is best for society, but reality cannot possibly be characterized by the same magnitude of polarization that engulfs this campus. I’m not arguing for a strict relativism rooted in the unfounded notion that everyone has something valuable to say. It’s just that somewhere in the midst of the personal attacks and competitive outlooks, the facts go unnoticed and the truth is obscured by layers of appearances and categories. Maybe that’s why structured debates always leave me unfulfilled; the stakes for society are far too high for anyone to be concerned with winning. If the sheer glory of victory is what you seek, go play a game. The general discussion of social issues will be better off without the competitive atmosphere.

By the way, I was just kidding about that whole Bond thing. The chances of me giving up my controller even for a few minutes are pretty slim. I just can’t let more than half an hour go by without blowing Natalya’s head off with the grenade launcher.