The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Texas A&M fans react after The Aggies win the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
The mad dash to Omaha
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 21, 2024

After Texas A&M baseball’s win over Florida sent the Aggies to their first Men’s College World Series Championship Series in program...

Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Sixth sense
June 18, 2024
Enjoying the Destination
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life Writer • June 17, 2024

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Settling for the easy road

One of the greatest things about this nation, the biggest reason you shouldn’t go out and burn a U.S. flag, is the fact that you can burn the U.S. flag with limited repercussions.
The earmark of a free society is this freedom of expression — even if the majority of people disapprove of certain speech. Even if this speech is coming from the Westboro Baptist Church. You know their argument: God hates members of the GLBTQ community and this somehow prompts God to ensure that injury happens to the brave men and women who defend our country.
Let’s be clear — this is hate speech. But the answer to ending hate speech won’t be found in drowning out such speech with an unsanctioned yell practice. It also isn’t screaming different hateful words back louder with more people.
The answer is to turn the other cheek, which is not easy. If it were, there would be no problem in the first place. It’s so much easier to react, and Westboro knows this.
It’s so much more difficult to listen to what someone has to say, and at the risk of turning this into a string of Beatles quotes, find a way to feel love — to feel compassion for the groups targeted by this hate speech and compassion for those delivering the hate speech.
This message, so deeply ingrained in the idea of America, was best articulated by a priest in an old dusty office at the Catholic Church back home when I was 16 undergoing confirmation counseling. The idea is that you don’t spread God’s word by preaching on a soap box, by quoting Bible verses. You spread your belief by being secure in your values and by being the kind of person full of compassion in which others see something.
That concept isn’t tied to one religion, either.
Consider an over-simplified version of the situation. Consider the scene from the eyes of children participating in Westboro protests. Think of when you were 5-10 years old. I think at this age I was still interested in pursuing a professional career as a ballerina, astronaut and firefighter at the same time. These children cannot fully understand what is happening at the protest they are protesting. They probably do not even fully understand what it means to be homosexual.
The difference is that there is no parent who tells them to not be quick to judge. You don’t know the situation. They follow the lead of their hateful parents because, well, these are their parents. In the end, that seems better than the alternative of the hateful strangers yelling at their parents.
To rise above Westboro, we need to understand that these people are also in many ways a victim of their circumstances. We need to stand united with one message.
Holding a Maroon Wall 2.0 “for the troops” — and not also for members of the GLBTQ community — won’t cut it. Showing up to a rally and neglecting to highlight fellow Aggies who are the subject of hate speech out of fear of tackling a subject that is too controversial, counts as passively affirming that hate speech.
In the end, if we settle for the easy road — for either hating Westboro or not explicitly standing with all Aggies — the line between us and them is too muddy.
Aimee Breaux is an applied mathematical sciences junior and managing editor for The Battalion.

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