On Monday of this week, I
received the following email in my campus account regarding my
column published in the January 28 edition of The Journal:
“I hope that you and your wife
travel to France... your anti American views would fit in well
there... or If we are lucky they will put you and your terrorist
wife in jail"
It was immediately obvious that
the anonymous writer, who provided a fictitious return email
address, had missed the point of the commentary he/she/it was
criticizing. This individual lacks the courage of their
convictions and obviously did not find the column so offensive
that it called for a thoughtful and well-crafted reply. The
factual errors and poor grammar and punctuation, quite apart
from the pejorative tone, should be an embarrassment to the
I call him a coward, lacking
courage, because I know what courage is. The furtive
correspondent probably does not know that I am a veteran of four
years of active duty service in the United States Marine Corps.
The last thing I am is un-American! I fought for this country
and her colors, and I lost good friends under fire in some of
the most hellish places on earth. My disagreement with the
doctrine of pre-emptive warfare is based on an intimate
acquaintance with the costs of so-called low-intensity warfare.
I criticize the PATRIOT Act because of the precedent that law
quite un-constitutionally sets. I swore an oath to defend that
Constitution, and I uphold that oath by criticizing any law,
organization, or person who threatens it.
The writer (I use the term
loosely) erred first when the email was addressed to my personal
campus email account rather than to The Journal. Space for
letters to the Editor is given priority when such letters are
received, and this space provides a forum for reasoned
discourse. Second, he called my fiancé a terrorist, but she has
never been a member of any terrorist organization, she has lived
in this country since she was eight years old, and, as the
column made quite clear, is distantly related to someone (whom
she has never met) who the Israeli government considers a
terrorist. Terrorist is a term that, when misapplied,
dehumanizes its object as the term Communist did in the
Fifties. Surely no one feels sorry for terrorists, do they?
And the problem with the PATRIOT Act is the lack of due process
for those who have been identified as terrorists on what are
sometimes very flimsy grounds, so virtually anyone can be denied
I do intend to visit France, with
my fiancé, as soon as we can afford it. Perhaps this individual
would be willing to foot the bill? France was instrumental in
helping the infant United States defeat the British monarchy,
and has a long tradition of democracy through dissent. French
museums house some of the great treasures of Western culture.
Good wine is inexpensive there, and, not inconsequentially, I
hear Paris is beautiful in the
spring. But we do not intend to stay.
The United States will remain our
home precisely because of the fact that this is a country to
which a young man from Ramallah or from anywhere else can come
and build a life for himself and his children. Maybe someday
this will be a country where, as Dr. King said, “our children
will be judged on the content of their character”. As the
anonymous email pointedly made clear, we are not there yet. And
we cannot get there by abandoning the Constitution under
duress. Ben Franklin said, “They that can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither
liberty nor safety.” Liberty is a privilege to be earned, and
sometimes this means taking risks. I have earned my right to
disagree with my government, and I will continue to do so
publicly when appropriate, regardless of hate mail from cowards.
Love and Sports? It’s What Dreams
Are Made Of
As we reflect upon the tradition
of Valentine’s Day, I look at the sports world (as I always do),
to find meaning. In these eyes, sports can be involved in all
aspects of life. But love? Sports? Together? This would take
some serious thinking. Lucky you, I have found the three movies
that involve sports and specific versions of love.
The love of the sport and the
desire to never give up is best displayed in “Rudy”. Love can
resurrect an athlete’s career and his life, much like in the
movie “Tin Cup”. And, love can coincide with the biggest
opportunity that someone may ever get in the Academy Award
Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, former
football player for the University of Notre Dame, defied all the
odds that faced him all of his life. He was considered too
small, too average, and too unrealistic to be the success that
he longed to be.
The man dreamed of playing for
the Fighting Irish since he was a small child and all he ever
got from his most of his family, friends, and teachers was
complete skepticism. He believed that if he really wanted to go
to Notre Dame and play on the same field as his former childhood
heroes, he could do it.
His love for the game and the
university brought out the toughness and desire that many did
notice throughout his life. Most respected it, while others were
jealous of it.
Despite the death of his best
friend, the criticism of his brother, the reluctance of his high
school teacher, and the lack of support from his father, Rudy
persevered through it all. His love was blind and it needed to
The realization of his dream came
when he ran out on the field from the tunnel, but he received
more than he could ever have imagined. He played one defensive
play and recorded a sack and was carried off the field. The
significance of that is that no other player in Notre Dame
history has been carried off the field since.
The movie portrays the love that
one man has for something while, at the same time, making you
fall in love with the story.
Roy McCavoy (played by Kevin
Costner) was a man that was stuck in a rut.
Living in a Winnebago and running
a run down driving range in Salame, Texas,
Roy was looking as if he could
never find a way out. Roy was one of the best young golfers that
Texas had ever seen.
His problems lied in the fact
that he always strived for perfection and the big prize. He
never made the Professional ranks as his style of play always
came back to haunt him. This was evident too in the way he lived
One day, he teaches a golf lesson
to a suave, sexy Dr. Molly Griswold (played by Rene Russo, a
sports movie regular). This happened to be the love interest of
his long time rival and former friend David Simms (Don Johnson).
Simms was the polar opposite of Roy as he played the
conservative way in both golf and life.
Roy and Molly can eventually see
that they are meant for each other but Molly resists the
temptation as Roy is not the prototypical man
she can see herself with. Roy, in spite of this and in the
failures of his life, decides to qualify for the U.S. Open. He
does and eventually starts to find out that he may need to
change his life to be successful. He goes to the Open and
performs terribly the first day and begins to question his
However, Molly finds that her
prince charming is nothing more than a frog with a crown on the
inside and declares her love for Roy.
Roy makes a miraculous run the
next three rounds and is in contention to win the whole
tournament. But, Roy stares at immortality right in the face. A
seemingly impossible par 5 on the 18th hole makes Roy salivate.
He wasn’t able to resist the temptation to knock it on the green
in 2. Roy knocks it in the water 5
straight times by reusing to take a drop. On his last ball, he
knocks it on and even in the whole and unknowingly achieves the
immortality that he has longed for his whole life.
The adage was that nobody may
remember who won this tournament, but that they’d remember his
12 on a par 5. The love he found in himself and in the game
shows that even the most desperate souls can be saved.
Finally, we come to Rocky Balboa,
the street thug from Philadelphia. One of the greatest stories
ever told on the big screen.
Being a low rated boxer who works
part time as a collector and lives alone, Rocky is as down as a
man can be. He finds a woman that he feels connected to somehow,
Adrian. She is a shy, yet intelligent pet shop worker.
What makes them so connected is
that they both see each other in ways that nobody else does. He
sees her as the smart and strong woman that she desires to be
and she sees him as the good hearted individual and fighter that
he really is.
Coincidentally, he receives a
million to one shot at the same time this takes place. Apollo
Creed, the heavyweight champion of the world, offers him a title
shot. Rocky takes the shot and, suddenly, becomes Philadelphia’s
golden boy. He starts to find people interested in his life, but
the higher ups see him as only a puppet in a marketing stunt.
Nobody thinks he can win the fight.
Rocky trains and trains in ways
that can make even the laziest person energetic. Around the time
of the fight, Rocky tries to find meaning in this opportunity
that he has been given. He comes to the realization that in
order to be happy in his life and in this situation is to go the
distance and to not give up, no matter what. He then goes on
with the support o f Adrian and does go the distance with Creed,
much to the chagrin of the entire world. As the match ends,
Rocky earns the respect of his opponent and is looking only for
the loving eyes of Adrian who makes a dramatic run to the ring
and professes her love for him. What really is taken out of
this movie is the love of another can influence all other facets
That theme runs true even outside
of the sports world. Any person can benefit from love, whether
it is from a social aspect or a family aspect. The reflection of
love can not just be shown on just one day. There are 364 other
days to display it, too.
HRC to host Anti-Valentine’s Day
After a long process of internal
organization, the Housing Residents’ Council has elected a new
executive board and is well on its way to planning numerous
spring semester events for campus housing residents.
From 8:00 to 11:00 pm on
February 14th the HRC will host its first event
of the semester, an Anti-Valentines Day Program called “Cupid is
Stupid,” in the Homer L. Butler Housing Commons.
Residents are invited to come at 8:00 PM
to bake cookies in the kitchen facilities at the Commons. HRC
will provide all supplies, including black frosting and other
“anti-valentine” decorations. At 9:00 PM a horror movie will be
shown in the TV Room. HRC is also designing other fun games for
the evening, such as a UIS version of “Singled Out.” The event
should last until around 11:00 and is open to all campus housing
The Housing Residents’ Council is the
largest organization on campus, its roster consisting of
everyone that lives in campus housing. We would like to
formally invite all residents to take a more active role in the
organization and help plan programming for all residents. The
Council strives to design new events that appeal to the
wide-range of ages and interests on campus. Any new opinions
are always welcome.
The council also serves as a means for
residents to criticize or applaud housing and its policies. The
board frequently makes formal recommendations to the Housing
The next HRC meeting will be in the
Butler Housing Commons at 5:00 on Sunday, February 15th.
Other events planned for the spring semester are a “Games
Night” on February 28th, and the 2nd
annual “Cabin Fever Games,” tentatively scheduled for March
Take advantage of this great opportunity
and get involved in HRC. For more information on the
organization, contact either of its co-chairs: Jen Davis
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chris Wyant (email@example.com).
BY TYSON ROAN
Tomorrow, February 12, people across the world will celebrate
the birthday of this nation’s greatest President, the great
emancipator, Abraham Lincoln. Most can recite at least a
portion of his Gettysburg address, and surely no one is ignorant
of the great role that the man who called Springfield his home
served in uniting a nation in the Civil War. But in light of
the Valentine’s Day issue, what do you know of his love life?
early years of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd’s relationship
paint an antebellum picture of romance, fortune, intrigue, and
destiny where love ultimately triumphed over all. Taken in
great part from Ruth Painter Randall’s
The Courtship of Mr. Lincoln,
what follows is an account of brutal sacrifice, chivalric duels,
longing letters and secret encounters, all suffered in the
painstaking and ever enduring name of love.
interactions between Abraham and Mary, or ‘Molly,’ as he
affectionately referred to her, note Abraham hypnotized by Mary,
“charmed with Mary’s wit and fascinated with her quick
sagacity—her will, her nature, and culture.”
Todd, a Springfield socialite who frequently entertained
Springfield’s elite in the Edward’s home, had dated Lincoln’s
political adversary, Stephen Douglas, and when asked whether she
would marry Douglas or Lincoln, she quipped that she would marry
“Him who has the best prospects of being President.”
fortune-teller, she claimed, once told her that she would marry
the President, and meeting Lincoln seems not mere coincidence,
but rather the birth of a long and hard fought destiny.
long strolls in the Springfield prairies and social gatherings
at the Edwards’ home, Abraham and Mary’s love for one another
grew, and the two were engaged in the late 1830s.
day, a father’s blessing was crucial if a man wanted to take
into matrimony a woman of Mary’s social stature. Lincoln
consulted Ninian Edwards, Mary Todd’s brother-in-law and
guardian, to get his blessing. Lincoln knew that Edwards had
strong aristocratic notions, and while Lincoln was a humble,
rugged lawyer struggling to get by, Mary came from a wealthy,
Year’s Day, 1841, Mary’s pillow was found stained with tears.
It appeared the wedding had been called off. While’s its
unclear exactly why the two broke up, Lincoln said that it was
because he had so little to offer a wife. In other words,
Edwards had refused to let the wedding proceed.
love, Lincoln wrote during this time, “I am now the most
miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed
to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face
on earth. Whether I shall ever be any better I can not tell; I
awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible;
I must die or be better, it appears to me.”
locked himself away for an entire a month. Just as he was not
in control of falling in love with Mary Todd, he appeared unable
to reason himself out of it.
Edward’s parlor, refusing to go against her guardian’s will,
Lincoln implored Mary to send him a letter releasing him from
the engagement. During this woeful encounter, Mary burst into
tears and jumped at Lincoln, crying, “… the deceiver shall be
the deceived wo is me.” Lincoln took Mary into his lap and
caressed her in his arms, kissing away her tears.
letter releasing Lincoln from the engagement, Mary wrote that
her feelings for him remained unchanged and she stood ready to
renew the engagement at any time. While the marriage was over,
the love between the two remained undying.
submerged himself in law and was very grateful when the spring
circuit came around and allowed him to travel to the regional
courthouses. Lincoln said that he had never been so happy in
his life to leave Springfield.
broken heart slowly mended, and he developed a passion for a
life not yet lived. In a letter to a dear friend, Lincoln wrote
“Whatever he designs, he will do for me yet. ‘Stand still and
see the salvation of the Lord’ is my text just now.”
salvation came after eighteen months apart from Mary. Simeon
Francis, wife to the editor of the Sangamo Journal and
long-time friend of both Lincoln and Mary, hatched out a scheme
to bring the two together. She invited each to her home, and,
after longing for one another for over a year, the lovers were
once again united.
Francis insisted that the secret meetings between Mary and
Abraham continue, and that Mary Todd’s guardians could know
nothing of the matter.
In a time
before instant messaging, e-mailing, or even the telephone for
that matter, the two exchanged letters through an intricate
system of trustworthy friends. The meetings between Mary and
Abraham continued in Mrs. Francis’ home. Mrs. Francis, Abraham,
and Mary frequently wrote letters for the Journal under
the pseudonym Rebecca, bashing the state auditor, James
Shields, a fighting Irishman trained in swordplay.
time these letters were published in the Journal, it
appears that Abraham and Mary were again engaged, although at
the time Mary would not affirm this to even her closest
Mary’s letters in the Journal infuriated Shields to the
point that he demanded Mr. Francis give reveal to him the
identity of the writer. When Mr. Lincoln was consulted, he
replied, “… say to Shields, that ‘I am responsible.’”
heard the news, Shields departed immediately to Tremont,
Illinois, where Lincoln was riding the circuit. Shields was
prepared for a duel.
agreed to the duel. In fact, he demanded it unless Shields
rescinded his damaging accusations. He was prepared to die for
what his Molly had written. He was fighting for his pride; he
was fighting for his love.
later, after negotiations had failed, the two men rode out to
Alton and departed for Bloody
Island, where the duel was to be had. Fortunately, reason got
the better of the duelers on the battleground and before the
time came, the duel was called off.
undoubtedly brought Mary and Abraham closer together. Shortly
after the incident at Bloody Island, the two made plans to wed.
agreed to a simple wedding without financial assistance from her
affluent guardians, who still felt that if she wed Lincoln, she
would be marrying beneath herself. She prepared to leave one of
the most extravagant mansions in
Springfield for a small
apartment above a tavern, in love with the caring man that she
knew, and sure of the remarkable man that he would become.
the date for November 4, 1842.
day came, Lincoln went to one of the ministers in town, met him
at his breakfast table, and told him, “I want to get hitched
with Ninian Edwards, Mary’s guardian, and told him of their
plans. Ninian consented, and demanded that Mary be wed in his
morning, when Mary broke the news to her sister, Edwards’ wife,
she did not take so well to the proposition. She fired charges
at Lincoln, calling him a mere ‘plebeian.’
their conversation, when Edwards was asked to come up with a
wedding cake on such short notice, she said “I guess I will have
to send to old Dickey’s for some of his gingerbread and beer.”
flatly replied, “Well, that will be good enough for plebeians, I
matter of hours, the wedding was thrown together, and it turned
out to be a beautiful and well-attended affair with a proper
wedding cake, uniting a flame that most probably gave the future
President the peace of mind necessary to perform the
near-impossible task ahead of him.
later, dealing with mental anguish from the loss of her husband
and three of her sons, having lived in the heart of the greatest
battle ever fought on this soil, Mary wrote “…the only
consolation left me, is the certainty, that each day brings me
nearer my loved and lost.” “I shall not much longer be
separated from my idolized husband, who has only ‘Gone before’
and I am certain is fondly watching and waiting for our
re-union, nevermore to be separated.
a tomb dedicated to their memory only miles north of this
university, those same rings that united the Abraham and his
Molly on that hurried November day lie resting close to one
another on their bearers. Engraved in them is the inscription
that the two lovers chose. “LOVE IS ETERNAL.”
Well, it’s February again, and time for the
annual UIS ski trip. This year, I had one goal: no injuries.
Last year, on the first day of the trip not only did I run
facefirst in to a large orange sign that clearly read “SLOW”,
but I also sprained my knee in a nasty fall, putting me out of
commission for the rest of the weekend. Needless to say, I got
to know the Ski Patrol very well.
This was going to be my year,
though. About 28 UIS students made the trip up to the Wisconsin
Dells on Friday night. Wisconsin had received 5-6 inches of
snow that day, so the roads were pretty treacherous. We all
made it in one piece, however.
Our first skiing day, Saturday,
was at Cascade Mountain in Portage, WI. I was determined to
conquer the mountain, starting with the bunny hill. On my very
first ride up on the chair lift, a friend and I got our poles
tangled. In the struggle to get them free, I accidentally
smacked myself in the face with my pole, giving me a shiny black
eye. So much for this being the year of no injuries.
All in all, it was a beautiful
day for skiing. The weather alternated between flurries and
sunshine, and the temperature held steady at about 25 degrees.
I pretty much stuck to the bunny hills all morning, trying to
build my confidence and get my “snow legs”, as it were. By
lunchtime, I was the very terror of Schoolmarm Trail,
frightening the young and inexperienced alike as I gracefully
tore down the hill, making sure to “pie”, that is, turning the
tips of my skis inward until they resembled a slice of pie,
which slows me down.
By the end of the day, we were
all beat. Off to the hot tub! But we couldn’t be up all night,
since there was another long day of skiing ahead.
Sunday’s destination was
Devil’s Head, in Merrimac. The weather was cloudy with patchy
sunshine and a strong wind. We started right in skiing
intermediate trails. I was all set to dominate the Green and
Blue trails as I had done Saturday, until my friends talked me
into going down a Black Diamond- the hardest level of ski trail
available. The confidence I had built up on Cascade’s
Schoolmarm and Cottontail trails was somewhat dissipated by The
Cauldron’s steep drops. I managed to make it all the way to the
bottom in one piece, though I emitted a blood-curdling scream
over the last hill that I’m sure could have been heard by the
kids over in the tow rope area. The whole way down I swore, I
almost cried, and I “pie”d so hard I thought I was going to
break a hip. And then I promptly got up and did it again.
A few more runs later, my
nerves were frayed from the constant strain of trying to keep
myself from falling and taking out a few of my fellow skiers.
After a particularly messy fall in which I slid about 20 feet to
the sarcastic applause of the nearby resort patrons as they
waited in line for the chair lift, I decided to hang up my ski
boots for the year and retire to the lodge for some hot cocoa.
And so went my 2004 UIS ski trip. It wasn’t quite the
triumphant return to skiing that I had envisioned, but it was a
good time nonetheless…black eye, bruises, mental strain, and