Impeached senator speaks out
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, March 6, 2007
To the students of Notre Dame:
As you know from reading Thursday’s edition of The Observer, the Senate will decide the matter of my impeachment at six this evening. I am presenting my case to you, the student body, before the Senate decides whether your best interests were at hand in my actions involving the Campaign to Abstain.
Like Alexis de Tocqueville, I believe that America is great because America is good, and that, when challenged, Americans stand up for their rights. I have not lied in saying that I hung posters for the Campaign to Abstain, because I did not believe it to be a wrongful act. My impeachment has become an argument between two sides. On the one side are those who believe that every rule must be followed to precision, and that these rules must be just.
The other side isn’t about me, but an idea – that democracy also sometimes entails disregarding rules that are unjust, especially those rules that limit the freedom of speech and political participation. I am simply the most visible member of the student body who believes in that idea. I also believe that while the student body in general isn’t moved to participate in the student government, when a member of our community is being persecuted for his stand for the basic freedoms we enjoy as Americans, this is something we can all view as unjust.
Of those that voted in the run-off election, 201 voted to abstain. I also believe that if the option to abstain as a protest had been more widely publicized, this number would have been significantly higher.
Decisions are made by those who show up. This past week, I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from members of the student body, and I ask those of you who want to see the student government do more to show your support tonight. Despite this, there are those within the different levels of government here that oppose my stance, calling it spiteful, and saying that it’s not the type of image we want to present. I believe that we know better than that.
I’m a senior this year, and my only stake in this all is seeing that the right thing is done before I finish my term at the end of this month. This evening, I ask you to show your support so that you may watch the greatest democratic ideal of all in action – protecting the rights of the minority from a tyranny of the majority.