Letter to the Editor: Controversy welcomed; speaker not worth protesting

I appreciated The Rider News’ coverage of the Huckabee talk, which I thought was well-balanced.

I am normally a protesting kind of person. I was a hippie in the 1960s and was tear-gassed when I was 19 by the Chicago police at the Democratic Convention in 1968. More recently, I was roughed up at the age of 54 by the cops in New York while protesting the Iraq War. But I still couldn’t get up the energy to protest the Huckabee appearance at Rider. Maybe I’ve just gotten too old and lost the energy to fight. Or maybe, on the other hand, I have learned by long and hard experience to pick my fights.

Even though I encouraged my students to go hear Huckabee’s talk and offered them extra credit for writing a report on it, I did not go to his talk or participate in the protest against it. “What a cop-out,” you may say, and you may be right.

I just turned 60, and my perspective on life is different now than it was in the 1960s when my friends were being sent to kill and die in Vietnam. Huckabee is what we used to call “3.2 beer” when I was in college in Indiana in the ’60s and drove across the border to Ohio, where you could get weak beer at the age of 18. His ideas about evolution, gays, women in the church, stem cell research, etc. don’t stand up to criticism, and although I welcomed his coming to Rider, I didn’t have time to listen to him.

I am proud that Rider is strong in support of academic freedom, unlike other colleges and universities, such as Hamilton College, University of Nebraska and Boston College, who have canceled controversial speakers; but I am too busy reading about philosophy and evolution and grading my students’ papers to spend time listening to nonsense.
Carol Nicholson
Professor of Philosophy

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