Put away pitchforks, ignore protesters on College Avenue
So the Westboro Baptist Church is coming to town. Oh no! They hate homosexuals, Jews, blacks and America? Break out the pitchforks and torches! Drive them out of New Brunswick! Invite your friends, let's make a party out of it!
No. As a left-leaning, gay-loving, Jewish neo-hippie, I know where I won't be on Oct. 28. I won't be in front of the Rutgers Hillel, shouting insults at the picketers. I won't be defending my beliefs and values against the insane Phelps family that wholly composes the group. In fact, I won't even bat them a second glance.
These people want to raise a ruckus. They want to play into people's emotions and make them respond. They would love to incite a riot and make national headlines, if possible. The group is not looking for allies — they are looking for passionate enemies.
I happen to identify with these people in that respect. I am the news editor for The Medium; I'm sure you are familiar with it. I get a kick out of writing inflammatory and ultimately irrelevant articles. I love when people believe my headlines for about three and a half seconds; when their hearts skip a beat after reading "RUPD to Search Dorms Weekly" or "Camel Releases Cigarettes with Antioxidants." Now, unlike the group, I happen to retain a bit of class, but the essence is the same.
The Medium generates controversy. People talk about it. Some love it; most hate it. I don't really know the numbers. I'm honestly not partial either way, as long as it gets read. My worst nightmare would be a day when the University simply doesn't care about what we have to say, a day when students give blank expressions instead of coy smiles upon entertaining our ideas as they go about their lives.
With this knowledge in mind, we can fight this group. The only way to get rid of their poison is by completely ignoring it. Elizabeth Kenny once said, "He who angers you conquers you." I don't plan on being conquered by the group anytime soon, and I challenge you to do the same. They will come, and they will be bringing a venomous hate. They will want to inject you with it as you walk by. Don't let them. Don't organize against them. Don't host counter-protests.
It seems incredibly counterintuitive, but these people are professional misanthropes. They have held more than 41,000 protests so far. For crying out loud, their website is www.godhatesfags.com, not to mention their sister sites, www.antichristobama.com and www.americaisdoomed.com. They clearly have learned to thrive on extreme hate. Their sole goal is to spew hatred far and wide, and by responding to it, we effectively pat them on the back for a job well done. Will we really honor these clowns with our time and energy? Will we provide them with hate in return for the hate they force upon us? Without opposition to fuel their desires, they will pack their things and be gone with their tails between their legs. Let's see what we're made of, Rutgers.
Abe Stanway is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in philosophy and economics. He is the news editor of The Medium.