Setting record straight on GOP civil rights legacy

When reading Yahya Chaudhry’s recent column (“Lincoln’s party now the party of prejudice,” Aug. 5), my jaw dropped so far I could have swallowed Ballantine Hall.

His article slammed Republicans for opposing the proposed construction of a mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

The article’s most infuriating line: “The GOP, the party of Abraham Lincoln, lost its civil rights appeal when it dragged its feet during the 1960s and the following decades.”

This is quite possibly the most poorly researched drivel that has been printed in the Indiana Daily Student in my time at IU.

Mr. Chaudhry would be heartbroken to learn that the first civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War was passed under a Republican administration (President Dwight Eisenhower’s) in 1957.

He will also do well to learn that the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1960 was not only signed by President Eisenhower, but passed only because overwhelming Republican support in Congress managed to break a filibuster attempted by 18 Democrats.

Regarding the mosque, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at the top of many people’s lists as a presidential candidate in 2012 and leads arguably the most independent, conservative state in the nation. He supports allowing the construction of the mosque, as do other Republicans too numerous to list.

On the flip side of the coin, 61 percent of New York state residents oppose the construction, and since President Obama carried the state in 2008, I sincerely doubt that 61 percent of residents are registered Republicans.

While New York Democrats Rep. Anthony Weiner and Sen. Chuck Schumer both claim to be “not opposed” to the mosque, neither have been actively supporting it, and both refuse to answer questions regarding the subject.

Mr. Chaudhry, there is nothing inappropriate about chastising individuals who oppose the mosque.

But simply because these individuals hold such views, it is appallingly irresponsible to invent historical anecdotes directly counter to fact simply because you are more comfortable with politicians who have a “D” instead of an “R” following their name.

Ryan Short
IU senior

Time to face facts on drug policy

If health outcomes, instead of cultural norms, determined drug laws, marijuana would be legal.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.

Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate health interventions and ineffective deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best.

White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent.

The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults over 18.

Students who want to help end the intergenerational culture war otherwise known as the war on some drugs should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com.

Robert Sharpe, MPA
Policy Analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy

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