Yes, I am writing about the ASSU election. Yes, a lot has already been said. I am writing anyway. And even though while I type this, I feel like a mom lecturing her badly-behaving children, I still think it deserves to be said. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. The message is simple. Every human being deserves respect.
Sure, Stewart MacGregor-Dennis has put himself in the public sphere. He has allowed every detail of his life to be published, for the entire world to see. He holds elected office and is running yet again. His platform, the job he has done this year, the current ASSU election system — these are all valid things to question and be critical about. However, disagreeing with someone and dragging their name through the mud are NOT the same thing.
It is easy to sit at your computer and post a status, send an email, or write a blog post saying something not-so-nice about someone else. You don’t have to face them in person. You don’t have to think about how your comments might make someone else feel. Instead, you just have to write and press post. Voila! Now your opinion is in on the web, for anyone and everyone to see.
But let me tell you, your words have power. They have the power to make others laugh, the power to foster introspection, the power to spread knowledge. And among many other things, your words also have the power to hurt.
I would know. A year or so ago, I published a blog post, for TUSB in fact, about a internet site called Total Frat Movement (TFM). I was bored during break, found out about the site, and decided to write about it. In the end, it was a rather strong criticism of way in which the website portrays Greek Life to the world. In the end, TFM ended up linking my post in their head bar. The post got over 200 comments, most of which were extremely negative. These people called me everything from stupid to fat and ugly. And while, I knew that none of these things were true and these were people that I had never met and know nothing about me, those comments still hurt me, just as I am sure, the things said about Steward hurt him.
These posts, these statuses will live on the internet forever. When someone googles his name (maybe an employer), the post you wrote will pop up. It will and has affected his life.
One of my favorite things about Stanford, and one of the main reasons I decided to attend this university, is the type of people it has attracted — brilliant, passionate, fun, warm, kind people. This is not the foot we are currently putting forward. If I was a prospective student reading this back- and-forth, I would get the picture that Stanford is a cut-throat environment, where peers are constantly bringing each other down, trampling over each other to get to the top. This is not Stanford. It is certainly not the Stanford I fell in love with as a ProFro and the institution I am proud to say I belong to.
So as the election finishes up and the results are released, please remember to respect your peers, whether you agree with their positions or not. Really, we are all just doing our best to get by in the world, to follow our dreams, to find our passions. And frankly, that is hard enough as it is.