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Sunday, March 23, 2003

Grand-standing.

Poor Elizabeth Monnin, the Tufts University student who "lost" her Senior Award after flipping-off former President George Bush earlier this year. It seems that, despite her four years as a "women's studies and peace and justice double-major," she can't tell the difference between political leadership and just making a stink.

During the Feb. 26 event, held in a campus gymnasium, Monnin and about five other students sat close to the stage and turned their backs as Bush spoke. When the former president began discussing the first Persian Gulf War and the possibility of renewed conflict in Iraq, she and others raised a banner that read, ''Gyms are for soccer, not for warmongers,'' and joined in a chant decrying Bush's foreign policy. Another student held an upside-down American flag with an obscenity scrawled on it.
As the students were being ejected from the gym, Monnin said, Bush sought to lighten the moment by recalling a run-in with abortion rights protesters who he found noisy. According to Monnin, the Tufts protester who had been holding the flag then flashed the vulgar gesture at Bush. This student was off campus for spring break, Monnin said, and not available to comment.

MacDougall said yesterday that ''more than one person'' identified Monnin as the student who made the gesture, and that the protest in general had offended many students, alumni, and Tufts officials.

She may have earned an award for drawing media attention to the debased quality of protest politics, but the university was right to withdraw an award for academic achievement and "potential for leadership." Progressive politics — like the country generally — needs more people who know how to lead rather than throw a tantrum.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 23 March 2003 at 11:20 PM

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