Editorial—Scary Times

Domestic terrorism is nothing new to most nations in the world, but usually we manage to frame it as an “us vs. them” phenomenon. Us, in the civilized, rational society, dealing with them. Them, the crazies who want government to be destroyed, or who want their God to be the only God worshipped, or who feel our way of life is despicable and must be stopped.

That’s part of what makes the most recent bombing attempts in the United States so troubling.  They seem to be bombings done in support of the government.  And while I don’t think it’s fair to attribute them to any members of any political party (even if they are, it should be pretty clear that these are really by someone who’s more sick than well, so looking at party affiliation isn’t a fair way of framing it, as mental illness doesn’t discriminate based on voting record) it gives us an uncomfortable dissonance in having to wonder, if only for a moment, if the them, the crazies, might just now be us?

Okay, fine, most people aren’t. As I said, this is some sick person, so we shouldn’t just attribute their actions to the larger society in general, yet in the same breath, isn’t there a part that we play?  And no, I don’t just mean those stoking the fires against media or opposing parties, I mean all of us.  The polarization which makes for such great reporting on the news (after all, it’s always great when you can report two clear sides fighting. That’s a story we all know and can understand) is breaking apart our primary defense against this type of thing—communicating with each other.

When we’re all screaming at the other guys, perhaps part of what we need to remember is that why we’re screaming is because they don’t seem to be hearing us.  But maybe that applies both ways.  So maybe, rather than laughing at them, or trying to prove that they’re wrong, we just need to shut up and listen for a while.  And that’s hard. It’s so hard to listen to something that you adamantly disagree with without stepping up to correct things, but I’m not sure there’s any other way that we’re going to get through to each other.  If we listen, maybe they’ll stop screaming.  And then we won’t have to scream either.  And if they don’t, maybe that’s the warning we need to get them to seek professional help.  And if that had been done for the bomber, maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

At any rate, this is our Halloween issue, and we’ve got a few things on the scary side to get you into the spirit of the season.  Starting with our feature article, a look at the ongoing contract negotiations between AU and AUPE.  Mandatory arbitration has been removed from legislation, meaning that post-secondary unions have to use the methods that every other private sector union and employer uses.  Which means, in the worst-case scenario, a strike or lockout.  The question is, will AU have one, and what will that do to your courses?  We look at what’s been going on in Carla Knipe’s report on the negotiations.

We also have a new Meeting the Minds, where we talk to Dr. Jeff Chang from the AU Psychology department , it’s a solid interview with some decent information if you’re looking at one of AU’s psych degrees.  Plus, of course, advice, reviews, interviews, events, scholarships, and more!  Enjoy the read!