In an October Letter to the Editor, the E-Board of the Cornell Republicans lied to readers of The Sun. They boldly asserted that they “are an organization that relishes the opportunity to engage in good-faith debate,” yet when the national conversation turned to police brutality and the daily endangerment of black lives by law enforcement, they stayed notably silent. Their social media makes absolutely no mention of the murder of George Floyd nor any protests. Neither does their website. They have issued no public statement on the vitally important discourse on police brutality reverberating throughout our country. Apparently, this is one debate which they have no interest in engaging in.
It pains me greatly to say this, especially as I personally know and hold considerable respect for several members of the Cornell Republicans. However, their refusal to make any public statement whatsoever on the current events when practically every other Cornell organization has done so already (including Cornell Dems and Cornell Political Union) reveals that they do not relish “the opportunity to engage in good-faith debate” but rather, actively avoid it. Perhaps, as a repeatedly shared recent Facebook post by Moriah Adeghe ’21 calling out the silence of the Cornell Republicans suggested, they are currently struggling to reconcile “how you can be pro-life when it’s unborn fetuses, but not pro-life when it’s black people.” Perhaps they are grappling with how to craft a socially conservative argument which vindicates Trump for using the bible as a political prop shortly after using tear gas on his own citizens. Perhaps they are so utterly aware of the indefensibility of any political position besides support and empathy for individuals fighting against the daily endangerment of black Americans’ lives by racist policing that they have no interest in even attempting to defend whatever position they hold as an organization. Sadly, we have no idea because they have been silent. They leave us only to speculate.
Their silence has told us something though — their commitment to good-faith debate and free discourse is a sham. They lied to readers of The Sun. They eroded their own integrity through this hypocrisy. Members of Cornell Republicans are among the quickest on campus to decry the decline of free expression in America, the lack of what they perceive to be substantive debate, yet within the same breath they refuse to express themselves. It’s particularly unfortunate because we do have a very real problem with discourse in America, a problem which the Cornell Republicans embody through utilizing a commitment to good-faith debate as empty rhetoric while skirting their organizational responsibility to discuss pressing political matters in an honest, respectful and substantive manner.
They should engage in this debate or apologize for lying to the readers of The Sun.
If you really “are an organization that relishes the opportunity to engage in good-faith debate,” then have an opinion and defend it. Make a comment. Say something. Maybe even say something which acknowledges the horrific systemic racism in our country and the role your party is currently playing in perpetuating it through a president who stokes division out of political expediency. I disagree with Cornell Republicans vehemently on nearly everything, but I truly would like to respect them, to value their opinions even in disagreement. I cannot respect an organization that is silent on the fight to stop the murder of innocent black Americans. I cannot value the opinion of an organization that does not even have one.
Alternatively, Cornell Republicans could simply apologize and retract their earlier commitment to good-faith debate. They could preserve a few last shreds of integrity by admitting their lie and apologizing for misleading the readers of The Sun. The choice is theirs.
Andrew Lorenzen is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at email@example.com. When We’re Sixty Four runs every other Tuesday this summer.