Love beats hate, UA rally is proof
It’s easy to look at the world and want to give up. From the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to the Westboro Baptist Church protests at funerals, it’s easy to just throw your hands up and wonder out loud, “What the hell is wrong with this world?”
Last week, the world’s insanity hit closer to home when UA student Dean Saxton angered the student body with a sign that read “You deserve rape.”
A group of UA student organizations went to Heritage Hill on Tuesday to show Saxton that they would not stand for his message. Some people crossed the line in their abuse of Saxton, but the majority represented a peaceful protest.
With so many people standing against one individual, a larger message prevailed: Wherever you see one person attempting to spread hate, you can always find even more trying to spread love.
It’s easy to wish that Saxton would just go away. In fact, some people even urged the Dean of Students Office to try to make that happen.
Ignoring Saxton is also an option. Clearly, he is looking for attention; by challenging him, yelling at him and spitting on him, all people are doing is giving him the reaction he wants. But if you just ignore him, it does nothing for the people that he hurt. Ignoring him won’t make him go away, either. For the most part, people have ignored him all year, and his speeches only became more and more radical.
The best way to help the victims of Saxton’s tirades is to stand up for them. In fighting hate speech with more speech, not only are we spreading a message of love, we are showing survivors of sexual assault that we support them and they that they did not deserve what happened to them.
Chances are, Saxton didn’t listen to a word that was said to him. He probably loved the attention, and has probably loved all the media coverage over the past two weeks. But the protest on Tuesday was more about sending a message to survivors than to Saxton.
It’s discouraging that we can’t do anything to change Saxton. We just want to show him how many people he has hurt. But we can’t. There have always been people like Saxton, and there always will be.
What we can do is stand up for what is right and pick up the pieces that Saxton has broken.
Anywhere that you see hate in this world, love will follow. Saxton has vomited hatred all over the campus these past two weeks, but people have been there to clean it up. And there will always be more people spreading love than spewing hatred.
— Dan Desrochers is the opinions editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter via @drdesrochers.