The Sunflower

Letter to the Editor — Lynn Stephan

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Letter to the Editor — Lynn Stephan

A small but important book by Timothy Snyder, “On Tyranny/Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” identifies the dangers the WSU student body has brought upon itself, along with the fine reputation and good standing of the university. Student complacency regarding the funding of the Sunflower, i.e., your refusal to rise up and demand full funding for a resource, an institution, that is/should be indispensible to you, sounds the alarm for the future, for your inaction represents an “heedless act of conformity,” the crucial first step to compromising the values and principles of democracy.

The second chapter, “Defend Institutions,” underscores the unequivocal responsibility that citizens, i.e., WSU students, have, not only to themselves, but to the institutions that underpin our freedoms:

It is institutions that help us to preserve decency. They need our help. … Do not speak of ‘our institutions’ unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf.  Institutions do not protect themselves. They fall one after the other unless each is defended from the beginning. So choose an institution you care about—a court, a newspaper, a law, a labor union—and take its side.

If you do not take the side of the Sunflower, do not dismiss this forewarning: “Plato believed that demagogues exploited free speech to install themselves as tyrants.”

Lynn Stephan,‘64/’92

 

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