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Use care with your words
On youthful overreach, statements of sympathy, and why a group of College Democrats should step down
Youthful indiscretion is so commonplace that it already has a name. But there are times when the overreaches of the young and intemperate must be met with corrective consequences.
■ The student leadership of the College Democrats at the University of Iowa published a statement on the conflict in the Gaza Strip, and concluded with a phrase widely recognized to call for the destruction of the state of Israel. This was met with condemnation, including from the chair of the state party.
■ In the course of commenting on the conflict, it ultimately cannot be missed by anyone that it began with a brutal terrorist attack by Hamas in which more than 1,400 people in Israel were murdered. In the words of Deutsche Welle, "The images go far beyond what journalists who have years of experience dealing with conflict, war, death and violence are used to seeing."
■ It is possible to say many things -- including to convey sympathy for the humanity of civilians on both sides of the border -- and to do so temperately, cautiously, and prudently. But words matter so much that one should always take care to check the origins and connotations of what seem like clever turns of phrase from others before adopting them. Youth can be an excuse for only so much, and aligning with terrorists (even if only in words) is a measure too far.