Politics


Just as anyone else who has come across an issue that they deem important, it can be disheartening to see how many others decide not to get involved. While it can be true that they honestly don’t see how it impacts them, I don’t believe that is the reason for the majority of the disinterest.

I was watching the National Spelling Bee on TV (unable to spell any of the words myself) and came across this word:

Weltschmerz
Meaning: “Sadness over the evils of the world, especially as an expression of romantic pessimism.”

This description often plays a large role when I begin to stop caring since it is quickly followed by feelings of hopelessness. I guess the cause and effect relationship can be the opposite as well.

From reading other blogs, ranting publicly on the internet seems to be cathartic for some. However I cope better by understanding the situation sufficiently to create an informed decision so that I may pass my comprehension onto at least a few others. This at first may seem without purpose, but ultimately if enough people are properly informed on an issue and they each inform others, this exponential communication can change the future.

My only hope is that I am able to eke out enough wisdom to make the right decisions so that others place enough value in my opinions and cause them to want to listen.

To understand my views on the issue, please see my previous post:
Hall of Flags Diversity Display
The idea to clearly establish the meaning of the Hall of Flags is also mentioned here:
The Meaning of the Hall of Flags

I really believe that the Hall of Flags can be reestablished if meaning of the display and rules are agreed upon by the students. I have faith that those with and without Vietnamese heritage can come together on an acceptable solution that respects everyone’s beliefs. The following is an ongoing attempt that I am making to clarify the meaning and adapt the rules.

Issues so far:

  • Separate the Hall of Flags from International Week.

  • Clearly state the meaning.

“Hall of Flags”

The display highlights the vast diversity that exists among our college of engineering students and serves as a reminder that as engineers we are to make the world a better place for everyone.

A flag is hung in the atrium of Nedderman Hall for each of the countries our engineering students represent. In no way does it endorse a nation, their politics or policies and is solely the creation of the College of Engineering.

1. Any College of Engineering international student may request the hanging of his or her country’s current official flag.

2. Only one student request is required.

3. Once a flag is hung, it will not be removed.

4. There are no other rules or qualifications.

Effort to restore the display:

Debate and petition site:

How I understand things: (in progress)

There are two independent issues: (Yellow Flag = Freedom and Heritage Flag) (Red Flag = Socialist Republic of Vietnam Flag)
  • International Week:
  1. This is organized by the International Student Organization.
  2. I fully support any changes that allow the use of the yellow flag.
  3. I have much more interest in the Hall of Flags issue.
  • Hall of Flags:
  1. This is organized independently by the College of Engineering.
  2. The yellow flag was never removed or replaced.
  3. As officaly stated, I’ve always understood and believed the following: "By displaying these flags, the university is not endorsing these nations, their politics or policies. We are supporting students and alumni who come from these nations. The flags represent countries of origin, not governments." Source
  4. The red flag was correctly added to the display upon request from an international college of engineering student from Vietnam unless proven otherwise.
  5. The politicians and those that motivated them are wrong in threatening to withhold funding.
  6. In regards to President Spaniolo’s actions:
    1. It was wrong for the President to not mention the politician’s threat to cut funding as the reason for the removal of the display. Source
    2. If at all possible, students should have been allowed to give input and decide on an action after the funding threats were made. Such as calling their bluff and applying pressure on the politicians.
    3. I agree with the choice to remove all flags if the only other option was to remove a single flag and destroying the non-political meaning of the diversity display
  7. I do not believe that it was the desire of most Vietnamese-American students to remove all the flags. However, there is no doubt that it was a cost that at a few involved individuals were willing to accept to remove the red flag.
  8. A diversity display of any kind can not exist as long as it is acceptable to not represent a group that is part of that diversity.
  9. I have no positive opinion of any communist government and I do not care about the red flag. In this country however, anyone has the right to believe otherwise. We also have the freedom of expression, the right to disagree and nothing protects us from being offended.

  • What I would like to see from the Vietnamese-American Students:
  1. Completely separate themselves from the opinions of individuals outside of UTA.
    1. Many do not have a full understanding of the issues, nor do they care.
    2. Many do not understand the meaning of the Hall of Flags display, nor do they care.
    3. They are using questionable tactics and are willing to win at any cost.
  2. Work with the College of Engineering to bring back the Hall of Flags diversity display:
    1. This will involve adding a complete description of the display in Nedderman Hall that includes the complete meaning and all of the governing rules.
    2. The new Hall of Flags display should unequivocally explain that the flags do not represent governments or politics.
  3. Once the students have agreed upon proper wording for the description and all the rules, the complete document should be accompanied by a petition of people who support it.

The removal of the Freedom and Heritage Flag from International Week. is acceptable as The removal of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Flag from the Hall of Flags.

Why do individuals believe that freedom of expression should only apply to things they agree with?