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From the President

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"Role model or wasted life?"

Thanks for giving Karl Meyer ("A Radical Takes Root," April/01) the kind of prominent space in the magazine that's more often devoted to academic achievers. We need academics too, but we definitely need more people like Karl to encourage us-not necessarily to be leaders like Jesus, Gandhi, King, and others who've been deified without heed for the truths they conveyed-but to live more simply and caringly, and to resist injustice. Richard Mertens's article was straightforward, informative, and not condescending as the few pieces that appear in the media often are about dedicated peace-and-justice activists.

While there's no mass movement that might save our planet from war, pollution, greed, ignorance, and poverty, it's people like Karl and many other individuals and organizations (War Resisters League, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Peace Action, Doctors without Borders, et al.) who are resisting militarism, injustice, and social and environmental degradation throughout the U.S. and the world-despite the general lack of interest by mainstream media, and therefore lack of public awareness and concern.

Ann Morrissett Davidon, X'47

As always, I read the April issue with great interest. However, this issue also evoked a measure of disgust, starting with the front cover followed by the cover feature. The Magazine is indeed hard up for material. The manicured photo of Mr. Meyer, to imply the work ethic, is an affront to the responsible, patriotic working segment of humanity. New gloves, new scythe with bar code, and clean scarf do nothing to convince most U of C graduates that Mr. Meyer is to be admired-how juvenile.

I certainly agree with Mr. Meyer that he is not a martyr. However, his biography accurately approaches the definition of a "bum," not willing to work, support himself, or immigrate to any other country of his choice. Is his old-age health care going to be provided by the taxes of patriots?

I left the U of C in June 1944; went to India, China, and Burma; and defended our democracy against the Japanese. I took additional risks defending democracy in Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Peru from 1967 through 1970 as a member of the regular Air Force. I did not encounter Mr. Meyer as a member of the Peace Corps in South America during that period, however.

Since Mr. Meyer regards waste as immoral, how does he evaluate his life? Most responsible citizens, I believe, would offer this summary of his life-what a waste!

Clarence C. Hardin, SB'47
Brevard, North Carolina

The Magazine invites letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters must be signed and may be edited for length or clarity. Preference is given to letters of 500 words or less.

Editor, University of Chicago Magazine
1313 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637


  JUNE 2001

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  > > Kings of Chaos
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Children's Crusader
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Life begins at 33.8
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Picture this

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