Phi Beta Cons

AU Students Heckle Dick Cheney, Walk Out in Protest

This happens so often it’s starting to become tedious to write about it.

Last Thursday, former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at American University at an event sponsored by the school’s Kennedy Political Union, a non-partisan, student-run, student-funded organization. As if on cue, students took to Twitter to denounce him as a “war criminal,” and a protest was organized against his appearance.

Of course, the arrival of a figure like Cheney on campus ought to spark dialogue, discussion, and even controversy about serious issues. And some of the student protesters used the occasion to express their views in a wholly appropriate way. But others were quick to ask why “war criminal & America wrecker Dick Cheney” is “still invited to speak at places like American University.”

Could it be because he is a former congressman, cabinet official, and vice president who may have important thoughts on the issues of the day? No matter. He served in the Bush Administration, so he’s persona non grata.

What was most deplorable was the group of students who interrupted Cheney’s speech with foot-stomping and shouting before walking out. Instead of behaving like thoughtful adults and asking hard questions (as other students did), these hecklers decided to behave like children and shut their ears to opposing viewpoints.

None of this is surprising. But that hardly brings any comfort.

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