To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
The inexpressible emotion of the American people for the personal tragedy of the family of the late President has overshadowed their reason. It was indeed a horrible tragedy for the late President's wife, his mother, and all his relations.
Stanley Milgram, in an effort to use this tragedy to advance his own political ideals, has written that since civil rights legislation was one of President Kennedy's most dear programs, we must force its enactment in order to "give meaning to his death." Such a suggestion as this directly violates a basic tenet of this country's political ethic: that legislation be enacted by reasonable process rather than by emotional reaction. The death of President Kennedy has now and will for many decades have incalculable "meaning." He did not die for and because of civil rights legislation--rather, he died because an insane man shot him. President Kennedy is not a martyr to civil rights or any other of the legislation for which he fought. If the President's ideas rather than the personal tragedy should become the focal point of our emotion, then we would be the same kind of emotional being that his assassin was. It is possible to pay tribute to this man who died while serving his country without carrying out all or any one of the policies of which he was an advocate. If Barry Goldwater had been assassinated, would it be right for the Senate to abolish social security or to replace the graduated income tax?
Let us keep emotion and reason separate and let our reason prevail. We must place our faith in the man whom we have elected to replace President Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson. The late President himself wrote that the courageous governor or legislator acts according to his conscience--we must allow President Johnson to try to follow the example of the Profiles in Courage. Finally, there is no reason for the death of President Kennedy at the hands of an insane individual to cause Congress to become overwhelmingly emotional about the passage of President Kennedy's civil rights legislation--this is a matter to be decided by reason, not emotion. Douglas L. Hammer '65