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In Defense of the H-R Democrats



To the Editors of The Crimson:

I often read The Crimson. And I often read things that I can't believe anyone would write. But Kristine M. Zaleskas went way beyond all limits in the October 31 Crimson. I've never seen a more worthless piece of purely vindictive adolescent whimsy than her column, "It's My Party." She ought to have known better.

For starters, Zaleskas uses obvious code words and phrases to make veiled ad hominem attacks on the president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Democrats, James M. Harmon '93. She writes that "famous Harvard-Radcliffe Democrats include the creator of non-ordered choice" and proceeds to castigate "one member" for calling gubernatorial candidate John R. Silber "a jerk." Both of these comments refer to Harmon, and Zaleskas knows it.

If Zaleskas wanted to attack Harmon personally, why did she not just come out and say so? Was she worried that she would sound childish and silly? She shouldn't have been--she sounded that way, anyway.

The fact is--and Zaleskas would know this if she had ever set foot in a single Democrats meeting--that Jamie Harmon has done nothing short of an excellent job since he became president in September. He has almost single-handedly raised the club from virtual nothingness to the strongest political voice on this campus.

The facts speak for themselves. In just six weeks under Harmon's leadership, the club has had more events than it had all last year. Under Harmon's leadership, the club has provided more volunteers to Sen. John F. Kerry's re-election campaign than any other club in this state. And under Harmon's leadership, the club has mushroomed to become the second-largest college Democratic club in the nation. That's quite a list, and I've barely even started.

Zaleskas goes on to ridicule Harmon and the club for "deciding not to endorse" Silber. She asks if "Massachusetts voters are not intellectual enough for the Harvard-Radcliffe Democrats" and cites Democratic National Committee Chair Ron Brown's and Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's endorsements as evidence that the club had not good reason not to endorse the candidate.

The fact is--and Zaleskas would also know this if she had read the Crimson article discussing the issue--that the club is not actively working for Silber (it was the Crimson reporter, not Harmon who used the word "endorsing") because there was not a single member who wanted to organize the effort.

Being the responsible leader of the Democratic organization, Harmon merely reported this fact to The Crimson when a reporter asked. If there had been a single member willing to work for Silber, then the Crimson article never would have happened.

This all raises another very important question: where the hell was Kristine Zaleskas? If, as she claims, she is really a Democrat, then why didn't she join the club and use her voice to make change from within? Jamie Harmon surely would have welcomed her.

When Colin V. Gallagher '91, who had also never been to a club meeting, started his Students for Silber organization (I guess Zaleskas missed that meeting, too,) Harmon went out of his way to ask him to join the club. Gallagher refused.

If someone like Zaleskas had been there from the beginning, none of this would have been an issue. She could have led the charge for Silber. She could have argued the Silber case to the Harvard campus. But, alas, she must have been too busy doing other things. Witty Crimson articles such as hers sure take a lot of time.

But don't let me give the impression that it is too late. There are still five days left before the election. If Zaleskas really cares about the principles and programs she says she does, why doesn't she get out from behind her computer screen and do something? Why doesn't she join the Harvard-Radcliffe Democrats and set us straight?. Anytime she feels like backing up her idle rhetoric with some productive action, she shouldn't hesitate to give us a call. We'd love to hear from her. Neil a. Cooper '91   member, Harvard-Radcliffe Democrats   Executive Director, College Democrats of America

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