Let us make no mistake: The courts of American public opinion are just as powerful as our actual courts of law, for better and far often for worse. But in the courts of public opinion, that hallowed Anglo-American legal standard of “innocent until proven guilty” is far from universal. The past two decades of sordid politics-as-usual have revealed that gender, judicial philosophy, political affiliation, and other identity labels are litmus tests for whom the public opinion courts will extend “innocent until proven guilty.”
This column rarely plays host to popular campus opinions, so it is probably unsurprising that its author quite enjoys hearing the Harvard Band play its medley of Crimson fight songs at sporting events and major university ceremonies like Convocation and Commencement. I genuinely enjoy the raucous energy of “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard” (as well as its less respectable counterpart) and the joyfully archaic melodies of “Fair Harvard.”
From the perplexing alteration of school anthem “Fair Harvard” to The Crimson Editorial Board’s latest HCFA hysteria to whatever is happening on the Korean peninsula, there’s no shortage of small and large controversies that I could have waded into, to leave a lingering last word. As many of my peers and friends would unfortunately be able to tell you (bless their hearts for putting up with all of it), I have no shortage of opinions on these controversies either.
I absolutely believe that Harvard offers something of an extraordinary education, but I am not convinced that all is as well as it seems in our classroom education. I firmly believe education is far more holistic than classroom and book knowledge, and that our educational experience is influenced by far more than studying. Yet I cannot help but wonder if we have become so enamored with “experiences” outside the classroom that we have neglected the very foundations of the liberal arts education for which we supposedly came to Harvard.
Yet, when I am handed a map, compass, and protractor and am expected to plot and then actually go find five grid coordinates in the woods during an Army land navigation training? My brain starts flashing the blue screen of death that my old Windows XP desktop machine would flash on the daily. (Fun aside: The Department of Defense seems to still largely rely on ancient Windows operating systems. You should definitely be concerned.)