A Message from a Co-Editor of The Fenwick Review

Anthony Cash ’23

Staff Writer

As I sat down to write this article, the appropriate words could not seem to come to my mind.  Draft after draft, nothing seemed to be good enough.  Five drafts later, I felt a hand on my shoulder as one of my closest friends came up to me and asked me how my day was and what I was doing.  “Just a little tired,” I grunted out, and noticing the title of this piece on my Google Doc, he asked what I was writing about.  After I let him know my struggle to find the appropriate words for this article, he encouraged me to be honest and gracious—both things I had been afraid to do so as to not appear “weak.”  Then, it hit me; I had been approaching this all wrong.  In sitting down to defend my publication’s right to exist and the freedom of speech, I forgot the reason why I am writing this in the first place: to connect with those who are different from me.

From this situation, I began to feel a calm come over me that wasn’t present before.  Coming off of a big paper assignment and looking forward to my senior recital—the finish line for music majors—and another big assignment due this week, I was stressed academically.  In my personal life, I had just come back from a long Saturday Bible quizzing tournament in Maine, spent Sunday preparing for my church’s Spring Revival, had been trying to find a summer position to help me pay for law school expenses, planning my graduation, teaching piano lessons, and paying my many tolls, among other things.  In the midst of all this, I had to wrangle the controversy of the last few weeks concerning the publication I help lead—The Fenwick Review.

Stepping into my co-editorship at The Fenwick Review, I wanted to moderate the publication so that people of all perspectives could openly pick up a copy and read it in public without feeling a stigma being attached to them.  My goal in joining the publication my sophomore year was to express my values in a way that someone who disagreed with me could come away saying, “While I don’t agree, I see where he’s coming from,” a sentence I had said many times throughout my life.

As we progressed this year, however, and controversy arose, it became ever harder to erase the stigma surrounding The Review, as people lined up in their ideological camps to be either “pro” or “anti” Fenwick Review.  This all culminated in the last few weeks’ conflict over “An SGA Exposé” and our second guest speaker this year, Liz Collin.  

While some may assign blame to the writers and staff of The Review for raising these ideas, and others assign blame to MSOs for twisting The Review’s writing in their statement, I don’t think it is right to label our fellow students as “enemies.” Often, when we interact with someone different from us with a combative attitude, we only get a caricature of that person—conveniently, the one that we wish to see.  

I would like to take you on a short exercise.  Think of a person you despise—whether it is someone with whom you disagree, had a falling out, etc.  Now imagine you were born in their shoes, overcoming the trauma they have overcome and enduring the situations they had to endure.  It is highly likely that you would have a similar perspective as they do.  We must ask ourselves how we would behave if we were born into a different life and identity to look past any prejudices and work to understand each other.

In the midst of all the chaos this school year, with co-workers coming after my campus job, people intimidating and harassing Fenwick Review writers, and having to defend our publication from all sides, I had to ask God to calm the frustration, loneliness, and sadness that bubbled up in me in reaction to these trials and remind myself that my battle is not with people, but the darkness in this world.  Through all this stress and controversy, it was important, however difficult, to continue to love people and try my best to be a light in this dark world.  

Ephesians 6:12 instructs, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  It is not our job to combat our fellow students, but to combat the division and hatred so rampant in this world.  Your fellow student is not the problem; it is the division between you and your fellow student and the unwillingness to see things from their perspective.

If we want a more inclusive campus, less radical ideological camps, and better understanding among us, we all have to commit to loving one another in word and deed.  Dr. Martin Luther King so eloquently stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Be that light to someone today.

Featured image courtesy of Vip Commission via PNGitem Mediation and Dialogue When Facing Exclusion: Respect

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