[A link to this post is being e-mailed today to members of the Class of 2012, who are graduating this Thursday.]
To: Harvard Law School Class of 2012
From: Harvard Law Unbound (not recognized or authorized by HLS in any way)
Date: May 21, 2012
Re: Think Bigger: Help Hold Eric Holder Accountable For “Fast and Furious”
This afternoon the Law School is holding the “HLS Thinks Big” program. Faculty members will be sharing some of their “big ideas” on “a wide variety of topics.” They plan to offer “courageous” and “inspiring” ideas. In case you haven’t noticed it, here’s the poster advertising the event, which appears on bulletin boards throughout the Law School:
Soon you may notice some other posters throughout the Law School.
How about this big idea? When Attorney General Eric Holder arrives here on Wednesday afternoon to be honored as the Class Day speaker, possibly members of the Law School community should use this high-profile event to urge Holder to stop obstructing the investigation by the House of Representatives into the Department’s “Fast and Furious” operation — its program which not just allowed, but actually assisted, Mexican drug cartels in buying thousands of high-powered weapons in Arizona, which were then used to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens. The best general introduction to date concerning the evidence of Holder’s wrongdoing is the New York Times best-selling book by Katie Pavlich, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up.
The last time a sitting U.S. Attorney General dared show his face at Harvard Law School while under an ethical cloud for his official actions, he was openly and loudly heckled and disrespected by students. While attending a class reunion in 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez was the subject of intense organized efforts by students to embarrass him during the taking of his class’s photo (pictures of the protest here). Afterwards, the protesters followed Gonzalez into the library, shouting “shame!” and “resign!”. Twenty of them stalked Gonzalez all the way up to the fourth floor of the library.
Of course, those “courageous” faculty members who specialize in coming up with “big ideas” might come up with distinctions between Holder and Gonzalez which might just possibly give Holder a pass when he visits the campus.
For one thing, Holder is a liberal Democrat with political views that most on campus agree with, whereas heckled and harassed Gonzalez was a conservative Republican. As one student observed back in 2007: “It is pretty mainstream politics on the campus to oppose Alberto Gonzales.”
Also, Holder is a member of the African-American community, a highly favored group on campus, whereas heckled and harassed Gonzalez was not. Students might reasonably fear being called racists if they were to heckle and harass Holder.
Also, Holder merely oversaw an operation which helped Mexican drug cartels buy thousands of high-powered weapons, which were then used to murder a federal law enforcement agent and hundreds of Mexican citizens — then, once the scheme became public, he pretended he’d only recently heard about it. Heckled and harassed Gonzalez was guilty, by contrast, of truly serious offenses: he authorized the enhanced interrogation of terrorists who had murdered U.S. citizens, and he fired some attorneys who were political appointees serving at his pleasure.
Maybe Holder’s politics, ethnicity, and comparatively minor offenses justify students not dressing up in costumes, stalking Holder, and yelling at him, “shame!” and “resign!”. But perhaps both students and faculty members ought to use this occasion to express at leastsome concern about Holder having been honored with an invitation to the campus despite the ethical cloud under which he is operating regarding his handling of “Fast and Furious.”
Why not protest in some fashion the corruption inherent in Harvard Law School permitting Holder to participate in official commencement activities at this juncture, thereby lending implicit support to Holder in his defense against the serious charges pending against him?
Whether you do it by speaking to Holder about “Fast and Furious,” or merely by turning your back or hissing (as conservatives are hissed from time to time here), or even booing, when Holder speaks, this is your opportunity to say that one “big idea” that should be pursued at Harvard Law School is the idea of speaking truth to power, not just conservatives in power, but liberals in power.
To help publicize the double standard, and issues concerning the corruption of institutional integrity, presented by Attorney General Eric Holder being invited at this juncture to participate in commencement activities, today marks the launch of our third poster campaign (following up on the “Firmly Refuse” campaign and the “Dis-honoring of Edward S. Harkness” campaign). For more on the posters, see the three posts on this blog immediately above this post.