Akron Beacon Journal | Letter to the Editor | Greg Coleridge | May 12, 1990
[Note: Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. Much of what was written 30 years ago remains relevant today.]
The inscription on the new May 4 memorial at Kent State University, “inquire, learn, reflect,’ sends an incomplete and troubling message. The means needed to prevent further U.S military intervention abroad and death to dissenting citizens of these policies at home require more than mere inquiry, leaning and reflection. They require action.
Inquiry, learning and reflection alone have never and will never check abuses of power by governments and corporations. Only through actions like marching, lobbying, writing, boycotting, striking, voting and movement building can governments and corporations be democratized and held accountable for their behavior.
Anyone who believes that social change happens on by inquiry, learning and reflection doesn’t know how power in our society works. If we do nothing, power will become ever more concentrated in the hands of government and corporate “leaders.”
Only through doing – actions, deeds or whatever else you may call it – can we recapture the power that is rightly ours. As Thomas Jefferson said, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
If we don’t act as well as inquire, learn and reflect, two things are certain: More U.S. interventions in Third World nations and violent police actions to quell domestic dissent will take place. And more space and stone will be needed to build more monuments like those honoring the dead in Southeast Asia and Kent State.