Abortion needs serious dialogue
It may have been obvious to some members of the MIT community that the display put up by the group "Men Exploited by Masturbation" (MEM) was an outright hack. Although this possibility seemed initially plausible to me, I thought that perhaps MEM was, in fact, seriously concerned about the abortion issue. As a result, on overhearing a conversation about the display at the Student Center coffee house, I asked the young man speaking if he was a member of this group, which indeed he was. Since there was no notice on the display informing the community about the group or how to contact it, I asked this fellow if the group had a mailing address or if there was someone I could contact, perhaps the president.
Before considering the possibility of giving me this information, he asked me what my opinion of the display was. I found this disturbing, because it implied that only people who agreed with the group's ideology could contact it. After telling the young man that my opinion was ambiguous at best, he asked me why I wanted the information which I had requested from him! My response was that any group that puts up a display for the community should be responsive to this community. He didn't find this sufficient cause, so in desperation I told him that I was thinking about joining the group, and I asked him if he had any problem with that! He thoughtfully responded that MIT had a policy prohibiting excluding women or any other category of people from student groups. (It appears that clear policies do make a difference.) I did finally extract a mailing address, but I have yet to see it posted on the display.
The American people have a cultural imperative to develop a coherent and intelligent dialogue on the abortion question. This issue may be as divisive to our society as Prohibition was. Throughout the 1990s and perhaps into the next century, we will be struggling to find a rational solution. I hope that the MEM display was not simply poking fun at people who are trying to think this issue through.
Maya Paczuski G->