Fred Phelps And A Final Farewell


Fred Phelps And A Final Farewell


By: Laura Alix
Posted: 4/23/07

So this is it - my final column for The Daily Campus. Over the past few weeks, I've been pondering whether I should write a more traditional "farewell" column or whether I should just do what I've been doing all along and simply give my opinion on some matter or another. Well, being the indecisive type that I do tend to be sometimes, I felt I should do a little bit of both. Bear with me, please.

Rarely am I unsure of whether to laugh or be horrified, but then again, rarely do I check the news for updates on Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, and rarely do I visit Phelps' Web site.

For those of you who don't know of the infamous Phelps, allow me to briefly fill you in. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church. He and his 71 followers - about 60 of whom are related to Phelps through either blood or marriage - are best known for protesting, well, just about everything. You may recall an uproar a little while back over some religious fanatics protesting the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq, claiming that the soldiers' deaths were God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality. Those protestors were none other than Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. They have also protested the funeral of Matthew Shepard, productions of "The Laramie Project" - the play that details the death of Shepard - and various other political events. When criticized, Phelps simply invokes his First Amendment right to free speech.

Phelps and the WBC have most recently made the news for their plans to protest the funerals of those killed in the Virginia Tech shootings. No, they really do not have any shame or sense of decency. Phelps has claimed that Cho Seung-Hui was hearing the voice of God and carrying out God's orders, even though he is now in hell, too. The victims, according to Phelps, were punished for not being Christian enough.

Although I consider myself non-religious, I have a hard time believing that any true Christian could believe the hateful nonsense that Phelps spews on a regular basis. His group has even made their own music videos, "God Hates the World" and "God Hates America," which is oh-so-cleverly set to the tune of "God Bless America." Ultimately, though, we really cannot take away Phelps' right to protest and free speech because it would be un-American to do so. The one consolation that I can offer to myself and others is we should just be grateful to live in a country so free that whackos like Phelps can enjoy the same rights as the rest of us.

But it's time to move on to the more everyday stuff. The past few weeks have been extremely hectic for me, and I'm sure they have been for other graduating seniors as well. I have too many projects and papers due and a serious desire to procrastinate. I've also been forgetting what day of the week it is on a pretty regular basis, waking up each morning and asking myself, "Do I go to work or class today?" I need a break by now - I think we all do.

I've also had family members, co-workers and what feels like just about the rest of the world breathing down my neck and asking me what I'm going to do after graduation. This is tricky, see, because until about eight months ago, I talked about going to graduate school or law school, and when I suddenly just dropped the subjects, I guess they assumed that I still wanted to go. I really did think I would go to law school and become a lawyer when I chose political science as my major about three years ago. Honestly, it seemed like a fantastic idea until I woke up one morning and realized that I just really didn't want to be a lawyer. Ditto on grad school - I just don't want to pursue political science anymore, and I'd rather not waste the money unless I'm totally sure of what I want to do.

But maybe that's the whole problem to begin with. When we leave college, we are expected to know exactly what we want to do, as if this four or five year experience will help us to decide what the course of our entire lives will be. In middle school, we wondered what "the real world" would be like when we got to high school. In high school, we wondered the same thing about college. And now, well, I'm just not so sure that this proverbial real world is going to show its face in my presence. Much as I'm sure some of those in my life will be dismayed that I have not, in fact, charted the course of the rest of my life by now, I think that's impossible for many people. Some people have a plan, and they stick to it from start to finish - I can admire that, but I just don't think it's possible for most of us. Things change.

So what am I going to do after graduation? Right now, the post-graduation to-do list consists of the following: play some more guitar, read some more Bret Easton Ellis, quit wasting so much time on Facebook, quit buying so much junk on eBay and hopefully go to Europe - or at least Canada - at some point. Every person who has asked me, "What are you going to do with a degree in political science?" has received any one of the following smart-aleck answers: be president, be a vagabond, or be on TV. I'm probably going to end up going back to school again in the not-too-distant future, but right now, I need a break. Not a single one of my friends who has graduated so far has gone on to do exactly what he or she planned to do as a freshman in college - at least not yet anyway.

I thought that upon graduating, that I would only miss The Daily Campus, but I've felt more and more lately like I just might be wrong about that. I don't have the "Husky spirit," and I don't like basketball or beer pong, but I'm still going to miss UConn somehow. My only parting advice to anybody reading this would be to make the best of these few years in any way that you can - and come write for Commentary. Goodbye everyone. Have a good life.


Original Source:<a href=>The Daily Campus - April 23, 2007</a>


Laura Alix


The Daily Campus




Sara AA Hood


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Laura Alix, “Fred Phelps And A Final Farewell,” The April 16 Archive, accessed May 23, 2024,