To the editor:
In New York, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger stood on stage at the university to introduce invited guest speaker President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. It was not a proper introduction. What Bollinger delivered was a scathing and humiliating personal attack on President Ahmadinejad.
Interestingly, before Bollinger spoke, another university official had asked students in the audience to show civility and restraint if they found themselves in disagreement with the Iranian president's message. Apparently that admonition to be courteous did not apply to the university president. Bollinger's vicious attack was hurled against President Ahmadinejad even before he began speaking.
In the interest of promoting international peace and harmony, as Americans, we must refrain from senseless outbursts demonizing world leaders that refuse to conform to our rules. We must examine our own inflated national pride that often blinds and misleads us to mistakenly believe that we are always totally blameless concerning any troubling world situations.
We must do better at listening to criticism so that we may accurately discern if our perceived enemies do, in fact, have legitimate complaints against us, as we have against them. And, of course, we must know when to stand firm and be appropriately confrontational with our adversaries.
Finally, we must be aware that our civility and fairness as a nation is being seriously questioned in many parts of the world. Costly and deadly actions taken especially in recent years by our thoughtless leaders have been horrendous. That must change.