Regarding last Thursday’s rally, I would like to commend all organizers, speakers and participants. The purpose was clear: to encourage, among students and scholars, a reexamination of the current administration’s policies. The gathering was not a singular bashing of Bush imperialism, as suggested by opponents of the protest; more accurately, it was an eclectic demonstration of Bush’s failings on many fronts. I was moved to consider, among other dilemmas, how I felt about accepting tax relief at the expense of fellow citizens’ welfare, or how I felt about spreading the American freedom-seed around the world at the expense of international stability. The speakers did a wonderful job of positing these poignant realities, but it was one unrelated question that left me more discouraged than enlightened. The question was presented on a sign by a young female Bush supporter and, held high for all to see, it said “How does it feel to lose?”
Initially I viewed the sign as inappropriate, something on par with, say, a pro-choice activist wearing a “Roe v. Wade: How does it feel to lose?” T-shirt during a pro-life demonstration. But after lengthy consideration, I realized just how fitting the sign was. See, losing the election, although initially shocking and awful, was for the most part a kick in the pants — a wake-up call for all young, active forward-thinking liberals (or as campus conservatives call us, “radicals,” as though to mitigate the legitimacy of our views). With the kick came a resounding realization that short-term memory loss among Americans over the age of 18 is a very real problem. We understand that we can no longer depend on a president’s past falsehoods and follies to be enough of an indictment on his ability to assume the most powerful position in the world.
Publicly gathering and voicing intelligible dissent is now absolutely necessary, if not to garner support for a future election, then to allow, at least, for breathing room in this environment of neo-conservatism. To denigrate the activists’ participation in the rally, while participating in it as a protester of the rally is shamefully hypocritical. To denounce participation on the basis of economics or lost lecture time is to be blind to many activists’ core motivations. I sacrificed $15 worth of classroom education, but listened to how we might fund future classes.
And to me, it was a lesson well learned and money well spent. To label the activists’ efforts as “extreme” and “radical” is indicative of the passiveness and naivet