In writing this I am well aware of the variety of people who will be reading it. We print 4,500 copies, and they are mailed to about 350 subscribers (thank you for the support!), and the rest can be picked up in all kinds of places: restaurants, coffee-shops, bars, boxes on campus and in the community, the Downtown Farmer’s Market (you can say hi there), hotels, libraries.
When I was in college last century (1969-73 to be more precise), I remember finding Ramparts magazine in the library. It was newsprint, not like Time, Life, and other glossy magazines I was used to. And it had coverage I did not see elsewhere. But that coverage rang truer to me than what I saw elsewhere about the Viet Nam War, a primary concern at that time for me, and other social issues as well.
Fast forward to now. What is this paper to you? In this era when “fake news” is a term bandied about freely, do folks think the articles in here are fake, made up? I sure hope not.
I write from the perspective of a person who was a student the same time and age as the students killed at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970. I have been a passionate watcher and follower of world events ever since. Writing this makes me want to try to share a perspective equally understandable to fellow travelers from the ’60s, to the current generation of students who have only known a nation at war, and been whipsawed from one of the most decent, well spoken presidents to the rather horrid human who lurks in the White House now.
Folks, things are not going well. When we had high hopes for change under Obama, he told us change could not happen fast, that the nation was like a big ship that could not turn sharply. The trouble is, carrying the ship analogy, the ocean of reality is not level, and the changes under Trump can be much more rapid. Tearing down is easier than building up. Diplomacy and cooperating take time and effort. Tossing out agreements and military posturing is easy, but where do you end up? We may soon find out.
We humans have created a myriad of problems which have no obvious solution. Our inventiveness, with motivations from both good intentions and greed, have built systems and grown capacities so large, they have momentum of their own. We have created ideologies and belief systems clung to and defended beyond rationality. We are beings who universally love music and laughter, social beings who need each other, yet we can fall prey to groupthink which creates fear and hatred, a huge problem now with mass media and deceptive propaganda.
But awareness is growing that this is not the way it has to be. Women are speaking out against male supremacy. Bernie Sander’s campaign opened people’s eyes to rearranging economic priorities. Youth are awakening to their collective power. Teachers, who shape the future by educating our children, are standing up and demanding their due. The internet is a tool that can work in our favor just as much as hold us back. Like any tool, it is all in how we use it. We need to deal with the new reality we all face.
The pain in watching the flailing of the buffoon this nation installed as President is to say, at the very least, disconcerting, as is the possibility of war and harder times ahead. But if and when those transpire, we still will have the community we are in, and the opportunity to organize together, connect with one another, and try to do some good with the time we are sharing on the planet. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
P.S. The radio series “This American Life” featured a program dealing with well-funded right-wing campus organizing, which is quite relevant to our community in order to understand it and not allow it to fester. We did well dealing with “alt right” idiot Richard Spencer, but he represents just one aspect of their campaign to move us backward. You can find the podcast at: www.thisamericanlife.org/645/my-effing-first-amendment.