By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Pinocchio has been re-elected. He is on his way, finally, to becoming a real president. Now all he needs to do is lose the strings. The time has come, my liberal friends, not to complain about the election results (legitimate or not, he used our democratic system exactly as it is set up to work), but instead to start making some progressive changes in our game plan. See, whether the Republicans realize it or not, a social revolution is still on the way, and this time it will succeed. The difference now is that we will do something they never even considered doing: We are going to learn from history.
In the 1960s, there were campuswide protests across the country in an effort to change both the government’s agenda and the educational "conspiracy" of which the students felt they were victims. The government agenda they opposed was one of aggressive military endeavors and legislation that attempted to crush diversity (eerily similar to the current administration’s agenda, which I will outline for you later). The educational conspiracy that they were so opposed to had to do with the universities’ curricula. To them, it seemed as though the institutions were discouraging creativity/independent thought and attempting a nationwide robotification of the minds of the student body. This would, they claimed, train them to act as "bricks in the wall" of the corporate hierarchy, and make them easy to exploit so the CEOs could stuff their own wallets. So who were these students? Were they drugged out, paranoid, mindless slackers? Drugged out? Maybe. But mindless? Not even close. The students who led the protests (at schools such as Berkeley, Michigan, Cornell and NYU) were among the brightest members of their respective classes. These kids were well-read, thoughtful and decisive. They didn’t scream indiscernible moans but instead wrote articulate and insightful documents, such as the Port Huron Statement of 1962 in which members of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) advocated what they referred to as "participatory democracy."
So the question is: If the cream of the crop of the country’s best schools were liberal and made such a powerful statement, then why is the country still so conservative, with such a skewed moral system, and what can the new generation of students do about it? Before I answer that, I will quickly explain what I mean by skewed.
Ifall men deserve equal inalienable rights, then why are gays being stripped of theirs? Yes, I understand that marriage isn’t a constitutional right, but seriously, what do you win if you succeed in banning it? None of your Christian marriages are affected either way, and life is slightly worse for an entire demographic of citizens. I really can’t understand you bigoted fools. Next, it’s really easy to say that your tax cut saved Americans billions of dollars. What’s not so easy is explaining to the middle and lower economic brackets why they paid the same damn amount of money the years before and after the tax cut. Why is it economically beneficial to large corporations to pollute and outsource? Why is global warming less of a concern than what you can and can’t say on TV? Why are you so afraid of human nudity and language that you make a conscious effort to censor them, while war and violence are considered patriotic? Why don’t you give peace a chance? Why is marijuana illegal when tobacco kills tens of thousands times as many people per year? Why are campaigns no longer about how great a candidate is, but instead about how sketchy an opponent is? This one’s for both parties; you do realize that this approach leaves Americans nervous about their officials no matter who wins, right?
So why did those students of the ’60s fall short if their message was right? Don’t get me wrong, because of their efforts, women, gays and minorities have made huge equality gains, and the environment is a vital part of any candidate’s platform, so they definitely made some worthwhile progress. Once again, though, the country is still right-leaning. Well, they fell short, because they focused too much on appealing to the policymakers and didn’t give enough credit to a long-term solution. Think about it, from the perspective of the adults of the time, you’ve got a bunch of seemingly ignorant kids chanting that everything you have ever worked for and believed in is wrong, providing no alternative to speak of. How would you react if you were presented with that? True, visionaries like Tom Hayden and Abbie Hoffman had a better solution than simply "peace," but the giant crowds didn’t come off as having one. No, the old white men whose entire fortunes and security could be derived from the "terrors" of capitalism were not going to listen, but the students persisted. They amassed and chanted and did drugs and sang to those same old white men for a decade, and when it didn’t go anywhere, they turned millitant, killed their credibility, and eventually gave up their optimism, many turning into those same old rich, white men that they had hated so viciously. If you can’t change your environment, adapt to it. That’s why they fell short.
It’s time for all you Democrats and Republicans alike to pay close attention. I will now reveal the secret to our impending successful revolution. The atmosphere of the ’60s will return (except with techno music and cell phones). Students will once again be open-minded and willing to take risks (though probably less promiscuous due to STDs). Next, unlike our parents, we will not scream for immediate change. We will quietly educate and exist only as splinters under the fingernails of those in power. We understand that we can’t get those who possess the power to change, but the kids are a different story. If enough kids are willing to start thinking; if enough kids come to understand the importance of global success over personal wealth; and if the kids understand that we will soon inherit the world and run it how we choose, then they will join and they will act. It will be, by the standard definition, a guardian coup d’√©tat. Without warning, we will simultaneously come of age, all with an understanding of why liberal policies are so vital to the future of the country and the world. We will, in a time span of less than five years, fill out Congress; then, like musical chairs, everything will suddenly shift. The power will transfer to us and we will have won. The time of bigotry and greed will be over and a better, more progressive world will result. So there you have it, that’s the plan. Try to act surprised when the time comes.
On November 4, 2004, 17-year-old Travis Moe led a sleep-in at Boulder High to protest the policies and priorities of the Bush administration, military recruitment in school and disregard for the environment. See "Slumber Party" on this page for more on the kids.
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