Many have left to go to the Day of Silence rally. I have stayed to hold down the fort.
And many did stop by. I had a great conversation with a girl named Rebecca, all about the efforts I’ve been making to educate the campus about the history and purposes of civil disobedience and nonviolence and all that good stuff–that we’re not just here ’cause we wanted to take over the administration’s building, dude–that we’re here because we want to be an education to the campus (wow, that Pericles stuff can really stick with you. Of course, here I am alluding the Funeral Oration left and right without mentioning things like, oh, say, slavery in Greece. But, as Mr. Emerson says, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds). Right.
Things are pretty mellow right now. Dave put Liz Phair on the stereo pretty low, and we were chatting briefly about the appropriateness of my favorite line from this album, the one I quote to you all the time: “It’s nice to be liked, but it’s better by far to get paid.” Damn straight.
But, while I’ve got the time and it’s fairly quiet, there are some other things I should talk about–a little change of pace from the humor and philosophy, I guess.
First of all, thanks SO MUCH to all of you who have e-mailed me over the past few days. I know I haven’t replied to all of you personally, and I hope you won’t take offense either at that or at the hasty, scrappy responses that I do get sent out. But know that your words are appreciated, that they’ve given me strength of purpose, and I’ve been doing my best to pass that on.
The energy is high here a lot of the time–so many of the students we’ve talked to have been amazing. Again, hundreds came through today, stopped to hear about sweatshop conditions and the FLA and the WRC and the lack of responsibility on the part of administrators. But we’ve also had to deal with the continual–I don’t know how to say it except wrong-headedness–of the administration. Mary Sue Coleman and Anne Rhodes won’t even talk to us anymore. Those who will continue with the party line, which is to be expected, I know, but after a time of talking to them you start to feel that you’re nothing but a pingpong ball balancing on the top of a water jet at a fair. You know you’re right, you know that the facts are on your side, that history is on your side, that everything that counts is on your side. But it’s hard. It’s hard. You’re sitting here in the same clothes you’ve been wearing, in this building with all its gold lettering and formality, and you’re tired and you haven’t showered and you’re eating the weirdest collection of food you’ve ever had, and here’s this administrative type in a suit, who slept in a bed last night, and who’s pulling out every older-and-wiser-than-thou stop they have. There are times, I admit, when I think it would be simpler just to go on letting them run the world. Paternalistic benevolence can be a powerful force, particularly when it comes to brainwashing.
And there’s the issue I brought up earlier, I think–the question of how much resistance we’re practicing when our civil disobedience has been sanctioned–we’ve been allowed to remain in the building. Of course, we get lectures from Security every day about how mature and wonderful we’re being, what good little boys and girls we’re being. At times we despair. Morale is difficult in the trenches, even when you’re on the side of good–maybe even especially then. I don’t know.
So do keep those e-mails coming–and please e-mail/fax/call the administrators at any and all of the SAS schools that you can. I’m sending along a list of all the calls for action that we’ve received as of last night–and let me tell you, I know this is a partial listing. If you’re in NYC or Boston, I know there are rallies planned for this weekend–if I find out more specifics, I’ll send them along, but keep your ears out. Also, my fellow Vassarites–as you’ll note, our school hasn’t joined the WRC. I seem to recall that we did sign onto the FLA around the time it was started last year. Is anything going on on campus there? We want to hear about it. And please, also, if you run across any national news coverage of this, we’d love to hear about that too. We get morning paper deliveries of the locals around here, but given our position and the amount we have to do, we don’t have the time or ability to check CNN or the New York Times or Nightline or whatever else. So keep your ears and eyes peeled, and tell me what you hear.
Thanks again to all of you who’ve written, and those of you whom I know are thinking of us. It DOES make a difference.
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around,