Grass roots political actions like your recent affirmative action bake sale help educate the public and create interest. They can also be excellent educational experiences for the participants. How will "the authorities" react? You don't really know until you test them. You did test the administrators of the school you attend and you learned that they have no tolerance for truly free expression. In other words, "affirmative action" is not the only kind of discrimination they practice. They discriminate against ideas they do not like. You have learned for yourselves and you have shown the world the true character of the people whose job is supposedly to educate you.
As a bonus, you have learned something about the true character of establishment Republicans. Their idea is to go along, get along, don't rock the boat, etc., etc. In good times, that is a fine strategy, highly appropriate for intelligent, well-adjusted citizens. Do your best, work hard, no need to offend anyone.
But "affirmative action," "diversity," "multiculturalism," etc., are not issues of marginal importance that we happen not agree with. They are part of the ruling ideology of most colleges and universities in the U.S.A., and, indeed, of government agencies at all levels and of almost all large corporations. When you challenge that ideology, you are threatening the financial well-being of many people who subscribe to it. You are also threatening the political standing of individuals who could have addressed such issues, but who did nothing because they felt they could take the support of white conservatives for granted.
Of course, I really don't know exactly what went on behind the scenes there at GVSU. The 23 year old "past president and founder of the Grand Valley chapter of the College Republicans" said "There was outside advice, but the group made the decision on its own," and that "the group wants to 'apologize for offending and move on.'" (Muskegon Chronicle, College Republicans apologize for bake sale, by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood, April 7, 2005.) In light of those remarks, we may infer a bit of behind-the-scenes maneuverings by establishment types.
You simply cannot do political theater without offending people. If you picket an abortion clinic, you will offend people. If you picket Right to Life, you will offend people. If you support our troops, you will offend people. If you protest the war, you will offend people. If someone claims to be offended, you say, "Good, I've made my point!" You do not "apologize" and "move on."
Apparently, the establishment Republicans would like nice, docile college auxiliaries to help with voter registration drives and phone banks. The last thing they want is students challenging the system, even if "the system" is profoundly anti-conservative.
The main conclusion to be drawn from this whole episode goes beyond the obvious point that university administrators only pretend to support a free exchange of ideas. The true point is that, if you want to really challenge the status quo, you will need to distance yourselves from the Republican Party and all of its manipulations and treachery.
(AmRen.com has a discussion thread about this topic. Also see this press release from The Foundation for Individual Rights In Education and the excellent commentary CUPCAKES AND COOKIES ON CAMPUS, OH MY! by John Leo.)
Copyright © 2005
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