Last night, I overheard a Fordham student talking to one of my favorite security guards. I was waiting for a friend to bring me a textbook by the security desk, minding my own business, until the pair’s discussion became too loud to ignore.
“Oh, I love the Tea Party. We’ve been campaigning hard and are having an election night party to watch the votes roll in!” said the unnamed Fordham student who is a major player in two unnamed on-campus conservative groups, one of which rhymes with Knowledge BePlumLickCans and another that rhymes with, umm, well, the other is Respect For Life.
“You’re even down with Michele Bachmann?” the security guard replied.
“Who? I haven’t heard of her.”
“Wait, you’re pro-Tea Party but don’t know who Michele Bachmann is?”
“Well, I don’t know everything about them, I just like that they’re starting a movement.”
While the paper may have a rep for cutting anarchy symbols into American flags, I try to remain pretty respectful of my peers’ political views, particularly when they oppose mine. I love a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, and I am sure I haven’t learned enough in my paltry 19 years to say, “Game, Set, Match: I’m right and you’re wrong.”
With that in mind, the above conversation made me want to punch multiple material and philosophical entities in the face. I feel like that exchange could jump-start a thesis on anti-intellectualism in contemporary conservative politics, how the internet has made us not more informed but more inclined to broad, bite-sized political opinions, or why the Tea Party movement is hella absurd.
By campaigning for Tea Party candidates, this young woman reflected that she feels strongly enough in her beliefs to dedicate her time and energy toward the cause. She was declaring that she found the best solution and was ready to guide her fellow citizens to the political Promised Land. But she doesn’t know who Michele Bachmann is? Why would she not know about the already-elected officials promoting her political views? Particularly one who led the crusade to start the Tea Party Caucus in the House? Not to be a Whole Foods shopping, New Yorker reading, East Coast liberal elite, but I expect those who push hard for political reform to know at least a little about what they’re talking about. Let’s hold people accountable for what they don’t know—from Sarah Palin to Michele Bachmann to our politically-active FU student—and question their leadership and influence. Because let’s get real: Michele Bachmann has power, and this particular student, through the unending financial and other support Fordham’s administration dotes on her organizations, has power on our campus. She will graduate from Fordham and try to gain power in her community or city or country. That shit is frightening.
I guess the solution is saying “No” to apathy. VOTE TOMORROW PLEASE, and whether it’s the paper or College Dems or College Repubs or whatever you’re into, bring being smart back into the picture. Use your brain, dudes, and support other people who use their brains.
And I guess I’ll toss in a rally pic or three: