Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On College Republicans

Does anyone understand this?
What are they trying to say?
Was this supposed to be irony?
Did they not understand?
Is this some tricky setup by some secret underground Anti-Republican Student Association?
What's going on in this picture?

Look, College Republicans have a right to free expression. And goodness knows, I have no problem with them making fools of themselves. But I'm curious. I'm dying of curiosity. What were they thinking?

Let's put this in context. Ten feet to the left, Matt Schwartz and a group with a very long name (see image) are distributing shirts in the school colors that say "gay? fine by me." Other groups are tabling as well. I wish I remembered which. In the midst of it, this table.
This was in mid-April. I didn't have a blog then. What I had was a disposable camera and an impulsive nature. I walked up to the Republican table.
"Hey--can I take a picture of your sign?"
Not "Hey--what are you tabling for?"
Not "Hey--why does your sign say 'Let them eat cake?'"
Not "Hey--what in the name of all irony do you think you are saying?"
Sometimes I can be pretty dumb.

So. "Hey--can I take a picture of your sign?"
The tablers were delighted, and posed with the sign, as pictured above. I snapped the picture, then headed along toward my class. I didn't think of it much until I got my pictures back, and found myself staring in bewilderment all over again.

But here's the thing that really gets me: the College Democrats tabled the next day. And I was no more impressed with them than I was with the GOPjr. The Dems tabled with a nice red-white-and-blue sign that said "College Democrats" and a table full of giveaways. The angriest giveaways I've ever seen (outside Israeli politics).

They had anti-Bush buttons.
They had anti-Bush bumper stickers.
They had anti-Bush posters.
They had anti-Bush pamphlets.
They had signs showing a donkey assaulting an elephant with the slogan, "Do it DONKEY style."
They had everything except --
The Issues.

Shock. Gasp.

I said it. And I'll say it again:
The Issues.
With a capital I.

Now don't get me wrong; I hate Bush as much as the next college-age feminist liberal lesbian hippie-chick. But I know why. I never forget why. The College Dems have become so wrapped up in their war against Bush that they've lost track of why they're doing it. They've let their anger rule them. They've fallen to the dark side.

This is the problem with politics on campus. No one talks about the Issues.

I don't have a scan of the political cartoon that appeared in the Spectrum (UB's student newspaper) recently, attacking the Justice for Janitors rally staged by UB Students Against Sweatshops. It showed students (not personally resembling any actual student leaders) saying "oh no, we've run out of things to protest!" Then it shows the students protesting (presumably their own) excessive fliering. Not brilliant, but it makes its point. UB SAS is being ridiculed as having nothing left to protest. Apparrently, we live in a perfect world.

I'll admit it, I chose homework over attending the latest rally (against anti-immigrant legislation) on South Campus. Maybe that makes me part of the problem, I don't know. But I'm not forgetting that there is a problem, and I'm not forgetting what the problem is.

It's not Bush. He's just a symptom. Anti-Bush bumper stickers are great, but it's like taking an aspirin for cancer. Get to the cause. Get to the reasons. Get to the Issues.

Get grassroots. We want politics to stay in Washington. Albany is too close. Buffalo is out of the question. The Student Association? Forget it. Me? I'm not an Erie County voter, and I feel guilty about that. But I'm working, bringing the political back into students' lives. A growing number of students are shrugging off the apathy of the endless Buffalo winter, using the optimistic summer months to plan. Harnessing now to give later meaning and direction. Maybe by the time I leave UB, I'll leave behind me an LGBTA I can be proud of. If that's all I accomplish, let me accomplish that.


Blogger Daniel Q Blog said...

Probably Alan Sherman fans...
Ah memories of long car trips listening to oldies and Alan Sherman...good times

You Went The Wrong Way, Old King Louie by Alan Sherman

Louis the Sixteenth was the King of France in 1789.
He was worse than Louis the Fifteenth.
He was worse than Louis the Fourteenth.
He was worse than Louis the Thirteenth.
He was the worst since Louis the First.
King Louis was living like a king, but the people were living rotten.
So the people, they started an uprising which they called the
French Revolution, and of course you remember their battle cry,
which will never be forgotten:
You went the wrong way, Old King Louie.
You made the population cry.
'Cause all you did was sit and pet
With Marie Antoinette
In your place at Versailles.
And now the country's gone kablooie.
So we are giving you the air.
That oughta teach you not to
Spend all your time fooling 'round
At the Folies Bergere.
If you had been a nicer king,
We wouldn't do a thing,
But you were bad, you must admit.
We're gonna take you and the Queen
Down to the guillotine,
And shorten you a little bit.
You came the wrong way, Old King Louie.
And now you ain't got far to go.
Too bad you won't be here to see
That great big Eiffel Tower,
Or Brigitte Bardot.
To you King Louie we say fooey.
You disappointed all of France.
But then what else could we expect
From a king in silk stockings
And pink satin pants.
You filled your stomach with chop suey.
And also crepe suzettes and steak.
And when they told your wife Marie
That nobody had bread, she said
"Let 'em eat cake."
We're gonna take you and the Queen
Down to the guillotine,
It's somewhere in the heart of town.
And when that fella's through
With what he's gonna do,
You'll have no place to hang your crown.
You came the wrong way Old King Louie.
Now we must put you on the shelf.
That's why the people are revolting, 'cause Louie,
You're pretty revolting yourself!

2:15 AM  
Blogger Viola Cesario said...

Thanks for the comment! I actually hadn't heard that Alan Sherman song before...but I'm pretty sure he wasn't the first to quote Marie Antoinette as having said that.

But the thing is, no matter how appropriate the comparison might be, why would the College Republicans want to identify themselves with Marie Antoinette?

6:28 PM  
Blogger Daniel Q Blog said...

It is probably a bad republican joke...because I am not sure if the College Republicans (admittedly as a college student and registed republican) like the French :)...

1:29 AM  
Blogger Matthew L. Schwartz said...

I helped organize the protest on South Campus (it was my organization, Colin's organization and Carlos' organization...) Carlos and Colin were arrested (hence the post on my blog about two students being arrested) which meant that it was me leading the banner with a megaphone. So while we missed you and I would have loved to have you there with me (no guilt, really no guilt) in reality you can't make every demonstration and you can't fight for every cause because then you stretch yourself too thin so you have to pick and choose.

As far as political parties go, Sage Francis says it best (I met someone who got to perform with them this weekend, it was really neat...I was a fangirl for half a second):

"Democran, Republicrat one party system"


מתן אריה שוורץ

8:04 PM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

29% will give away a lot of buttons and bumper stickers!
I am dismayed that there was nothing at the table about one local or Congressional race. No one will vote for Bush ever again.

10:49 PM  

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