Tomorrow is the campus-wide walkout. It promises to be sunny and cool, and we've (by "we" I mean the progressive organizations on campus in charge of the walkout) already received threats from "America-lovers" who believe that dissent is Communism or something equally silly. I am neither excited nor fearful. I am tired. Tired of war, poor to no media coverage, and the ignorance of those who claim to care about this nation and have rebel flags flying from their big-ass trucks. I am no longer intimidated by empty zeal. I am simply tired.
Last year there was a walkout that I did not participate in. My reasoning was that I am a college student. I am here to learn. My parents are paying for these classes. Walking out doesn't actually do anything. Obviously I have changed my tune considerably. It isn't that I did not care last year or that I approved of the war in any way. I just wasn't frustrated enough or angry enough or exhausted enough to see a walkout as anything more than useless protest. My changement d'idees came about as I exposed myself more and more to the incompetence, carelessness, nonchalance of the government in such a dire situation. It came about after going to New Orleans and helping to rebuild something that any self-respecting white, male politician would just as soon bulldoze and replace with second-homes. It came about after reading Noam Chomsky and listening to Democracy Now and The Real News. It came about because now I realize that I accomplish relatively little sitting down in cafes discussing the left-wing politics of frustration and musing on moving to Switzerland. Most likely, I will be here, in these United States, for a while longer, if not all my life. I am not ready to spend my life sitting down watching the government tail-spin.
I don't understand a lot of things. I cannot imagine human depravity to the extent that innocent Iraqis become target practice for young soldiers. I have no clue what's going on in the economy right now--as many times as I've read about the economic downturn I still can't quite grasp the concepts involved. I do not understand extreme greed. I don't even know how to do my own taxes yet. In short, I'm still a whippersnapper. Perhaps uninitiated. But I am passionate and dissident and idealistic. I've heard that walkouts are for people like me.