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On wearing jeans last Friday, and growing tired with social activism

December 11, 2007

Two thoughts:

Here at FCNL we had our Legislative Retreat on Friday. It was great to get up a little late, put on jeans instead of tights, and meet outside of the office. In addition to these luxuries we had a interesting conversation in the morning about what factors or trends will influence our work in the next 3-5 years.

Parts of this discussion made me realize that I can hardly remember a time before Bush and Iraq. Two years from now, though Iraq will probably not be a thing of the past, Bush will. We might even have a democratic president (My classmates from Bryn Mawr might resent me, but I’m pulling for Obama, not the lady). As my colleagues discussed how 2009 might be like 1993 I had nothing to say. I was in Miss Januzzi’s class in 1992, just learning the times tables. My first clear political memory is of the 2000 presidential election. I can’t really relate to support the executive branch of government. What will it be like, not having Bush to hate? Will someone else just step into that role? Or has it gotten as bad as it’s going to get? How will my generation be affected by the bitterness and militarism it was raised with?

On another note: I get really sick of social activism sometimes. I tire of riding the 92 bus to U Street and having to listen to another group of GW students complain about the republican counter-protestors at the last protest they participated in (this may seem contrary to my last post). I suppose I don’t get irritated with the social activism itself, but rather the sense of superiority surrounding social activism. I loved this quote I read in The Bostonians (Henry James) this weekend: “Olive Chancellor received this appeal [to action] with peculiar feelings. With her immense sympathy for reform, she found herself so often wishing that reformers were a little different.” I often feel the same. I often wish that I could choose a movie or play over a charity happy hour, sit-in or protest without being made to feel guilty.

So, what is to be done? Do we have to be overbearing to arouse people to action? Or can we just lay off? Do all even feel the same pressure?

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