This story was written by Sam Clegg, Badger Herald
It must be tough promoting change we can believe in. Especially when the methods of bringing about change are suspiciously similar to those used to preserve the status quo.
However, this is a game the University of Wisconsin-Madison College Democrats are choosing to play, and shame on us for trying to impose ourselves as referees in their match against the enemies of hope, change, and dont forget unity.
According to College Democrats Chair Claire Rydell, who informed us last week that the two months we had spent trying to organize a debate between her organization and the College Republicans was in vain, the young Olympians of change simply could not deal with the stress.
Then the College Democrats insisted a formal debate was not acceptable. Instead, they opted to push for a town hall-style meeting between themselves and the College Republicans. We relented.
Finally, last week, the College Democrats executive board voted against the debate, deciding the time could be better spent hosting a dinner for interested students to ask representatives of the Democrats or Republicans questions at tables of eight to 10 people. At this point, College Republicans Chair Sara Mikolajczak slammed the idea, correctly arguing that this was a far cry from being either logistically possible or even desirable.
But were not mad were just disappointed. You Democrats teased us for weeks about the possibility of a showdown between your organization and the infamous College Republicans, and then decided at the last minute to abandon a debate for some Pepsi and Doritos with a half-dozen confused freshmen.
At first we thought all the College Democrats annoying revisions to the debate were just their way of playing hard-to-get. We thought they were simply making sure that modern conservatisms flirtations with pseudo-fascist politics would not be the guiding force in structuring this attempt at democratic dialogue.
In the end, we are left disillusioned and bewildered.
We provided Rydell the chance to rally the excited forces of the liberal majority and crush, once and for all, the very possibility of a Republican party on the Madison campus. We were even going to ask Mikolajczak about gay marriage! Honestly!
We would also like to point out that this wasnt for us. It wasnt for the College Democrats or the Republicans. It was for those students who want to understand the politics of this country a little better before jumping into the fray. We could give the College Democrats some generic, inspiring anecdote about students here, but we are certain their candidate has effectively cornered that market for the foreseeable decade.
We would also like to thank Mikolajczak for knowing the deal. She didnt need 60 hours simply to recite a simple mantra: Drill Now! Drill Here! And, Bomb Now, Bomb Here! You the College Democrats could have done something similar, albeit with a slim chance for a degree of nuance. Instead, the College Democrats opted to pursue a social gathering of limited consequence that would not, in our estimation, have any possibility of success. Whether or not this lack of interest in inspiring genuine dialogue is reflective of Barack Obamas campaign is a matter for the polls to decide. But if impractical idealism combined with a total lack of respect for student interest at the collegiate level is any indication, we fail to see how Democratic rhetoric will succeed at the national level.
Despite all the crap flying through the air about change, we would like to make it clear that, at least for the College Democrats, the watchword is, yet again, politics as usual.