community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
by Jeremy Baker Thursday, Nov. 18, 2004 at 8:49 AM
An Update from the resistance to the north
Greetings sisters and brothers,
Today during the lunch hour, English Professor Dr. David Swerdlow organized a small protest of about 30 people on the campus of Westminster College. Faculty, students, and staff were all accounted for in the small crowd of liberals on the largely conservative campus of about l500 students.
The rally was organized in response to the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to the position of Attorney General. In an email circulated around campus, Swerdlow had this to say,
“Like most Pennsylvanians, I did not vote for George Bush. Like many Pennsylvanians, I was appalled by his election. His nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be the next Attorney General is evidence that we should still feel appalled, perhaps even terrified. Alberto Gonzales has, on record, called many parts of The Geneva Convention “quaint” and “obsolete.” He argued, from his position of White House Counsel, that the prisoners in Guantanomo Bay are enemy combatants and not prisoners of war. He, therefore, argued that they could be justifiably tortured.”
“There is no such thing as justifiable torture.”
“We, as Americans, must stand by this principle. Otherwise, the United States will be embracing a value that it has fought against publicly for its entire history. We must uphold this core value.”
“By nominating Gonzales, Bush has once again shown that he does not understand the ideals that have guided this nation toward nobility. Bush’s action indicates that he values temporary security more than he values the bedrock of justice.”
“America cannot let its values be undermined by a President and a would-be Attorney General who are motivated by fear. Let us be strong. Let us stand up against those who would condone torture.”
After gathering inside the campus center, the group moved outside to gather around Westminster’s Peace Pole (a monument that goes largely unnoticed by the Westminster student body and has been largely forgotten by the campus community). After an impassioned speech, Swerdlow vowed that the rally was only the beginning of a larger movement to take place on campus. Swerdlow hopes “not to be the leader, but a leader in this movement that will put greater pressure on the Bush régime.” Many in the crowd seemed receptive to this message; hopefully they will not forget it in the struggle to come.
Despite the largely conservative student body, Westminster is host to several left leaning groups including, Allies: Westminster’s LGBT-Straight alliance, The Westminster College Green Party, Amnesty International, and the College Democrats. These groups are strong, and do not show signs of giving in to conservative pressure any time soon.
Organizational Chair of the Westminster College Green Party