hunger…

7 03 2005

I’m approaching 11 hours without food, and I’m really thinking about what another 61 will do to me. I have plans to power skate, train Tae Kwon Do and play a hockey game tomorrow, and I’m unsure of what that means to my body.

Right now, hunger is minimal, but I’m really feeling the effects of no caffeine and NO added energy from food. I’m ready to sleep at 10:38, and I’m thinking I might do just that and work on homework tomorrow morning instead.

If you missed the last post, I’m hunger striking against rising tuition. Apparently there are many others fasting with me, but I haven’t seen them because I’ve been too busy to head up to the capitol.

I just saw Al Sharpton speak about three hours ago, and he was really inspiring. He congratulated all of us on fasting and said he knew how tough it was because he’s done it before. He also made the point that, though people may say that being hungry won’t chage anything, that’s not what it’s about. What we’re doing is calling attention to the problem. He added that just calling up a newspaper and telling them that tuition’s going up won’t mean a thing and won’t get our message heard. We need to act and show our committment toward these kinds of things.

Lately, I’ve been dwelling on the whole political activism thing, and wondering how I’m doing in relation to society and if I’m making a difference. When I look back, I see that, no, I haven’t really made a difference… yet. This hunger strike is the first COMMITTED activist motion I’ve ever made. Sure, I’ve marched in the harvest fest parade in favor of legalizing medicinal marijuana, I’ve gone to the biggest political rally I’ve ever seen for Kerry and I stay active by seeing speakers like Sharpton.

Unfortunately, that’s not enough. That’s why I admired grassroots organizations on campus, political activist students and even the guys that stand on Library Mall preaching. It takes balls to stand up for a cause and be heard.

Sharpton said that the most memorable moment in his campaign was speaking at the Democratic National Convention. He said that he made the decision to go out there and ream Bush, regardless of what people had to say. The risk, to him, was that he would either get heckled of stage or he would be cheered on. Either way, he said he would be the only one who had to deal with himself when he went home.

When he spoke at the DNC, Sharpton got more than ten standing ovations. The pride he felt in taking the risk and being heard made it his best moment on the campaign trail.

It makes me see more about why I need to be active here. Both Sharpton and another distinguished lecturer at UW, Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) spoke about apathy. They addressed the students and let us know that to do nothing is a far greater sin than to act against the status quo.

The fact that apathy is an underlying theme in several speeches given at Madison saddens me. It means that college-aged students across the country are losing their reputation as thinkers, questioners and revolutionaries.

In the seventies, students protested the Viet Nam war in droves. Now, I rarely see groups on campus doing things against the war… and I mean SEE groups, not just read about small anti-war meetings in the paper.

The problem becomes more apparent when I see that half of high school students said papers should have governmental approval before running a story. 17% thought that the first amendment guaranteed TOO MANY rights to citizens.

In a similar situation, when I announced my plans to see Al Sharpton speak to my fraternity brothers, at least three people of the 40-or-so there asked, “Who’s Al Sharpton?”

This is our nation’s future, and it’s up to us to fix it.

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