Here it is. My last issue as an editor of TKS. As is tradition, the final issue of the year will be put out by next year’s staff, and they are going to be amazing. Your campus news will be in good hands next year.
This year has been a great one for our Knox College. There was energy on campus, and people were ready to confront their frustrations and do something about them. The refrain for the year has been students’ demand to be heard. We, as a student body, have made the statement that we are no longer going to go along with the same power structures that have done so much wrong to this world.
The freshman class entered high school the year we invaded Iraq. Their entire political lives (basically) have been in a nation at war. Our way of life is made possible by the exploitation of and horrible acts of violence against voiceless and powerless people across the world and in our own cities. We are killing the environment that supports our lives, and hybrid cars are not going to change that. Neither is the Democratic Party.
It is well past due for our generation to get pissed off and resist this system and everything that supports it. Some might say this year has been crazy, but I would say the three before it were too complacent.
Do not be fooled or distracted by calls for “civil discourse”. The first amendment did not qualify “speech” for a reason. It is easy to call for civility when you are in charge, but those who do not feel listened to are given two options: shut up or yell louder. So if you are not willing to yell along, at least be supportive of those who yell (or at least their right to yell). Sometimes the proper channels are broken.
We need to make Knox the Knox we want it to be, not the Knox we are told it is. When you look at the importance of Knox politics and power structures from a global perspective, it really is insignificant. But we are, indeed, going to be the global leaders of tomorrow. If we can’t change Knox, how can we expect to change the world?
What do we want Knox leaders to learn when they leave this school? What social structures should we value? In many ways, Knox supports the same patriarchal, capitalist structures that have put our world in it’s current horrifying state. Who is the highest ranking woman in the Knox administration? Why are only male Greek organizations given the privilege of houses? How financially valuable does Knox consider our environment, and at what point is it going to make business sense to spend our precious money to protect it? Why are the SMC bathrooms gender exclusive? (solidarity, Graham).
Some will say, “Knox is better than most places,” and that might be true. But if you are okay with “better than most”, then have fun voting for Barack Obama.
But I cannot stand for an option that means the continual destruction of our planet or the continued oppression of women, minorities and the poor. Make Knox look how you would like the world, and at least you will know, in general, how to change on a larger scale.
The faculty is not the enemy. They are wise and can guide you on your way to making changes on campus. The real world is not going to have such caring people in charge, so learn as much from them as you can. They are not out to get anyone.
Support your human rights clubs. They are easy to overlook if you choose to, but they are dealing with incredibly important issues (usually, of course). They are a chance to make a lot happen with limited resources, but without peer support they can become invisible.
But most of all, you have to care. We are privileged, and everyone who does not recognize that privilege is saying they don’t care about the exploited people that support their lifestyles. If you are witness to injustice, do something, or at least support those that do.
I know this final communication as editor sounds bleak, but it should be empowering. Keep resisting what you see as wrong, whether it’s at Knox or on some larger (or smaller) scale.
Being an editor for TKS has been the most valuable learning experience of my life. I have learned the power of the printed word in the best and worst of ways. I have caused pain, and I have caused (or at least aided in) change.
Keep resisting and questioning, Knox. I’ll see you on the other side of the bubble in a bit.
Tom is Editor-in-Chief of TKS.