We met in a building on campus. Two women appeared to be in their early twenties, one was African American. One man that co-led the event appeared to be around thirty. Everyone else seemed to be fifty – to sixty-year old white people. I felt like I was at a tea party for Socialists.
I am a 54-year-old conservative trying not to look too conspicuous. Keeping my mouth shut was really tough.
It started off as most of these things do, with introductions around the room. Four of the people were professors from colleges in other towns. One said he also wrote for a Socialist paper, and had been active in the Wisconsin protests. One of the most outspoken and zealous participants was a man who said he was the head of the social justice committee in his church.
Hand outs were distributed and you can find the PDF copies online at this link: http://the99spring.com/materials/
We started out by writing on these posters about who we were as people, what was our personal struggle, what did we want to change, how did we want our future to be. At the end, the leaders took some information from the posters and started to compile “A Story of Us.”
It began by saying we are Americans that are concerned about..then it was interrupted by several of the professors who objected to use of the term “Americans.” They preferred to just be “people”. The leader continued and was stopped again at a passage that said “freedom and rights.” The Socialist math professor said freedom was an overused word and it didn’t have much truth in its meaning. They decided “rights” would be okay to leave in, but insisted we added (the talking point) “people not profits.”