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Every November the shortening of the days brings bouts of seasonal depression to Harvard’s work-addled undergraduates. This year, doubtless, will be worse for Harvard’s mental health. The crushing defeat for the Democrats on Tuesday coupled with the depression-inducing move to daylight savings time-—which takes daylight away from college students regularly awake from 10:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.—will certainly take their toll on the Kremlin by the Charles.
My suggestion for curing democratic doldrums? Find a coping mechanism, and fast. For some of you, this means hasty marriages of convenience to Canadian citizens. I, for one, have found solace in excessive materialism—gorging on takeout, buying a DVD player, sitting on my bed while I read Fifteen Minutes, munching on a bag of day-old popcorn and listen to Mean Girls blaring in the background. Oh no she didn’t. Anyway, I figured it was healthier than my original plan—refreshing electoral-vote.com over and over again until Ohio turned blue/I passed out.
But whatever you choose to do, remember that we’re only stuck with Bush for the next four years. Then Mitt Romney becomes president!
—STEPHEN W. STROMBERG
It’s hard to make anything good of this result. We are facing another four years of reckless spending, pointless wars and fewer civil rights. The (evangelical) church and state are more than just a little closer. When the Iraq war came around, I felt a similar way and decided that the only way to respond was to try to makes some money from the actions of this administration. In hindsight, buying all those energy stocks was about the most I could make of the mess.
This time around, however, I can identify a new business opportunity—one that I’d seriously consider pursuing were I not leaving this country: an illegal abortion clinic and a stem cell line. Sure, I know nothing about biology, but if Timothy McVeigh can destroy a federal building I’m sure I can work out a way of inducing an abortion and harvesting some stem cells. There’s plenty of demand here—no doubt I wouldn’t have to go far to sell them in the biology labs—and with kids being told about abstinence and not condoms, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of handiwork for me and a rusty coat hanger.
Four more years. I’m so happy I’m moving to a country without elections: I’d much rather live with the delusion that the public is sensible and silenced than stupid.
The Odd Man Out
Mere hours after the election began, I found myself sitting in my Warren Court section listening to classmates gloat over early exit polls that incorrectly showed Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., opening a sizeable early lead in key swing states. The conversation, dominated by a sect I have reason to believe are politically active Democrats, slowly shifted towards who had voted, at which point our TF, very matter of factly inquired as to whether anyone in the class had actually voted for President George W. Bush, which of course I had.
One member of the class raised his hand.
And it wasn’t me.
I’m not ashamed to have voted for Bush and hadn’t concealed that fact from anyone else. Though the political conversations I enter into outside the classroom with friends who know the real me are usually productive, I suppose I was simply discouraged by the manner in which they would all perceive me, then not give me a chance to explain. In my experience, that’s the way many Democrats are: judgmental and intolerant of those who hold an opposing view, branding them knee-jerk, bigoted or just plain stupid.
In short, they’re a lot like the Republican stereotypes they decry before launching into yet another diatribe. Never mind the fact that we’re not all gun-toting (I’m pro-gun control), death penalty loving (I’m against capital punishment), hicks from the South (I call NYC home). On them, those nuances are simply lost, so I sat quietly and waited for discussion on the readings to begin, when one final point shot out loud and clear, something to the effect of “You’ve got to love how Republicans try to hide on thefacebook by listing themselves as moderates.”
Needless to say, I changed my facebook political affiliation from moderate to conservative just to spite my Warren Court section.
—TIMOTHY J. McGINN
Go ahead, ridicule me. I’m an eternal optimist, the proverbial Pollyanna. And while the deep pit of my stomach was always worried, I saw no point in being unhappy too soon. You might argue—and many have—that this is no way to approach life. I’m sorry, I can’t help it, it’s the way I function. And maybe that’s why I made my section of the country into a new Eden, combining the down-to-earth values of the middle of the country with the political leanings of the coast. Perhaps it was the sweet immersion of the comforting liberal cocoon at Harvard that did it. Perhaps it was my insatiable pride in the various aspects of my identity. But everything hurts a little worse right now. It’s just become a little bit harder to keep saying “pop” and a little bit sadder to wear my “Everyone loves a Midwestern Girl” T-shirt, because the fantasy in my head has floated away.
I should be able to absolve my state from sin. I mean, I don’t live in Ohio and though Michigan had me scared for a moment on election night, 51 percent did vote for Kerry. In fact, the Midwest acquitted itself fairly well, if you weren’t in Indiana or the aforementioned four-letter state, but I was disappointed. This was my world, my home, it could succeed, it could do better. With admiration, I spoke of my pre-election swing state status, determined that with my coaching it would all work out all right. It was too late to save the backwards states down south or out west, but the Midwest would prove it could make the difference. Even my father, a self-named “independent” but originally Bush backer, was changing his vote—as a veteran he couldn’t stomach what President Bush did with the war in Iraq.
But things weren’t close enough around the country and the details showed trends in my own home state that I just could not handle. Laugh at me, I deserve it. I should’ve remembered that Michigan swings for a reason. I should’ve understood that those vehement letters in my local newspaper against gay marriage weren’t some random crazies, but part of the 59 percent that would vote for an amendment to ban it. I should’ve seen it coming when old friends from high school finally joined thefacebook.com and reminded me that every one of them would be casting a vote for Bush. The voters in Indiana and Ohio wouldn’t realize that we would get hit the hardest, that much of the job loss is from our factories, the outsourcing from our states. All the Battle Creek city positions would go Republican, and my cousin, who served a dedicated term as vice-chair of the county commission would squeak out a 104-vote victory. Never mind that his opponent was a late replacement with little time to campaign while he went to every door in his district, the conservative vote would come out strong.
Perhaps it’s more realistic to live in the divided world, instead of my out-east bubble. After all, it didn’t really hurt my formative years. But I’ve lost hope for rational discussion. I don’t want to debate, I just want to be protected. On this rollercoaster of anger that spirals into depression, there is just too much hate—something that rarely enters my realm—for me to keep on defending. The blame should be less, but my standards are higher and I don’t know how to go back. Someday I’ll recover my will to fight, but for now I’m a Midwestern girl without a home.
—MARGARET M. ROSSMAN
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