Almost every day, Americans learn of a new abuse by the Bush Administration. Whether it is lying about the war on terror, damaging America’s image around the world or saddling young people with mountains of debt, this administration has given almost everybody a reason to be angry. But anger is not enough. To beat President Bush progressive groups must work together. Fortunately, Harvard student groups are beginning to show the kind of unity we need. Last week’s Beat Bush rally at the Science Center, which brought out more than 150 students from a wide variety of campus groups and left-leaning political persuasions, was the beginning of what we hope will be a continuing trend towards cooperation between the various progressive groups on campus. Organized by groups ranging from the Harvard College Democrats to the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice to the Harvard Socialist Alternative, the rally demonstrated what must be done—on a much larger scale—to win back the White House.
The speakers at the rally focused on different issues, but they all had a common theme. The Bush Administration hasn’t just been bad for young people, who will have to pay off the president’s huge federal deficits. It hasn’t just been bad for women, who have faced restrictions on their right to have abortions. It hasn’t just been bad for working people, who have lost jobs and seen their wages fall. Four more years of George W. Bush would be a monumental setback to the ideals of every progressive group on campus, and the groups who participated in last week’s rally should be applauded for their willingness to put their differences aside.
The 2004 election will be close, and unity can make all the difference. In 2000, Al Gore ’69 lost New Hampshire by 7,211 votes. Those four electoral votes would have made Gore president. During that election, progressives wasted far too much time and effort fighting among themselves. If Massachusetts progressives had stopped beating each other up and taken a few more campaign trips up to New Hampshire, America might have been spared four years of Bush.
Last week’s rally was a good start, but much remains to be done. We hope progressive student groups will continue to recognize what is in their common interest. The stakes are too high, and the margin of error too small, to waste time squabbling. The Harvard College Democrats are organizing trips to New Hampshire for the fall. Those who want to turn this country around should set aside their differences and get on the bus.
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