Yesterday, I posted a note about a “teach-in” on Saturday with an Iraq vet and an artist-activist speaking against the Iraq war. A couple of posters in the comment thread objected that if this is a “teach-in,” it should present more than one side of the issue. While the specifics of Saturday’s event can be debated, I think this brings up a larger issue that’s worth tackling.
Maybe rainbows are political, but we all know that Wesleyan isn’t a political rainbow. Um… What I’m trying to say is, there’s not always a great diversity of viewpoints represented on campus. And even when multiple viewpoints on some issues are presented on campus, it’s unusual for them to be presented together. In my opinion, this makes for a less than ideal climate for learning. Furthermore, the ideological and intellectual self-segregation that we experience at Wesleyan is not unique – it’s largely the state of the nation, and I think it cripples us.
I don’t think the peace group of which I am a member is necessarily the best candidate to present a “multi-sided” view of war, just like EON might not be the right organization to present a “balanced” discussion of pollution. Given that most politically engaged student groups have a particular agenda, maybe there’s need for a separate group to coordinate teach-ins, lectures, and discussions with the purpose of presenting multiple perspectives on an issue in order to facilitate more substantial interrogation (for ourselves and our peers) and support a rich political culture on campus. What do you think? It might start to spur a dynamism this campus lacks. Is anyone interested in trying out a project like this? If you’re willing to help, it can move.
Shoot me an email at nwotton[at]wes if you like the idea or want to get involved.