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Semiformalishmaybe

One of the areas I've always been disappointed with CMU's culture is that its politics have always felt tame-or-nonexistent. Some of this is because while there are some students who come from poorer backgrounds, the majority seem to be from families that are as (or are almost as) well-to-do as my family, and families like that tend to be pretty politically sleepy; often liberal, but Bill-Gates-liberal and thus not the sort to go to protests.

The kind of people who do go to protests often are not the deepest thinkers; only a few really can see the big picture (and some are committed to self-defeating philosophies), even if their heart is in the right place.

Underthinking and sleepy withdrawal from real problems in the world are both, to my thinking, faults. Not all important problems can be solved through in-system efforts in our political system, or even by remaining inside the law, but a good understanding of social problems (and empathy/involvement with those that suffer them), government policy, law, and jurisprudence is needed to keep the efforts of such movements realistic.

For those of you who haven't yet been down to an Occupy protest, whether you're a CMUite or otherwise, I strongly suggest heading down and taking part in a general assembly at least (they tend to be at 7pm). Given that many Occupys are being disbanded by police (not to say that you'll likely be in any danger), this may be your last chance for awhile to experience something really quite broadening. I'm as much a geek as anyone else, and if there's a workshop on how to solve Rubik's cubes in 2 minutes I might go to it, but this is a broad class of problems that you might come to find really interesting, certainly beyond the safe topic of feminism (where most intellectuals you're likely to meet will agree with you at least that equal rights for both genders is a good thing, and just disagree on methods, vocabulary, and other things).

This might not apply to you, being a mass-message and all. I haven't heard anything on my LJ feed about other people going to protests, but maybe that's because Americans don't often talk about politics in public. That's another kind of sickness though, part of the TV-era where people just get their opinions from centralised sources and have given up on even mild forms of the political discourse that's healthy for a nation.

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