Prof. praises student effort
To the Editors:
I write to express my admiration for Oberlin students. I had plenty of opportunity to observe many of them throughout Election Day. I spent the day at First Church, the location of Precinct 3A, where many students vote. I was there from the time the poll opened at 6:30 a.m. to the casting of the last ballot at 10 p.m., serving as a poll challenger for the Democratic party. My assignment was to make sure the Republican challenger didn’t delay the voting process or unduly prevent people from voting. He did neither, but the situation itself was discouraging. There were often over 300 people on line and some of them had to wait five hours and more to vote.
Most of these were Oberlin students and they deserve the highest commendation. They were determined to exercise their right to vote. Although they may have come as individuals, they became an improvised community as they waited. They played music, they talked; they played cards. They got to know people they hadn’t known before. They shared information. People went out and bought food to share (co-ops, several College offices, townspeople, Congressman Sherrod Brown, some establishments in town and others also provided food; a group of kids too young to vote showed up with their Halloween candy to share with those on line). Sometimes I’d asked if an older person, or someone who had to get to work, or someone who was ill, could get to the front of the line. Uniformly, everyone at the front — almost always students — said, “Absolutely.” One student I know who normally has a hard time getting out of bed at 10 a.m. was at the poll just after it opened at 6:30; she wasn’t the only one.
As saddened as I am at the election outcome, I take heart from the commitment, savvy and generosity of Oberlin students.
–Sandra A. Zagarell Longman, Professor of English
Activism cannot die out now, the fight continues
To the Editor:
Talk of flight is thick in the air over this town.
Now is not the time for exodus.
Now it is time for all who can afford it, those who do not stand to have their own most dear rights, their identity, their collective being assaulted; those who can pass under the radar of suspicion in this, our nation, yesterday confirmed into the fold of conservative morality to stay. To take with them throughout this country their beliefs, their convictions, the gift that is their education, their consciousness, their rationality, their compassion for humanity. Go. Get moving.
Now is not the time for fashionable talk, for shallow rejoinder.
Now is the time to stay and fight for those of us who stand to be disenfranchised, for those who have been misled, duped and may not yet know it; to fight for those who did not yesterday, do not today and will not for four years hence feel represented. For ourselves. Root yourselves in America. Bring it forward. Meet the other side at the table, rejoice in the sharing of ideas, in the discussion, in understanding. In so doing, breach what we ourselves do not understand.
And then crack open.
Spread like pollen.
It is time to give even more, not to take away.
–Suzy Newbury, College senior
Students inspire Oberlin City Council Chair
To the Editor:
Much has been made by the pundits about how moral issues swayed the outcome of Tuesday’s election. Nowhere could this be truer than in Oberlin, Ohio.
Near closing time, I saw hundreds on line at our library and First Church. Here were people with a deep sense of duty to our country. Here were people acting on their convictions despite the inconvenience. Here were the selfless acts — hot drinks, food, music, lent umbrellas — of a committed citizenry. In the collective decision to celebrate rather than complain, here was evidenced faith in each other and reverence for our democracy.
God, I love our town. You have restored my faith.
–Daniel Gardner, Chairman of Council City of Oberlin