Tuesday, February 10, 2004

mr. a. schlesinger, of kennedy administration fame, speaks here this evening. sorenson would be cooler but, off the top of my head, i'd guess he's been torn apart by alien devil wolves. i suppose this fella will have to do.

all today, i kept furrowing my brow at the calendar, trying to figure out why "february 11" started so many bells ringing between my ears. then of course i realized that four years ago on february 11th was the beginning of my highskool graduation weekend. the 13th was actual-graduation: ugly blue gowns, processions, hebrew songs, corny speeches. i spent 13 years of my life in that skool, yet i have the sense that my upcoming graduation on memorial day might matter even more.

which is to say, in ten years, when someone invites me to go yachting on memorial day, i will smile reflectively, brush away a tear, and sigh, "ah memorial day. the day my kingdom of swarthmore was torn from me ..." then i will proceed to get rollickingly drunk, in memory of my two roommates, "irish" and "lush."

ETA: so schlesinger is actually a groovy old pink-shirt wearing bespectacled dude. he lost a couple points in my book for inadequate audience prep (if you're going to talk about mr. palmer of the palmer raids at swarthmore college, you have to mention that palmer is our most infamous alum). otherwise he impressed me greatly, making a solid historical case for his argument that the bush doctrine is a dangerous deviation from america's foreign policy and that dissent in wartime has always been the norm.

i wish i'd recorded some of the quotes he used from sen. taft, presidents (t) roosevelt, eisenhower, and truman, and many others. my favorite was, and yes i know i've heard it before, "war never prevents anything, except peace." also eisenhower who apparently said that if someone approached him to discuss a policy of preventative war, the president would throw that fool out of his office.

he seemed a little shaky at points (man he's OLD) and i was nervous he wouldn't make it, like the priest who died in the middle of that wedding i went to. his principles carried him through and for that as much as anything swarthmore rewarded him with a resounding standing ovation.

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