Letter from the Editor – Before the awakening

Prince Frederick, MD - On Wednesday, Nov. 8 my curiosity could not be contained. I left the office and drove to St. Mary’s City with the purpose of finding out what the hue and cry was all about regarding St. Mary’s College’s guest lecturer, Linda Sarsour. I have to admit, until I saw the college’s press release on the event I had no idea who she was. Clearly though, a lot of people were upset that she was speaking at a college in a rural county. Was it because she covers her head? Well, Mother Teresa did that and St. Mary’s County would have gone bananas back in the day if she had ever dropped by for a visit. The release stated she was an organizer of the Washington march that occurred the day after Inauguration Day. I guess I thought that event had been semi-spontaneous but that was not the case. When Delegate Mark Fisher announced he was urging anyone reading his latest opinion essay to sign a petition to compel college officials to “book” a conservative speaker and “not pay” Sarsour for her lecture with the state’s money I knew I had to find out what all the outrage was about.

There has been much talk on social media for the past several years about how public schools and liberal arts colleges are “brainwashing” students and turning them into socialists. Seriously? I attended a small liberal arts college, too, back when criticism of the nation’s involvement in Vietnam was quickly followed by pressure from liberal academics to have Richard Nixon resign due to the Watergate Scandal, which was being peeled like a giant onion on a daily basis by…dum de dum dum…The Washington Post. In my sophomore year I took a political science course which included reading from a textbook on Marxism. I was in several classes taught by a sociology teacher who thought Saul Alinsky was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Guess what didn’t happen? Unless you are talking about Groucho, I didn’t become a Marxist. It wasn’t just me. After graduation, our class’s self-proclaimed “anarchist” embarked on a long fruitful career—with the federal government! Other classmates became cops, lawyers, bankers, doctors, businessmen, insurance salesmen. To paraphrase Alan Sherman—“man, did we conform!” We are a class filled with capitalists!

The students attending the Nov. 8 lecture—approximately 10 percent of the student body—were attentive to but certainly not mesmerized by Ms. Sarsour. Her message was fairly innocuous. One of the things she told the students was to “get to know your neighbors.” What a subversive concept that is! Furthermore, colleges are not like high schools. This was not a mandatory assembly. It was a lecture students were free to attend or pass up. There may have been a larger gathering of students that evening at one of the local bars and maybe even in the college library.

My friend Mark Fisher means well. But his idea to “book a conservative speaker” is both penny and pound foolish. The really good conservative speakers are also really good capitalists and would probably charge the college an arm and a leg for their engagement. Besides, Delegate Fisher is proposing a cure for that which there is no known disease.

A better investment would be to trust the academics. They are not devils, they are devil’s advocates. Young minds need to be exposed to all ideologies. If they don’t learn it in the colleges, they’ll learn it in the streets. Perhaps when they graduate and must proceed to the real world these exposed students will experience a rude awakening. My guess is, however, it will just be a normal awakening, and like Linda Sarsour, nothing to panic about at all.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the management of

Contact Marty Madden at

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