Sorry about not posting yesterday, the day turned strange (as my days are prone to do) and there was no time for blogging. However, yesterday I did attend the second lunchtime rally in less than a week at UMass to protest the granting of an honorary degree to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
There is some speculation that Card intends to challenge Massachusetts' washed-up U.S. Senator John Kerry next year, and no doubt the University would like to be on his good side should Card win. However, the protesters are primarily motivated not by partisanship but by Card's support of the Iraq War.
The crowd was about the same size as the rally last week, a disappointment to organizers who had publicly predicted a larger turnout. Frankly, my impression is that for the vast majority of UMass students the Card appearance is a non-issue. However, what the protesters lacked in numbers they more than made up for in enthusiasm, as it was a much more energetic rally than last week.
Conspicuous in their absence were the UMass conservatives, who had a lively presence at the last rally but had no organized counter-protest yesterday. I did however see these people with a sign showing African dictator Robert Mugabe, the blood-thirsty socialist whom UMass gave an honorary degree to in the 1980's. Where is the leftist outrage over this far more obviously inappropriate degree?
I asked the sign holders whether they were allied with any organization and they said no, stating, "We only want to see people held accountable."
For some reason there was less of a media presence than last week, although the gentleman on the left below was from National Public Radio, which had not covered the first rally. The person on the right is a UMass journalism student who is quizzing the radio reporter about his job. Most of the students are looking for work this time of year!
Here is a video I made of when the students shut down the Whitmore Administration building, then prepared to march over to annoy the Graduate Dean at the Goodell building.
Finally, it is hard to be too angered by the defacing of this mailbox in Northampton, when the vandal is so artistic about it!