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Democracy! Comes to Kenyon

When I decided to come to Kenyon, I thought that I would be leaving behind cosmopolitan opportunities that come with attending an urban school—the idea of spending weekends shopping and going out to dinner, of seeing big name artists and scholars. Although I prepared myself for living in the “Kenyon bubble,” I am glad to say that Kenyon students don’t have to compromise. In the one month that I’ve been here I’ve attended lectures by senators, novelists, neuroscientists, and now the host and producer of an award-winning television and radio program.

Amy Goodman made the long drive into the cornfields of Gambier on September 15th. The talk was at noon, and I was sure that most of my peers would still be sleeping off their Friday nights. I expected maybe fifty people. I should have put more faith in the Kenyon community, however, because when I walked into the Gund Gallery Community Foundation Theater there were no seats left. I had to sit on the floor. And I was so happy.

I have admired Amy Goodman for years now, and with good reason. Not only has she penned five well-received books (the latest, The Silent Majority was officially released on September 30th—a recommended purchase), but she has also won countless awards such as the American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Award. As the host of Democracy Now! she has been all over the world, reporting, she says, not as “a part of the party, but apart from the party.” Democracy Now!, which is broadcast on stations such as NPR and PBS, aims to bring facts into the mainstream media—not opinions or spin, but reality. It is a grassroots organization, truly by the people for the people.

Amy covered the importance of grassroots in her talk, pointing out that many media outlets rely on money from corporations that have political agendas, and that they can easily skew the news cycles. She also spoke of the recent party conventions, which she had been covering.

Her take on politics, one that seemed incorruptible and earnest, was refreshing, as well as promising, to the Kenyon audience. Living in a swing state, we are constantly bombarded with what we should believe and whom we should vote for. “It gets tiring,” said sophomore Carolyn Fleder, a longtime Democracy Now! listener. “I have been incredibly frustrated with politics, and was close to writing it all off. It just seemed like a shouting contest.” Amy Goodman, though, changed Carolyn’s tune. “I’m fired up again!” she said, gripping a notebook in which she took copious notes during the lecture. “She’s my hero!” As long as there are journalists like Amy out there, reporting the truth and breaking from the mainstream, the public will be able to look past the mudslinging and see the veracity of politics, see the policies and the people that matter.

Hopefully Amy inspired the masses: early voting in Ohio begins Tuesday, October 2nd (THAT’S TOMORROW!!!)—be sure to get out and vote!

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