If I was around in Tip O’Neill’s day, I doubt we would’ve agreed on much, but he did get one thing exceptionally right: All politics is local.
In the age of 24-hour news cycles and the theatrics of President Trump, it has become increasingly easy to forget this truth in favor of focusing on the broader scheme of our society while ignoring the small yet pivotal engines of change.
Here at the university, liberal and conservative activists find themselves locked in an age-old conflict of ideas that has defined the college experience for generations. Despite the glaring ideological differences between these factions, the primary difference between conservatives and liberal forces on the Ole Miss campus is that liberals seem to always win and conservatives seem to always lose.
The reason conservatives suffer seemingly endless ideological losses here at the university is because of their collective tendency to sit comfortably in disgust at the gradual action liberals advocate for, rather than be uncomfortable and act in resistance to these actions.
Shouts of disgust within conservative echo chambers on social media provide the short-lived and comfortable gratification that true activism can provide while, in reality, doing nothing more than affecting friend lists and interchangeable followers.
While conservatives are not alone in voicing their opinions on social media, this seems to be as far as their activism goes at the university.
Yet liberals have seemed to master activism in the style of Saul D. Alinsky, the modern “father of community organizing,” by consistently picking a target on campus, freezing it, personalizing it and polarizing it in the most passionate of ways.
If conservative action is to actually see fruition, students must organize and advocate for specific achievable changes with an established leadership structure comprised of students who have a clear understanding of local issues and collective goals. Conservatives must not fall victim to the cut and paste activism pushed in recent years by the large, national special interest groups, which have become a hallmark of college conservative activism.
These cardboard causes frequently politicize niche national issues at the expense of local causes to propagate the idea that the fate of the American way of life is at stake if these specific changes are not made.
Overwhelmingly glossy and appealing in nature, these groups and their causes seek to do nothing more than provide a venue for the advancement of tasks selected by the donor class to further propagate their wealth and prowess at the expense of younger generations.
Since I first set foot on the university three years ago, I have seen a flag removed, a treasured song muted, Christmas forgotten and the very framework of this once beloved place dismantled by a group of well-coordinated activists.
While this was occurring, I watched some conservative bastions on campus grumble in disgust, while others organized for complete inaction by establishing new niche echo chambers posing as venues for progress. This facade sedated the rage among the masses while the very fabric of this great institution was continually bastardized without resistance.
The late conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart once said, “Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are rooting for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it, too.”
Until Ole Miss conservatives can properly internalize the risk of inaction and master the art of firewalking on a campus that finds itself increasingly hot with the burning coals of liberal rage, they will achieve nothing, and the last great bastion of collegiate conservative values and history will find itself in perpetual cataclysm for decades to come.
Will Hall is a junior journalism major from Atlanta.