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Wednesday December 6, 2000

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We're not all liberals. Yet.

By Cory Spiller

I started the semester with good intentions, a clear mind and a dedicated mission. We needed to elect Al Gore, tear down the ridiculous local power structures on campus and, most importantly, to have and open mind. Everyone is different, and as a good little liberal, I hoped to be open to all religions, creeds and ways of life. Oh well.

Early in November, as the tilt of the Earth was shortening the days and cooling our desert, the weather was ideal for lounging on the Mall. Some activities from the night before had left me fatigued, slightly nauseated, and with painful pounding sensations between my temples - some people call it a hangover. After my 10:00 a.m. lecture I collapsed there, on the Mall, and I drifted off to sleep. Just as I began dreaming of freshman co-eds in their pajamas during a fire alarm at Coronado, I was awakened by the obnoxious sound of gospel music.

I rolled over, and literally two yards from me, the loud-mouthed Mall preachers were doing their rendition of "You Are All Going to Hell You Slut-Whore-Atheist-Commies," in three-part harmony and sotto voce. Now I don't mind being insulted by fellow students, faculty or Marines, but when men say that God himself thinks I'm a decadent, slothful, fornicator, I take offense. In an institution of intellect, education and logic, the Mall preachers reek of ignorance, and sound like hell. Leave us alone, and let us nap in peace.

I found it incredibly frustrating to be a liberal in Arizona this fall. We live in a rare liberal area in a very conservative state. We are surrounded by Republicans. Not so much here in Tucson, but the big smelly city to the north is teaming with wealthy conservatives. There are as many golf courses in greater metropolitan Phoenix as there are McDonalds restaurants. And yes, golf courses are the ultimate symbol of the elite. Who else would spend millions to develop our beautiful desert, feed the grass our precious groundwater, and then pay ridiculous amounts of money to chase a little white ball? Due to these fine members of the conservative right, we were unable to stop sprawl, or protect the rights of bilingual education, and we were not able to get Ralph Nader his 5 percent, or give Al Gore our eight electoral votes.

Al Gore lost. Ouch, that sentence was hard to write. After the last month of legal battles and political mud wrestling, I can't remember why I cared so much. Wait, it's coming back to me: the thought of electing two oil barons to the White House was almost as revolting as the idea of electing a man who admits that he wants to increase the gap between the rich and poor, or the knowledge that our future president was a cokehead frat boy, with a silver spoon up the lower opening of his digestive track.

But that's OK, because we have our own politics on campus. Students Against Sweatshops once again let everyone know how upset it was with Nike. And yeah, I'm mad at Nike too. People shouldn't be forced to work in places that make them perspire uncontrollably. If companies won't provide air conditioners or large fans in their factories, then they should be required to provide anti-perspirant deodorant. Apparently, in protest, SAS has not only boycotted Nike sneakers, but deodorant as well. Hippies attack!

Three cheers for ASUA and Ben Graff. They have needlessly increased the size of our student bureaucracy. The Pulse Team is brand new and has yet to reveal its true nature. However, I have one very relevant criticism, ha... as if my criticism needs to be relevant. Anyway, the Pulse Team as I'm sure you realize, was created to check the "pulse" of the student body, through polls, surveys and random blood pressure checks. But isn't that why we have a Senate in the first place? Aren't they elected students who represent different beliefs, lifestyles and backgrounds? Or is ASUA admitting the fact that it's an elitist organization that has completely lost touch with the average UA student.

After a semester as a columnist, trying to push my beliefs and my opinions on the minds of the student population, I've realized that little has been accomplished in the way of liberal reform, but is was fun.

Cory Spiller is a creative writing and history senior. He can be reached at