And then they all went home and did their homework

This blog is about economics, and I intend to keep it that way, but I wanted to express my joy for a minute at my students getting involved. Last night, Rick Santorum, former PA Senator and GOP candidate for the presidential nomination, chose to spend the evening in my little town of Gettysburg. He set up shop in the historic Gettysburg Hotel on the square (which is only kind of historic because the hotel, built in 1767, was totally rebuilt a few decades after the war and actually burned down in 1983).

I was promised bra burning and protestors, and though I had no desire to stand in line for hours (6:45 for a proposed 8pm start would have gotten you in for the actually 9:30 speech), I was curious to see who and what turned up. Sadly, there was no bra-burning, but there were several posters with bras attached.

Otherwise, the group was surprisingly diverse. I watched several Gettysburg College students file in, mingled with older locals and families from around the area. I’m told about 750 people actually made it into the ballroom. Outside, people from Occupy Harrisburg turned out. Ron Paul supporters (this is Gettysburg people, he did go to school here) were in full chant mode. The group of older women with burning bras and signs declaring “we fought this war 50 years ago” and “Women Beware” were among my favorites.

Most heartwarming, though, was the throng of students. On the protesting side, the Gettysburg Allies group came with rainbow flags and purple shirts and a circular piece of Styrofoam with the word Bayer on it. A group of female students changed “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and others joined in the OWS chanting. Inside, several students got in and told me today about how exciting it was. Regardless of what they thought of him, it was exciting for them to be there with the people and the cameras and the rush.

I was told, before I came here, that Gettysburg College students were pretty apathetic. It was great to see them excited and involved and participating. And seeing that their participation was part of something larger. It’s so important. Even I was really excited. I tweeted about it constantly, and it’s not like it was a big, significant event with people getting arrested or police brutality. It was mostly a bunch of students and locals, showing that they care, one way or the other.

And then they all went home and did their homework.

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