Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Trip to Two Small Colleges
It is, sir, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it.
Daniel Webster (1782-1852), Dartmouth College Case (1818)

November 10, 2012 -  I have just returned from a two-day trip to Wellesley  College and Williams College.  Both are highly regarded prestigious colleges with tuitions of over $50,000.  I mention tuition prices, because it must take a capitalist to send their children to these liberal colleges. 
I travelled to them with my son, Spencer, a nationally known poet, who was there to give poetry readings to students and to raise money for Our Little Roses,  an orphanage for abandoned little girls in Honduras.   Supported by a Fullbright scholarship,  he will spend a year at the orphanage, teaching little girls poetry and producing a book of their poems.    I rode shortgun for Spencer,  not because I knew much about poetry, but because I was interested in the mindset of these bright young people in these small colleges, which have student populations of roughly 2000.
I had read the things to watch in President Obama’s election victory would be voters of upper class Americans,  the Latino community,  single women, and the college and university towns.  And so it was to be, as those constituents voted overwhelming for the President,  mostly on ideological and social value issues.
I sampled  a small number of  faculty members and students,  less than 50 .  I found most were pro-Obama on issues like abortion,  immigration,  health care for the masses, and higher taxes on the wealthy.  But two young men, one from Singapore and one from Colorado,  both majoring in political economics, agreed  there out to be a “balance” between economic  and social issues. 
I can’t help but wonder how these bright, impressive young people will react if we go over the fiscal cliff,  have another recession, and produce no job prospects. for the,    Those to whom I spoke did not seem overly concerned over Obamacare or the outsized contributoon of entitlement programs to our mounting national debt.  
This makes sense since as a group they are young, healthy, idealistic, and optimistic about the future.  I mentioned to several of them that they ought to read Who’s The Fairest of Them All? The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America,  a balanced view of the virtues and outcomes of capitalist versus socialist economies(Encounter Books, 2012).  But my message fell on deaf ears.  They were there to learn about poetry and creative literary process,  not economic realities.
Tweet:  In a brief trip to two elite private universities,  Wellesley and Williams,   I learned students are idealistic and optimistic about the future and have scant concern about Obamacare.

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