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This Issue

Liam J MagistadLiam J Magistad wrote 11/06/2019 at 18:04 • 2 min read • Like

The Woman knelt down and asked, “So, what is it about this issue that you are drawn to?”

‘This issue?’

At first I didn’t know what to say. Then I wanted to say too much. Then I managed:

“It’s not just this issue…”

It struck me at that moment, they simply don’t get it. This is not the only issue for which people would show up like this. This is a moment for movements. Haven’t you noticed the strike? The marches? They are making themselves heard. What has long been murmured by tree huggers and socialist hippies is now the will of the young. The will of the future.

Let me try again.

“What is it about this issue?”

“I’m sorry. What issue do you mean?”

Do you mean the issue of the vote on our particular proposal? Or do you mean the mission of full fossil fuel divestment? OR do you mean the climate crisis? Because for me, that last issue is THE Issue. You can hear it in the term itself. Climate. Crisis. A crisis being a moment of extreme peril. And our climate is quite simply all pervasive. Thus, in conjunction, they become an existential and universal imperative.

Maybe, just maybe, THE Issue has brought all these young faces to this place at this time. Maybe it is THE Issue on which we have built a movement over the past seven years. Maybe it is THE Issue which has driven new students to join our organization so that we are now bigger, smarter, and more active than ever before. 

“This issue?”

I must be clear, our proposal is not THE Issue. It is simply the fulcrum on which our movement is swinging at this moment. I’ll admit it is a carefully worded proposal. It aims to appear both meaningfully drastic and reasonable in scope. It is both open to your imagination to interpret and directly indicates a culprit. 

Fossil Fuels.

“This issue?”

I wish I could clarify, what are you really asking? And do you really want an answer?

If I were to really answer I would have to tell you about all THE Issues that I think about every day. I could answer with fifteen different areas I believe need fundamental change. My answer is that your paradigm needs to shift. You must reimagine your relationship with your investments, your educational priorities, and your students.

To be honest, I greatly appreciate you for taking the time to ask us questions and listen to our answers. It is truly the only way to gain more understanding of one another. And we will need to keep talking over the next weeks, months, years, before we are of one mind.

“This issue?”

No. This issue is just the first issue. We will show up again for the rest.

In solidarity,

Macalester Student

October 4, 2019

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