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In Backyards & Between Friends: When Politics Get Personal

March 7, 2012

I am very, very upset. About my backyard. I am asking for your help making sense of it all.

Basically, I’m going to summarize all that’s been going down, as concisely and to-the-point as possible (we’ll see how that goes), and make two more personal notes. Then, I’d like to pose some questions I’d really like feedback on. I hope you’ll respond.

First, what happened in my backyard:

  1. I am a doctoral candidate at a public, state-funded university – in a liberal area, but with some surrounding less liberal (more… libertarian) areas. We are also in the midst of a significant financial crisis, with funds being revoked from the state.
  2. I am one of two graduate student representatives to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. The first line in our mission statement says we are committed to advocacy and education. I am also on the executive board of our graduate student senate.
  3. This Commission had been posting articles and petitions regarding recent controversy in women’s health and contraception on our Facebook page.
  4. Two weeks ago, an op-ed ran in a local paper. This paper has consistently vilified  my university as basically  wasting tax dollars to preach liberalism and probably make everyone gay. Who knows. But you get the picture. This particular editorial lashed out at the Women’s Commission, saying it was a waste of money, seeing as women are no longer barred from faculty positions or admission. It then lit into our Facebook page, making inflammatory remarks and misconstruing the posts made there (you can imagine, I am sure).
  5. Within a day, one of the women who admins the Facebook page was called on the phone and instructed to suspend said page immediately. There was no further dialogue or discourse. The official statement was “all Facebook pages will be suspended while [the University] drafts Facebook policies for University pages.”
  6. The only other page to come down was under the direct administration of the person who made the phone call to have the Women’s Commission page suspended.
  7. We had a meeting yesterday afternoon that made clear the following: 1.) The University Administration will hide behind the defense that “there were concerns about the Women’s Commission page for some time, and it was simply terrible timing with the editorial”, and 2.) the Administration had no desire to be forthcoming on which posts it found inappropriate, nor address its handling of the situatione.g. no dialogue or conversation – only repeating that they “tried” to get in touch with Commission chairs to discuss the situation before forcing the suspension (yet, clearly e-mail and other correspondence occurred without engaging any of the Commission members).
  8. Fortunately, the end result was determining reviewing University bylaws and practice regarding Facebook pages (which were already in place, actually. Didn’t feel like mentioning them? No?). The Commission Facebook returned live that evening – and, really, it will be of higher quality as a result of this conversation (despite some significantly difficult moments where women on the Commission were shut down, or invalidated, and our greater concerns regarding the University’s treatment of us as Commission were ignored.)

Now. This also happened:

  1. The day of the Facebook policy (or whatever) meeting, the University student paper ran a piece about the Commission page being suspended. I posted it to my graduate student senate Facebook with the title “This happened.” It did post as “XXX [Graduate Student Senate]” and not as a post by me personally because I am an admin on the page.
  2. I also had a graduate senate meeting that day. Just prior to the meeting, I raised this issue with the other people on the exec board (I am the only woman). The general response was that it was inappropriate for a President’s Commission to even have an open Facebook page, and that we should not be posting things as we did. One other exec member felt the only appropriate use of our time is to have Commission meetings where we discuss issues, draft official statements, and provide only those to the greater public. Another exec felt that the page was “spammy” and didn’t like that we had so many links going up (keep in mind, this was over the period of time from the Issa Circus House Committee Hearing to Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut).
  3. This evening (one and a half days later), I received an e-mail from my graduate student President “checking in” with me about the “Facebook fiasco”. In it, he said “other exec members” (there are six of us, again I’m the only woman) had concerns about what we post on the graduate student senate page – the reason given was we didn’t have a Facebook policy. I was not in the room for any of these discussions, I was not informed personally of any problems or concerns, nor did the other exec members let our President know which posts they had problems with.
  4. On review of our Graduate Student Senate page, it is clear that we only post about events happening on campus – except for my post about the Women’s Commission page coming down. No one has ever voiced concern, and no exec member has had a problem until I did that.

A few personal notes:

  1. Along with other women on campus and on the Commission, we want to make something positive out of this. We felt hopeful we’d have support from other Commissions (People of Color, LGBTQ+, and Disability) in terms of speaking out about the University’s handling of this. I also thought we would have the support of the Student and Faculty Senates. I am no longer certain of that support.

  2. While all of this has been incredibly discouraging and frustrating, it is the e-mail I received tonight that hurt the most. Part of it is being able to deal with shit from people *out there* in the world – and then having to realize it’s in your own backyard, where you thought you were safe. However. What really does it is … all of the dudes on the graduate student senate are my close friends. I love them. I don’t want to see them in this light. It breaks my heart to understand the disconnect, this excuses, the inability and unwillingness to comprehend and understand, is not just out there – but among my friends. I’ve already told our senate President that I won’t engage this conversation over Facebook and will just go with what they want to do. Not because I think it’s right – but because I just feel like I can’t fight about this with my friends. I know, I know, I  should. I know. But… it just breaks my heart to have to see them like this. On this side. Arguing with me about this. Not understanding. Not hearing me. Thinking it’s just about a Facebook page or it’s just a post or calm down what’s wrong with you. I just. can’t.

So. Given all of that. I have some questions I hope you can help me to think about. I really want to hear what people think who are not on this lil college campus, who aren’t so close. Who have, perhaps, greater experience with this.

  1. Where is the place on university campuses for advocacy? Should universities be taking a stance on particular issues – especially given the fact that the issue itself isn’t really political but has been made so by someone else? Should a commission, that is clearly and officially tied to the University President’s office, be allowed to speak out, educate, or advocate for specific issues? Should official student political bodies speak out? (As a side note, we do draft resolutions regarding legislative action by our state government, vote on them, and post them publicly).

  2. Any thoughts on the role of social media for institutions of higher education in today’s world? Is the appropriate place for advocacy on college campuses in official meetings where official resolutions and statements are drafted – or should we be embracing and utilizing social media?

  3. On a more personal note, any advice for dealing with this in those you love? I understand a life lesson is coming face-to-face with this shiz in your own backyard and among your own friends. Really, I should have learned this lesson when I came out. But what are some thoughts about engaging dialogue with friends? About attempting to bridge this disconnect? Any thoughts on it being particularly difficult around women’s issues? What I mean, I feel this is especially difficult because the men around me do not see the issue and probably, deep down, don’t believe women have issues to be complaining about… know what I mean? Am I alone in this experience with close friends or family? How did you deal?

    Most importantly:

  4. How do we make this positive? How do we apply this lesson towards achieving equality at a greater scale? I am fully aware that marginalized groups can often be at war with one another, fighting about who has it worse, and who has more Shit Street Cred. How can we engage allies, and make this into lessons we can come together on? Moreover, I am seriously concerned that groups I assumed were allies, simply because we’re all in the shit together, also don’t believe feminism to be valid any longer – but may be unwilling to actually say so, but may still undermine women in more subtle ways or ignore it when others do. How do I deal with this? How do I encourage the other Commissions and my friends to see this is an issue for all of us, that we should be united on?

That’s it. That’s where I’m at. I feel very isolated and shocked by how personal this has become, and am having trouble making sense of many things or how best to move forward. I feel fundamentally and deeply disheartened. Any thoughts?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 12:49 am

    Wow, so many details it’s tough to wrap my head around it. If the commission was on the status of women, I don’t know why it would be inappropriate to post about women’s issues. I’d think it was entirely appropriate. To post it on the student senate page, I’m not sure, because I don’t know what the student senate really does or if that would be relevant.

    I know a little about university politics and many of them don’t like to take a stance on political issues. They know they have constituents in both camps and don’t want to alienate anyone. BUT, there certainly are campus groups who represent both sides of any issue and they should be allowed free speech – on social media or wherever they want.

    Social media is the way people communicate these days so to flat out say you can’t use it is unwise, unless they have a very good reason. That said, many organizations DO have social media policies in which they place certain parameters on content. These parameters should be agreed upon by everyone.

    Now, here’s the other thing about universities. They don’t like bad publicity. Which you can use to your advantage, if you choose. If there are other women or women’s groups who can rally, you can start a campaign (using social media, too) to speak out about the university silencing the president’s commission. Use your right to free speech and call them out (respectfully, of course). But you’d need to be committed and ORGANIZED. Start a petition. Start a brand new Facebook page for students who support your cause. Write a rebuttal to the op-ed in the paper. Write an entirely new op-ed. Don’t give up. Naturally, some of the people you’ve been dealing with won’t be too happy, but if you are organized and diligent and make sure your voices are heard in a public forum, the university will be forced to re-examine its policies.

    As for dealing with your friends, yipes. I don’t know about that. Very sensitive at best. All I can say is if you approach it as professional rather than personal and still be congenial about it, it will lessen the blow. You can be positive about it and respectfully disagree.

    Whatever you do, take some time and wait until you are no longer upset before you make any decisions. Things will seem clearer. Fight the good fight, Nikki! I totally believe in you!

    • March 8, 2012 9:51 am

      Yep. All of your points were raised by the Administration in our meeting on Tuesday, and I believe they are really valid. The University is especially sensitive right now due to the current financial crisis, and that our state legislature is not supportive of us. I understand that concern as well.

      My larger concern is that many of these issues are not, at their heart, political. While people may have *religious* or “moral” concerns, my body and my choices are not political. Gay marriage is not political. Obama’s race is not political. Islam is not political. Yet, someone outside these groups decided to make them political. Moreover, my university is currently developing policy on “inclusive excellence” – how do we do that *without* engaging these larger issues? How do we promote openness, awareness, and inclusion if we never choose to take a stand, and say these things are NOT political – they are BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.

      Where is that line?

      I don’t know the answer.

      All that said, we did send a letter for print to the paper, and an editorial was written by someone not on the Women’s Commission to the local student paper. I am still committed to figuring out something positive, and it may relate back to those larger questions, that involves more than just women, but other groups too.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

  2. schrodinger's dog permalink
    March 8, 2012 2:58 am

    IMHO, schools of any grade level shouldn’t be participating in ideology advocacy or social media. There supposed to be unbiased learning environments allowing individuals access to as much data as possible and to serve as a link to the compendium of human knowledge, not to change who people are in the inside. Im very uncomfortable with the idea of a school “teaching” morality in any form weather it tolerance, feminism, religion, etc.

    But im mostly a moral nihilist, self considered egalitarian (not a feminist) and a fringe personality so my opinion is undoubtedly not one you were looking for, and ill gladly go back to lurking (I typically have a rule on not commenting on social justice blogs)

    • March 8, 2012 9:56 am

      I am looking for all opinions, and would never tell you to go back to lurking! Please comment when you feel compelled…

      I hear and agree with your point about schools being unbiased – we must be a safe space for all voices. That should, fundamentally, be our goal.

      I guess, to echo what I said to SingleGirlie above, what about issues that have been made political by someone else, that fundamentally are about people’s rights? I know this is convoluted, because people take issue with some of those rights for personal reasons, but where is the line? Are we not a country of separation of church and state (debatable, I know)? Can we take a stand on the side of those human rights, even if they offend someone on personal grounds – and go against the politics that someone has developed to engage those personal feelings?

      I really am asking, here. This is tough stuff.

      • schrodinger's dog permalink
        March 9, 2012 7:14 am

        *Sigh*, again this is going to be a horridly unpopular position, but since I’m not a feminist and am so rarely asked my opinion on such matters in such a genuine manner by the movement’s followers, I feel quite compelled to offer a response.

        In short, I believe you are experiencing a symptom of what happens when a governing body discovers that there is no such thing as an objectively a – political subject. Again, im mostly a moral nihilist so I’m used to looking at the whole world like this, but from my vantage point, the ideas of what constitute a “basic human right”, like all forms of right and wrong, are relative. As such, proclaiming a position on them as “the right one” is arrogant even if (for lack of a better way to word this), it IS right.

        I dropped out of college so I’m in no way an authority on the subject, but when I was in school (a 2 year mind you, though I was there for 4), I felt constantly bombarded by the “messages” being sent by the management at the time. “Our school is pro – woman, anti – violence against women, anti racist, anti – drug, for reproductive rights, pro free speech, anti – porn” etc, etc… As in all social environments, there was always this “vibe” of “what you were supposed to be” to”be apart” of the establishment.

        It was totally cool to say things like “people who don’t support marriage equality are bigots!” in a school news letter or publication. But what if your a student who dosen’t believe in gay marriage? This isn’t another person saying THEY think people who are anti gay marriage are homophobic bigots, these are people who represent YOUR SCHOOL calling you that. Disagree with them as you may, do those people deserve to be told their beliefs are “wrong” just to get an education there? What about people who are against abortion, should they be called “regressives” by the same school name it’s going to have on their diploma when they graduate?

        The idea of a school having a “position” on anything is simply going to cause a problem with somebody no matter what it is. Weather it’s “pot should be legal” or “pornography is degrading to women”, the institution in question is telling at least one person on campus that “we as a whole do not agree with you, and you may get a degree here, but we will continue to remind you that your belief structure is wrong!”

        The learning environment I would love to envision is one where the school itself sends NO opinionated messages of any kind, and white supremacists can say aloud in a class discussion that “they believe all people of color are inferior beings” and the only response made is “well I disagree with you, but you are free to believe what you want.

        My position is extreem I know, but I just don’t believe in the idea of objective morality at any level. Even the idea of an “advocacy group” on a college campus kinda bothers me. A group of students from a particular school forming an advocacy group is fine (grad students of $foobar U pro – choice association), etc but as soon as that group becomes OFFICIALLY related to the school, red flags to up in my head.

        Now thats not to say a school shouldn’t limit speech that may be harmfull to the learning environment to specific places for the sake of protection but those limits have to be uniform. You can’t say “were going to ask your opinions on rape in this class but if your opinion supports victim blaming you’ll be kicked out of the lecture” because your punishing an idea, not an action.

        Im sorry this got really REALLY wordy but I just wanted to be sure to be clear. For the record tho, the process is really quite terrible if you have to “wonder” why your page was suspended and then reverse engineer their reasons. There really is no excuse for that IMHO.

      • March 12, 2012 9:30 am

        I see your point. I agree that institutions of learning must be by definition a place of free speech and where we can express out views and thoughts, and engage in conversation.

        That said, I have to stand by my own opinion that there are some things that are murky, and some things that are, indeed, human freedoms and rights. I suppose the line is where one person starts pressing their views on someone else. What I mean is, you can dislike gay peeps or black peeps or Muslim peeps, but you can’t tell them they can’t get married, or have children, or practice their religion. Those are rights of freedom and happiness we all have under our Constitution. Moral beliefs of one person cannot do away with the rights of another. Therefore, the institution should uphold the rights off all, even if if does allow you to express your moral feelings about them.

        I really do feel there are clean lines here that can be followed. That said, your point that they will not always be popular is totally true – but the institution should be willing, IMHO, to be unpopular with some people in order to stand up for everyone’s rights.

        All that said, you are correct that in this specific case here, the big issue for us as a Commission was the lack of due process or transparency. I believe you’re correct that there were valid legal, etc, concerns – but it was the way they went about it that was shite.

  3. March 8, 2012 8:32 am

    Nikki, others will know more about universities than me. If private school administration and hierarchy can serve as an analogy, I have plenty of experience there, and I echo the other commenters–admins do not want political material to be out there under the school’s name. It has been hugely frustrating to me at times as well. There are often things behind the scenes–donors making fusses, Trustees pulling strings, community groups agitating, all kinds of factors causing the admins to get concerned and tamp down. Social media is a huge Pandora’s box for them. It is so overwhelming to deal with…to parse out what is ok and what isn’t…to define shades of gray…that they basically don’t. And there are realities about how they can spend their time. When I was the headmistress of a private school, issues related to facebook and the internet (usually around bullying, teachers posting inappropriate things, etc.) consumed hours of my time every day. And nothing else left my plate to make room. Sometimes, out of expediency, so they don’t spend all their time deciding what stays up and what goes down, and defending themselves to aggrieved parties who feel it was unfair their stuff came down and someone else’s stayed up, they just say “everything down, no controversial material” indiscriminately, for their own survival. I am on your side. But you would have a huge task getting so many people to listen with open minds. Most concerning to me is the reaction of your friends, not the admins. If I were going to spend any energy, that’s where I’d spend it. Ugh. Good luck.

    • March 8, 2012 10:10 am

      Agree that there is more going on, and that the University has some very big concerns they have to remember to even stay in business.

      I think I’d respond the same way I did to other commenters – where is the line here? Where do we decide it is not only beyond staying unbiased, but also detrimental to our continued existence, and where is our silence beginning to speak for us?

      Moreover, what is most concerning really isn’t the page suspension, as much as it is the process – or, really, lack thereof. There IS an appropriate way to deal with this – and the IT people at the meeting even said that is a admin of the FB page sits down with IT and legal, and reviews *together* what is concerning, and works together to make it better and up to par. They do this in the hopes of keeping the page live. Here, this didn’t happen. The full commission was not even included in discussion, and we were kept in the dark until the last minute on exactly what happened – and we’re still unclear exactly what was concerning.

      That is really the issue for me – and there must be lessons in all of this we can all benefit from.

  4. March 12, 2012 12:53 pm

    Wow, how frustrating! I attended a private, liberal arts college that is known for being pretty radically liberal, so when I was leading the feminist student organization there, I was free to post all sorts of feminist discourse and issues on our Facebook page that was associated with the college’s name. The only time I ever received push-back from anyone at the college was when the college republicans club thought our advocacy campaign to reveal the deceptive tactics of crisis pregnancy centers was a “smear campaign”. So I’m pretty unfamiliar with what you’re experiencing right now, but greatly admire you for sticking with it despite the barriers you’re coming up against. I think it absolutely makes sense for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women to have a Facebook page that keeps students informed about current women’s issues, but I also know that public institutions create a lot more red tape for their students/advocacy groups than what I’m used to. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of advice on that, but I can guarantee that you are in no way out of line for feeling the way you do right now.

    As for running into these kinds of disagreements with friends or loved ones, that’s perhaps the most challenging part of being a feminist advocate. My general protocol for addressing differences with people I care about/need to tolerate for professional or personal reasons is to never give up on trying to teach them where I’m coming from and why I believe what I believe. That said, I have to be very careful to do it non-aggressively and in a way that assures them that I want to be their friend/friendly with them regardless of our differences. But I think it’s also important to create boundaries for oneself when dealing with these differences–ultimately they can be too extreme and I’ve had to end some friendships because of this.

    Best of luck with the stuggle ahead and never doubt that your efforts are making a difference!

    • March 12, 2012 8:35 pm

      Hey thanks for your response!

      I think the University is a tough one… I do see some of their reasoning, and I understand why they’re concerned (financial reasons – the state thinks we don’t need financial support, and thus the Admin doesn’t want to piss off anyone). Yet… yeah. Where is the line? When do we realize that a lot of what we’re arguing about are RIGHTS not things to be voted on (thanks Rachel Maddow)!

      Your advice on dealing with others is helpful. Sometimes its good to know you aren’t the only one feeling like “…wtf?” or that you should ditch people because they say the wrong things. Your advice to try and look at is a learning experience is really helpful. One of the things I have become interested in is moving conversations from being divisive to understand *why* they are that way in the first place. I think there are many times we’re on the same side/don’t really get it and it gets derailed for the wrong reasons. Thank you for your support! 😀

  5. Mike permalink
    March 13, 2012 3:54 pm


    I’m the same commenter that you have been kind enough to correspond with in your last two Project X posts. I saw this post and I have two viewpoints to share that I do not believe have been expressed yet. This is somewhat difficult to write as it deals with visceral emotions and responses, but I’m hoping that you can better appreciate why you are receiving the reactions that you have faced.

    I completed my BA last May, majoring in economics. I’m now a JD candidate specializing in the economic analysis of law. Both my undergrad and grad schools are public, and in a state that has experienced budget cuts.

    I do not know you, so it is difficult to judge how you act on an ordinary basis, and I know nothing about your colleagues on the Graduate Senate, as a result, it is difficult to say why they reacted the way they did. However, I have first hand experience with similar reactions, and I would like to share.

    I cannot think of a polite way to say this, so I’m just going to come out with it:
    There is a great deal of resentment among many graduate students that is directed as people involved in studies that pursue “activism.” You can probably imagine the list yourself, but the resentment is usually held by people who study things like chemistry, economics, math, psychology, etc. (i.e. groups that, in the broadest sense, do not include activists), and aimed at people who study things like Ethnic Studies, Humanities, Cinema, Gender, etc. (i.e. groups that usually generate a lot of student activism).

    For my part, and in my own personal experiences, it is difficult to say that this resentment is without merit.

    At many points during my undergraduate career, I was openly called “ignorant” or some variation thereof by a student protesters who studied literature, but claimed to “better understand” the global economic situation than I did, even thought I was an econ major. In one extreme case, I was prevented from giving a presentation on independent research I had done (and worked hard on for months) when tuition-protesters briefly seized control of the building I was in. When the arrested students were profiled in the paper, none of them majored in anything that required math classes (I do not mean this as an insult, but merely to provide a wide illustration of the types of students involved).

    To the best of my knowledge, at no point have the econ students, physics students, psychology students, etc. ever attempted to occupy a humanities building. Nor did we ever group together in order to shout insults like “You are sheeple!” at literature majors who differed from our preferred interpretations of Ayn Rand novels.

    As a law student, I think it is very important to hear what contemporary jurists have to say on matters of law. I, along with a great deal of other law students, do not agree with Justice Ginsburg on a large variety of issues (these issues are usually central to those who study law and economics, Judge Posner is a famous proponent of the economic analysis of law, and his decisions are almost always at odds with Ginsburg’s). Nonetheless, I had the opportunity to see her this fall, and I really appreciated it. Despite my disagreements with her views, I thought it was more important to listen and ask questions than it was to cover my face with a Guy Fawkes mask and throw things.

    When Justice Scalia has gone on recent speaking tours, many of my fellow law students (albeit usually at other schools) have not shown the same preference for listening and asking questions over threatening violence and getting arrested in the hopes of shutting down the speaking engagement. It is hard for me to believe that their attempts (and unfortunate successes) to shut down dialogue are really beneficial to anyone.

    Many of my acquaintances have extremely similar experiences. To name just two:

    My brother is working on a PhD in chemical engineering. He is extremely brilliant and has been published twice already, despite being in just his second year of graduate school. He studies fluid dynamics, which has a wide variety of applications, many of them in the medical field. However, because other applications involve petrochemicals, a lot of the funding for his department comes from oil companies. The good he has done, and the advancements he has made are regularly ignored by students that like to target his lab for anti-BP protests.

    A colleague of mine is working on a joint JD-MD through a special program. She finished the bulk of the MD work first, including extensive work as a researcher. She knows first hand that the frontier of medicine is possibly more expensive than ever, as a great deal of research now requires the sequencing of multiple individual human DNA sequences, a process that is cheaper than it used to be, but by no means cheap. She has complained to me, at length, about being berated by student protesters, usually from the political science and sociology departments, about how terrible patents are on medicine. She has never been able to convince any of them that the patents are genuinely the only way to pay for her research, and it’s a constant source of ire in her life.

    The point of all of this is simply to say: many of your colleagues must have similar experiences. You see their reactions and think “How can they turn their back on me?” Yet when they see you become more and more activist, they call up these memories and cannot help but think “How could she be turning her back on us?”

    I know this is extremely long winded already, but I’d like to make a second point.

    You wrote above your assertion that several issues, namely reproductive rights, are “not political questions.”

    I strongly suspect that your problems will diminish if you learn to temper this belief.

    Just to be clear, I want to share a similar situation from my own life. There is broad consensus among economists that Obamacare is a bad idea. According to Ron Suskind’s new book, even Obama’s closest economic advisors (who are all as progressive as economists are ever going to be), all agreed and advised Obama against pursuing Obamacare during his first term.

    For a long time, when I engaged in debates, it was impossible for me to see Obamacare as a political question. For me it was just a simple math equation: it will cost X, the country could at most afford Y, the available simulations of business responses will never make up Z, the difference between X and Y. Given that the average business have yet to recover 2007 levels of revenue, foisting Z upon them is not going to create jobs.

    Yet this is exactly the sort of statement that got me called “ignorant” and “sheeple” usually by people who had never actually looked at the numbers themselves. My insistence that I was objectively right did not help matters. Whether I liked it or not, Obamacare was a political question.

    There is a pragmatic side to this as well. Asserting that a position is “objectively right” implies that your opponent is unable to see objective reality. You have not come out and called them an idiot, but this minor distinction is lost on most people. Calling your opponent an idiot is not a reliable way to bring anyone around to your point of view.

    So, while it may be painful to say that something like “abortion rights” is a political question, you also need to look hard at what the real point of advocacy is in the first place. Is it worth taking a strong moral stance if you never convince anyone?


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