I vividly recall failing to explain to a young boy that some things aren't wonderful in America. People even suffer from depression.McCoy was in the Peace Corps, where, he complains, he felt "a deep sense of isolation" and "failed time and again to integrate into a culture different from my own." Eventually, he realized he would always be "an outsider," because "I wasn't Khmer and never would be."
"No, America is beautiful," he replied.
Isthmus exploits this alienated young man's musings for a cover story titled "Not my Madison/Political unrest has changed the city's character." You see, when the alienated young man returned from the place where he felt alienated, he found that he was still alienated, because his city had changed. It used to be so harmonious, but somehow these people who were not the Madisonians he grew up with had taken over political power.
Well, Mr. McCoy, I hate to bring you down, but the city of Madison is the capital of an entire state, and, sometimes, an election gives the majority and the governorship to — gasp! — that other party, the one the people of Madison would like to discipline its citizens never to mention any positive feeling for. That discipline was the harmony of Madison that you remember, pre-Cambodia. When the Republicans from the hinterlands came to town and began to enact their policies, Madisonians had a collective nervous breakdown in public.
Post-protests, McCoy is bummed out to find Madisonians in a bad mood. They failed, despite strenuous efforts, to deny Republicans the power that had been legitimately and democratically won in a thoroughly fair election. America is beautiful, as the Cambodian boy said. But you like to think of him as a fool.
I would love to link to this article, but — alas! — I cannot, not until — what is it? a week? — Isthmus deems it time to put the text on line. Ironically, despite all the left-wing politics and heavy-handed attacks on corporate greed and pressure on us to subordinate our needs to environmentalism, Isthmus wants the people of Madison to pick up the newsprint paper. There are stacks and stacks of this rag all over town. I can't think of any reason for this other than... corporate greed: they want to maximize ad revenue.
So, I'd love to give my readers more of the context of this article, but you can't read the whole thing unless you can get your hands on the inky, pulpy object that I have right here. There's a limit to how many quotes I'm willing to type out to be fair to this young man, who comes across as a brooding introvert. I wonder what the first draft of this article was. I can't help speculating that he had his introspective Cambodian journals, and then he got the idea — or somebody insisted — that he shoehorn all this Wisconsin protest material into it — quotes from UW sociology professors and whatnot.
"When people have been decisively crushed, they get demoralized." — UW Prof. Pam OliverThat's one of the pull quotes. The other pull quote is:
There's a new sense that normal citizens can't change anything.Normal citizens! Because — in the Madison hive mind — the people who vote for Republicans are not normal.
UPDATE: The text is up.