Well, judging by the weather, spring has finally sprung in our fair Elm City. The tulips are making their first appearance in the Jonathan Edwards courtyard, Old Campus is being overtaken by daily ultimate frisbee games, and senior projects are on the minds of every Yale senior. What a glorious time of year.
It is in this springy spirit that I recently reflected on three of my favorite subjects: baseball, politics and the environment.
Regarding baseball, like all Bostonians, my heart exalts at a new season for my beloved Boston Red Sox. For any Sox fan, hope truly does spring eternal. Only the most unabashedly optimistic person can qualify to be a fan of the Boys from Beantown. No other fans could ever possibly understand or appreciate the pain, agony and eternal optimism that all combine to make the essential Red Sox fan.
Rooting for the star-crossed Sox franchise is like investing your money in a dot-com start-up: You know it’s going to crash and burn, but it will take you on one hell of a ride in the process. Despite my past heartaches, I find myself rooting once more for the gang from Lansdowne Street.
With Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter against the Orioles last week, pennant fever seems ready to swoop Boston yet again. Yes, the nay-sayers can tell us we will ultimately fall flat, that we will be nothing without Nomar, that our pitching squad is worthless beyond the great Pedro Martinez, and that we paid too much for Manny Ramirez.
And perhaps all this is true. But does anyone expect Red Sox fans to give up? Remember, this is the same group of people who have patiently waited 83 years for a World Series victory.
But speaking of heartache and letdown, I must now turn to the political rites of spring, specifically the upcoming Yale College Council officer elections.
Now I must preface my remarks by saying that I was once a charter member of the YCC. I was your standard student government hack/tool. I did my time on the Freshman Class Council. I paid my dues as an elected representative on the Yale College Council. I even served as Chairperson of Spring Fling ’99. I mention all of this not to brag but simply as background for the comments I am about to make.
My time as a representative on the Council proved to me that Yale’s student government is wholly ineffectual and in desperate need of reformation despite the efforts of its leaders to change the situation.
Time and time again I saw valiant reform efforts to take on contentious issues like financial aid, dining services and bathroom improvements die a slow and ignoble death. In this accomplishment vacuum, scheming, PC-minded representatives took the initiative to pass resolutions condemning U.S. sanctions against Iraq and attacking Yale President Richard Levin’s position on sweatshops.
YCC candidates need to maintain a level of visionary pragmatism. By that I mean, YCC’s leaders need to know what they are capable of doing within the power structures already established at Yale. I hate to break the news to the YCC crowd, but Yale’s student government is structurally weak and was not created to be all that powerful.
So I urge the YCC candidates to keep their platforms real, avoid taking positions on U.S .sanctions against Kraplakistan, and deliver for the student body those things that we so desperately need like handsoap in our bathrooms.
Finally, as I think of spring, I reflect on the beautiful natural world that surrounds me, and I am suddenly brought to my third and last issue: the environment.
Every year come late April, politicians strike green-friendly chords in their annual Earth Day observances. Even the politicians who would rather forfeit our public lands to the Archer Daniels Midland Corporation pretend to care about the environment, if even for just one day. These politicians pose for symbolic photos taking a stroll through the forest or planting a tree in a park.
But don’t expect our 43rd “president” to even make that much of an effort. Dubya will mark this year’s Earth Day by gutting the Kyoto global warming agreement, wiping out Clinton’s protections of our national forests from logging and giving the green light for greedy Texas oilmen to rape and pillage the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
With this dire picture facing us, I’d say the only advice is to eat, drink and be merry. But you can’t even do this because then you’d have to drink the water, and I don’t think you want to take that risk with Dubya’s lax arsenic standards now firmly in place.
So as we all reflect on these rites of spring, remember that the Red Sox will break our hearts, Bush will prove he has no heart, and the YCC simply doesn’t matter.
Jim DiTullio is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College. He urges all his readers to never stop fighting the good fight.