If he were in a grave, David Horowitz would be rolling over in it by now. The whiny conservative windbag, whose list of the 100 most dangerous professors in America is really a list of the 100 most non-neoconservative professors, would mourn the loss of another victim to the wicked, liberal academic machine. That victim: me.

Andrew Skidmore

Sometime between now and when I first moved into Bursley Residence Hall freshman year, I turned into a liberal. I caught the Bush-hating, affirmative action-approving, Communist-loving bug – with all its shameful stigma. And just like herpes or hepatitis, it is, as far as I can tell, permanent.

How could this happen? How could all my parents’ warnings of “thinking like a liberal, but living like a conservative” not gotten into my head? How could tax cuts for the rich, strict tort reform and a $423-billion deficit not convince me to slap that “W ’04” sticker on my BMW?

The first obvious answer is those dangerous professors I’ve been taking classes from; I’ve been intimidated into liberal submission. They’ve brainwashed me with their facts – filling my head with information that really won’t help me get into a useful field like medicine or engineering. Instead I’m too busy worrying about the inequalities in the world – worrying about all the people who’ve been screwed over and trampled on, then told to get up on their own, unmarred.

And you know what’s even worse? I’m a liberal, and I’m one who wants to do something about it. The latter problem is the Daily’s fault. Through subliminal messages in the crossword puzzle, the Daily has made me think I can make some change. It might be through journalism – just look at what the sports section did with the chop/claw – or it might be through hand-dirtying work, but somehow I got some youthful idealism that my parents hope I get over and never get back – sort of like chicken pox.

When I first came to Ann Arbor, the University was embroiled in a couple big-deal Supreme Court cases challenging the constitutionality of its affirmative-action policies. If you haven’t picked up on this before, I come from a pretty rich, pretty white Detroit suburb, where the sense of entitlement hangs heavy in the air. Kids don’t dream of going to the University; they have it as their back-up. And I was not immune to this feeling of entitlement. I worked my ass off in high school, and I took all the right tests – it’s just not fair that some unqualified black/Hispanic/Native American kid should get a free ride. Right?

Well, shame on 18-year-old me and everyone else who hasn’t had their brains infected with the horrors of history. I’m not talking about the obvious – the policies of segregation, the KKK or Indian reservations, which are bad enough. But I’m talking about the stuff they don’t tell you about on the History Channel or PBS – the stuff that is complicated and not obvious and that doesn’t have interesting photos to go along with it. Stuff like kicking blacks out of their homes to build a white-friendly highway; or invading and occupying countries decades before Iraq under the guise of “spreading democracy”; or trumpeting minority rights while setting the women’s movement back a half century in one fell swoop.

Living in this city has made me the cliche that conservatives both fear and deride. The University hasn’t just infected me with what to think, but has also burdened me with the obligation to think. In the meantime, I became a liberal – and now serve as a cautionary tale.

For you wealthy conservatives ready to send your impressionable kids into this well-known liberal bastion: Watch out. If your sons and daughters are careful – wearing masks and avoiding truth – they might be able to stop it before it starts. So far, I haven’t heard of a cure. But then again, I hope they never find one.

Go can be reached at aligo@umich.edu.

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