An Epiphany of Certainty
Columbia College 1970
I told one of my SDS friends that, thirty years later, when he'd be a right winger, I'd still be a liberal. Some of my conservative jock friends created the so-called Majority Coalition as a counterprotest. All through the night of the second bust, when the police "cleared" the protesters off South Field, I carried stretchers bearing bleeding students felled by police billy clubs to St. Luke's. Some Majority Coalition sympathizers, football-team guys, now had second thoughts about the police action. But another friend, Vinny, a political and religious conservative, who had been intrigued by my informed and sympathetic disagreement with his views, said triumphantly, "They got what they deserved!" Self-doubt is said to be the hallmark of liberals, and it has accompanied me throughout most of my life. My reaction to Vinny, however, gave me an epiphany of certainty. For that moment, I knew that everything he thought was wrong and everything I thought was right. It passed, but, I note with gratitude, not entirely.