Reflecting upon 4000 XP and two years of college

For some time I've felt that I should explain myself to the E2 community, and what better time than the day I finally reach a solid stature of four thousand XP points. I registered here on January 3, 2001, a time which has become far more remote to the present world than I thought possible. I put down a lot of nodes in the early days, reveling in the free idea aspect of all this. Yet despite my tenure I've only put together 177 nodes, many of them mediocre. It's a tad shy, and I should explain it now.

I arrived at college on September 1, 2001. I knew that I was a liberal, I didn't trust the Republicans, and college was going to be a lot of partying and good stuff. I'd made it into a very tough school, and life would get interesting from there. For that little slice of time, calling out "COLLEGE!" at every toast, I was free for the first time.

That went for about ten days. And then the whole damn country came crashing down. The World Will Never Be the Same. The Enemy had Revealed Itself. The crushing power of MegaPatriotism Ideology attained greatness, but blessedly, I missed the most intense stretches of it, bound to living on campus and not really getting out to Wounded yet UNITED America much. I think in that window of a troubled nation's mourning, millions of Americans abandoned hope in cooperation, in a peaceful order for the future. I slipped past it in the Macalester bubble, which was the greatest escape hatch possible. Yet I knew that I would have to adjust my plans to seek a new understanding of this complex world.

I've done some audacious things here, some things I'm not proud of. Yet today I feel that more than ever I have done an excellent job taking advantage of the opportunities and situations which have been presented to me here at Macalester College. I am a full time student at this utterly unique school. Every day I seem to learn another piece of the global puzzle, make another connection which might be valuable in the future. I met Paul Wellstone twice. I've quizzed the Vice-President of the UN General Assembly about neoconservatives. At a time in which those in power ask us to reject the principle of the United Nations, I go to 'the Kofi school,' and I see everything about the UN reflected in this place. There are tons of 'diplobrats' here, as well as students from so many places in the world. This has been valuable in a time of war, as all rah-rah arguments about 'Patriotism' and being a 'good (US) Citizen' acquire a different slant. When you kick it with globalized non-Citizens on a daily basis, your view of the world becomes deeper, I could say. I can count on my friends for perspective, those who have lived with a diplomatic immunity card, with parents in UN compounds, the ones who signed the Oslo Accords and advised Latin American presidents. This is valuable, today and tomorrow. This breaks the view of the world we are asked to embrace by the 'intellectual leadership' of the evil think-tanks, the militants and those in thrall to manipulating the fear of the citizens of my country.

Macalester is a bubble, an inversion of the American intellectual environment. It's key to connecting the world in a way that the Ivy League simply can't facilitate. It's a place whose dimensions have shocked and surprised me, all the time. It is here I've felt those moments which are so rare, the ones where I actually sense that somehow I've tapped a chord on the order of the world, where I popped up and asked the right question at the right time. Here's where I finally learned that in order to shake the order of the world, you first have to poke it, because if you are smart enough to poke it right, it will poke you back, and you emerge a changed person.

So what about E2 then? I give big ups to everyone here. When I registered I wasn't sure what to make of it or whether to stick with it. Somehow it's magnetized me, though. I respect the community as a great resource for sketching out the ideas of the world with humor and great humanity. However, after making the last E2 node of 2001, I stopped noding altogether for a long time. (my nodegel on homenode reflects this) This relates to what I asked Senator Wellstone in October 2001. I wanted to meet the guy, assuming he'd be a liberal resource of my state for the future, even if he lost the upcoming election. Paul was a politician of his own unique tenor. He was, vote-count-wise, Bush's greatest enemy in the Senate. He had this undefatiguable willingness to drag the Senate debate sideways, to force into the faces of those rich white guys and the public the real consequences of their oft horrible actions. I went to an early DFL (Minn. Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party) fundraiser, and Paul wanted to gather the thoughts of those around about September 11. As chance would have it he pointed to me. I said my name, and I said, "Well, I think that if we are seeing all this hostility towards our country, we need to look at re-evaluating our foreign policy," basically. Yet I couldn't articulate the problem beyond that, I didn't know what the problem was. I knew it was complex, but I didn't understand anything about this Middle East which was in such conflict. But I knew instinctively that there was more going on here than whatever these accursed Republicans were trying to cram down our brainstems. After asking that of Paul, I asked it of myself. And off I went.

So I set out to educate myself, starting with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, simply because the compass points of Arab anger go for Jerusalem, and there was more going on than the American media was willing to report or conceptualize about. This worsened as the Intifada grew more grim and the extremist positions became entrenched.

So I had to stop writing about anything here, I had to grab at knowledge, parse out the points of contention. Eventually I started to arrive at judgements and evaluations which were so far beyond whatever nonsense the US media puts in the minds of everyone around. I had to talk with someone from Jenin. I had to, dare I say it, read a little Chomsky, even. (not that I limit myself in any way to Chomsky and his quasi-anarchic view. The last thing Chomsky wants is people who only listen to Chomsky)

But today I feel that I've put plenty of the pieces together. Intellectually I think I can stand up and walk around, articulate, and know how to ask the right wise people the questions that ought to be asked. At least, I've started to. E2 has not been the place I've been deriving much of this knowledge from, and I have neglected to node a serious number of things, and I certainly haven't thoroughly articulated here how I feel about what happened on 9/11, and much at all about the war in Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

My name is Daniel Feidt. Daniel signified 'judge' to the Hebrews. And so now I reach, I am trying to judge things for what they are, from the general perspective of a leftist, slightly militant, quasi-socialist atheist. As if we don't have enough of those bastards floating around causing trouble with their Red godlessness. I would never have thought to apply to myself that label, and yet somehow, here I am. The ideological corruption of these hippie schools, its a real threat to good American ideals.

I'm in the grip of final exams now, but I felt I should pause to explain myself to E2. I've not noded much, but once the schoolwork is finished I am going to bust it out, and I hope that you guys are entertained. I am not the same person who wrote those nodes before my hiatus. I like to think I am better now. I will explain.

I haven't put any money in the E2 donation box yet. That's really appalling and I'm going to rectify it. Be thankful that we have this world and this site. Don't believe their lies. Agitate when you're sitting still.

I only got to 4000 XP by voting all over the place. I don't have a guilt complex over votedumping and I usually hit +, because usually if it hasn't been deleted it deserves a +. Who cares about abstract "accuracy" in votes? Generate XP to all the nodegel: upvote today! A profound lack of links is evident in this w/u. Forgive me this one trespass. :)