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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

3 responses to “Messages from the future: Students support Raimondo’s free college plan”

  1. Barry Schiller

    I hope progressives will rally around the Governor on this, her desire to help make college affordable can really help both needy students AND the state’s economy but she faces a lot of pushback from the usual negative sources.
    As a working class kid I was fortunate to be able to go to college in the 1950s when there was no tuition (at CCNY, Univ of California, but also at Rhode Island College) for all the 4 years. Returning GIs were also given free college education. The country boomed (though to be fair African-Americans were left out, though not all as my fellow alum Colin Powell can attest) To pay for this the upper classes were taxing themselves at marginal rates of over 90% but now those classes have turned their backs on the American people and state aid to public college has been gutted.
    There is a good contrast to Mattiello’s priority which is to give a huge tax break, about 7 times more than the college tuition plan, to wealthy motorists with lots of expensive cars. That helps those the most who need it the least, encourages more pollution, congestion, and consumption of fossil fuels which by increasing the flow of our dollars to out of state oil barons does nothing to build the state’s economy. (Where is “fossil free” on this?)

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    1. cailin rua

      Hi Barry,

      I have to say that over the years I’ve been mightily impressed with the talent that’s come of CCNY and, later, CUNY and also RIC. Did you read Andrew Stewart’s piece in GoLoco? One must wonder what he’s doing over there. I didn’t always agree w/ Andrew but found him interesting. I was looking forward to the series on Marxism and economics that he said he was going to run here but never did.

      I read Andrew’s article at GoLoco twice because I couldn’t understand his point. The second time I read what he had to say it seemed as though he was able to make a tenuous connection between his point and Gina Raimondo’s husband’s advocacy for introducing technological equipment to replace teachers and her history involving education along with changes to the administration at RIC and CCRI to issue his caveats about where this “free tuition” stuff is going.

      I think free tuition in R I is probably the most ingenious proposal that has been offered in an era where enthusiasm for race to the bottom subservience to the corporate elite proliferates, particularly in the Raimondo administration. Why not offer what California did before Reagan? What you say about the G I Bill is very true. I think if this were truly something in the offering it would make R I much more competitive than bending over backwards to bribe companies like G E to locate here but there are Trojan Horse aspects whose existence or non-existence will only be determined after one takes on a search for the devil that is always in the details. What is the famous saying by George Santayana? I think history is telling.

      As far as your ranting about the automobile, when you were living in that workers paradise known as Brooklyn, or wherever you are from, could you ever have imagined having to walk from Matunuck back to Kingston in 17 degree weather in a jacket w/out a lining? Do you know what it feels like when a blister forms on your left heel and you favor the other leg, worrying that in the cold the less active leg might go numb and eventually leave you with a limp like that obnoxious English professor walked with? We all come from different backgrounds and environments. Nature is not always kind, neither are humans. I used to hate it when the cars blew by me, too. Rhode Island has little in common w/ Copenhagen or even NYC. Not everyone lives in a metro area. What would you do for those people, I wonder.

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  2. riprotest

    Mr. Schiller, your guilty of double standard hypocritical principals. In your verbose rant against free bus passes on this issue, why is it this government free pass is ok? Why is it good for you to college in free, but the poor can’t have free bus passes?

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