Only the lonely
Allison Daley is a third-year UC Davis student, double-majoring in political science and international relations. She also spent the past year as chairwoman of Davis College Republicans. Daley says the DCR has about 30 active members and 450 “on paper.” In an e-mail exchange, she described what it’s like to fly a straight flag in a city known for the freaky.
Is it lonely being a College Republican in Davis? What’s the climate like for you guys on campus?
Being a College Republican in Davis is lonely in a way, but maybe it is because we are in such a minority, we have a tighter group of friends. We also obviously have many friends in apolitical circles. The climate for us on campus ranges from dismissive to hateful. The more active we become, the more hostile the climate gets. It seems that many people would prefer that we not be heard at all.
What has been the most challenging protest or event you’ve attended?
Without a doubt, the one we put on in response to last year’s May Day protests—our often-misquoted “Illegal Immigration Capture the Flag” (not “Capture the Illegal Immigrant”). Our perspective was completely misunderstood, and people’s attitudes became extremely combative, borderline dangerous. I received probably a hundred e-mails, more than one of which threatened me physically. Afterwards, I realized just how hard it is to get our message heard in a place that is unaccustomed to an actual debate.
Is there anything you do differently since then?
Since our capture-the-flag game, we have learned that unfortunately, perception can be more important than reality. While we know we were not being racist, many people believed that we were, and our message was in large part lost as a result. With that in mind, this May Day for our counter-protest, we had a more nuanced Socialist Career Fair, in which we satirically promoted a number of jobs that can be had in socialist societies, such as union boss, member of the secret police and gulag commandant. And while it was much lower-key, we think the event was overall a greater success.
Name an aspect of Davis political culture that makes you roll your eyes. Why?
The political culture in Davis is supposedly diverse and inclusive, but in reality, it does not appreciate dissent. Certain political and ethnic groups are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want, which creates a breeding ground for political radicalism. Other groups, like DCR and sometimes Christian groups, get no help whatsoever from the campus bigwigs. The double standard is so blatant that frequently, we are at a loss for words.
What’s one aspect of Davis political culture that you value/appreciate (it’s OK if there aren’t any)?
How involved people are. I tend to disagree with their activism, and I don’t like how some dip into radicalism, but overall, it is nice to not live in a politically apathetic community.