This week I'm teaching at the Institute for Humane Studies' Journalism & A Free Society seminar at Loyola University Chicago. We go from early in the morning until late at night discussing philosophy, economics, the law and journalism. During a quick break just now, I ran to the local coffee shop to get a couple of lattes. While waiting in line, I read a flyer for Food Not Bombs that was being given out at the cash register:
Food Not Bombs is not a charity but seeks to end the crisis of corporate domination and exploitation through nonviolent direct action so no one is forced to stand in line to eat at a soup kitchen.
They only give away vegan and vegetarian meals, which made me feel sad for people on the streets.
OK, so while I was paying, the proprietor invited me to sign a card for her friend "Liz, in Wisconsin." When I didn't immediately respond, she explained that Liz was heartbroken about the failure to recall Gov. Scott Walker. I, being fairly non-confrontational, responded something like, "Yes, some people are sad about that."
The proprietor got a little fired up, explaining that "We here in Illinois stand ready to help our brethren in Wisconsin. Illinois accepts refugees from Wisconsin and sends them love and support as they go through their trying times!"
So, what would you do? Perhaps I should have simply taken the coffee and smiled and left.
But I was happy to hear that she wanted to help the people of Wisconsin, and so I suggested that she could help the people of Wisconsin pay for their public employees' pensions and benefits. It didn't go over terribly well, but I was happy to remind her why her ideas were on the losing side and to defend the majority of voters in the state to the north.