The Times They are a-Changin’

Way back in our boyhood, during the hippie days, a certain sort of college student was considered a threat to the public safety. Idealistic youngsters such as the Weather Underground were building bombs, fomenting riots, and sneering at the squares in the College Republicans.
Much has changed since then. Now Weather Underground leader Bill Ayres is a respected member of the academic community who hosted the political debutante party for a future president, and the College Republicans are banned from that same president’s speeches as a “security threat.”
This is true at least at the University of Central Missouri, where on Wednesday a group of students affiliated with the campus chapter of the College Republicans were denied admission to another in a seemingly endless series of presidential speeches. The students held tickets to the event, and had waited patiently for two hours outside the auditorium, and the day’s intense heat had knocked enough students out of the heat that there was no question of having enough seats, but they were nonetheless turned away on the grounds that posed a danger to the president. Although they had all stowed away the picket signs they had wielded in an earlier protest, and presumably had passed the rigorous security checks that a routine at all presidential appearances, a few of the students’ tee-shirts emblazoned with conservative slogans marked them as likely troublemakers or potential assassins. “It just didn’t make sense,” a group leader told the College Fix web site, “A lot of us traveled several hours to watch the speech. We were very disappointed we were not able to attend.”
The young man’s disappointment is hard to explain, especially if the speech was anywhere near so boring as the long-winded soporific Obama delivered earlier to an adoring group of students at Illinois’ Knox College, but there’s no accounting for a college kid’s taste. Even harder to explain is why Obama’s security detail considered the group threatening, given the College Republicans’ longstanding reputation for unfashionably proper behavior. College Republicans don’t even heckle or hiss at a speech, tactics associated exclusively with the campus left, and it should be noted that none of the many assassins in the country’s history were ever members of the group. So placid is the group that if any of Obama’s old Weather Underground buddies ever got wind that he was fearful of a bunch of tee-shirt clad College Republicans they’d probably snort a derisive laugh.
Perhaps the words “Tea Party” appearing on those tee-shirts explains the ban, as any identifying with the phrase is presumed by the administration to be a terrorist at worst or a tax-cheat at best, but despite the best efforts of the press there has never been any act of violence associated with the movement. Students with “Occupy Wall Street” slogans adorned on the clothing were almost certainly sent through security without a second glance, even though that movement has spawned violence and alleged plots of terrorism with all the hipster enthusiasm of its Weather Underground ancestors, so some sort of political profiling seems to be involved.
More indignant observers such as Prof. Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds have urged that the students sue anyone involved, and agitate to prevent Obama from making his beloved campus appearances until the rules of admission are made fair, but we suggest that the College Republicans enjoy their newfound bad boy status. College chicks dig danger, as all those old-school campus agitators happily discovered, and there’s no reason that the scruffy Occupy kids should be having all the fun. Besides, there will be plenty of chances to hear long, boring Obama speeches in the future.

— Bud Norman