Monday, April 23, 2007


This is a glorious day. I have never experienced the full power that grass roots activist efforts could have until today. I wrote a heart-felt blog entry on The Daily Kos this afternoon pouring the facts and expressing my feelings about the uphill battle that anti-Cheney BYU students are fighting to organize their own "alternative commencement".

The Daily Kos is such a huge and popular blog, that I expected my entry to quickly disappear into the woodwork.

But this was not the case. Within minutes, people from around the nation started pouring in supportive comments to what I had written. And, within a few more minutes, money donations started gushing into the Alternative BYU Commencement website. Hundreds upon hundreds of people started discussing this issue and we suddenly became the top most talked about Daily Kos Blog Entry of the day. Hundreds of dollars became thousands of dollars. The "donation" meter exploded from about $9,500 to $15,000 in 2 hours. And then, just 4 hours after the post went up, the $20,000 goal was annihilated. And people just kept giving and giving and giving.

My heart is full of cheer, warmth, and celebration. This is a great day. Especially for someone like me... a pessimist.


Here are some of the 500 comments from readers of The Daily Kos:

This is how freedom is born. It is hard and it requires pain, but they have done something really courageous and it will grow. Watch it grow!!

I hope these kids know that these donations are coming from atheists, agnostics, Jews, Pagans, Catholics, and other folks... Go BYU Protesters!

I LOVE THIS!!! THIS is what I've been waiting for. For the college kids to join us. I'm from the Vietnam era and have been discouraged that the (current)college kids weren't politically motivated. Well, they are at BYU. Thank you, grads, and good luck.

Great Work, Mr. Greenstreet and the other students and all of us who donated. How cool to see the good that can come out of the net-roots. Just my little yay us to add to the chorus...

Way to go BYU students! You guys are really impressive.

OK, this will be my last update, but it's cleared the $21K mark (how fucking cool): $21,000.89105% of what they needed. That was awesome. NICE!!!

I contributed $10. I can imagine how unhappy (ok, downright angry) I would be to have Cheney as a commencement speaker for my graduation. Congratulations to these BYU students who stood up for themselves and are making this happen.

What these kids are doing takes guts. I am so glad they made their goal and then sends a good message to support anyone who wishes not to have their big day sullied by the likes of Cheney... I am not a fan of Nader... but Cheney is in a whole different league...And the fact these kids where they were...and going to the school they are... and had the courage to speak out.......... that is a message of hope.

I gave $50. Boy, It feels real good to be a part of this action! What a knock on Cheney, and in deep red Bush country no less! Cheney can go NOWHERE in America anymore without us reaching out and touching him! And these BYU kids are the greatest!

This is about telling the BYU Administrators that America (or at least this portion of it) is watching...

The total went from $17K to $20K in about 10 minutes! Now this is about sending a message to the BYU top brass who wanted to bring Cheney onto campus, and about sending a message to all college students nationally about what can be done!

$6,000 2 1/2 hours?!?! This shows me that liberals stand by our principles. I mean, did you ever think you would be donating to kids at BYU? I'm keeping Nader out of this, let the kids have their alternative function, and I hope they have an overflow audience!
This is one of the best days of my life...



Raquel said...

Hey Steven- THANK YOU so much for writing the letter to Daily Kos. Your words and the camera are making a profound difference. YAY! Blessings Upon You! I have become a pessimist but there's a whole lot of hope fluttering inside me now!!

Washed-up 4th grader said...

Yeah that's really impressive and I would definitely hit-up the Nader speech rather than one featuring someone like Cheney.
However, what the hell does "liberals stand by our principles" mean? What principles would that be in this case: the liberal principle of protesting and complaining about anything that doesn't meet our self-righteous biases? Yeah, we stood up pretty nicely for that principle. Which brings me to a question, what are we going to complain about now? Well, I guess we always have Iraq.
This debate should have nothing to do with sides, parties, alliances, loyalties, extreme biases(liberals,) but rather about the basic character of mankind. And this kind of man, Cheney, lacks such character and is a disgrace to our country, and now to BYU.

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

- 19th-century Danish Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard

Spencer said...

Steven, you guys are awesome... seriously, your crew has saved the day with the documentary showing at the theatre, tons of media hookups, and now this... wow...

Anonymous said...

first i'd like to congratulate you for your inspiring courage to stand up and be counted, heard, and seen!! that's great. i wish you much success at your alternative commencement - this is about YOU and YOUR future - and you leave this year a principled, courageous lot.

next, i'd like to say that there was some debates on the st. vincent college campus, whose new president is a former "faith based initiatives" director with ties to bush. to the alarm of the school, he has been making very sinister changes to its culture and complexion in the areas of free speech, professor tenure, and the like - to the point of getting rid of the words "in the liberal arts tradition" from the college's website. this year, he has invited BUSH to speak at their commencement.

in benectine fashion, they've already said they'll keep their principles and be gracious; but they also had a debate which was aired on CSPAN. check it out here: rtsp://

it's a riveting debate. they are your "sister" school, i think - god bless to all of you!

Anonymous said...

to washed up:

you don't see that people are standing up for their right to free speech; their right to assemble; and they are acting on their convictions that cheney does not represent the values of their school?

why is that given the word "complaining" by you? it is shortsighted and derogatory. if it had nothing to do with parties, those on the right would support these students, because those principles they espouse are larger than party. where are those constitutionalists, anyway?

sara said...

Steven & Co: Thank you SO MUCH. I can't express my extreme happiness in words alone. Thank you for dedicating so much of your time and energy into our cause. We needed all the help we could get, and you all gave ten-fold. Thank you for helping us send a message to the rest of the world that change IS possible. I can't stop smiling!