TFP Student Action volunteers began the morning of Monday September 16 with the usual preparations for departure, assuring all materials were in place for a day of promoting Return to Order by John Horvat II at George Washington University in the nation’s capital. However, several factors assured it would be no ordinary day of campaigning for them.
Heavy rains in the early hours had brought cooler temperatures on this mid-September morning. By the time the campaign began, the rains had ceased and the red standard was unfurled beside Trustees Gate overlooking Kogan Plaza, a popular meeting point for students. It wasn’t long before the young men were engaging people in conversation about the topics in Return to Order and answering questions about this Catholic solution for the economic crisis.
Confronting the spirit of secularism
With the TFP’s many campaigns to defend moral values, it came as no surprise that the college students passing by were imbued with a spirit of secularism seen time and again on campuses across the country. Though the flyers the volunteers distributed were generally well received, a considerable minority refused to even look at it upon seeing certain words such as soul and Christian, eliciting responses of antipathy and disdain.
Many on the George Washington campus took the opportunity to fill out the student survey concerning the economy and moral issues. Appropriately, one of the concluding questions included a quote from George Washington’s Farewell Address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” The results of the survey revealed the majority either expressed disagreement with our first president or gave no opinion.
A Brutal Pace of Life
The day coincided with the Constitution Day Lecture for students and invited guests given by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Lisner Auditorium, a mere block from where the young men were campaigning. When the lecture concluded, a vast sea of students and faculty flooded the street where the campaign was taking place, providing a good opportunity to distribute flyers, yet no one stopping to inquire as to the TFP’s presence. The rapid speed at which most were moving provided a living example of the brutal pace of life pointed out in the pages of Return to Order. Soon the area was nearly empty, the throng having vanished almost as quickly as it had appeared.
By far the most shocking occurrence of the day was the news of a deadly shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard in which 13 were killed and many more wounded, a mere four miles from the George Washington University campus. Upon hearing the news while travelling home, the TFP volunteers gave thanks that all remained safe during the campaign, and each renewed his commitment to work for the regeneration of American society.