On Monday, Oct. 30, Gettysburg College’s political club Democracy Matters held its first “Democracy and Donuts” event. Democracy Matters defines itself as a “non-partisan, campus-based student organization that strives to diminish the role of money in politics and maximize the principles of democracy.”
Although this political organization was founded nationally in 2001, the club did not exist on Gettysburg College’s campus until September of 2015. Since then, members of the club have met once a week to discuss ways to promote discussion, education, and activism in politics. They have also been known for holding voter registration drives and handing out factoids about campaign finance reform.
Its recent “Democracy and Donuts” event had attendance of over 30 students from all different class years. The topic for discussion was the recent NFL protests, and more generally, freedom of speech in democracy. The event was moderated by a Gettysburg College professor and discussion was led by the presidents of the organization who posed thoughtful questions to which students took turns addressing.
There were students in attendance who advocated for the rights of the owners of the NFL, suggesting the kneeling during the national anthem was an act that could harm ratings. Therefore, this justified repercussions to players who knelt. There were also students who disagreed with these views, and argued that Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback, had the right to peacefully protest on the platform given to him.
While the first hour of the event focused specifically on the NFL controversy, the second hour took a more general approach and focused on the concept of protesting within a democracy. When the event came to a close, 3 bags of donuts still remained unopened.
The organization hopes to continue these “Democracy and Donuts” events — having had great turnout and excellent discussion. The club is also always looking for new members to attend its weekly meetings on Mondays from 8 – 9 p.m. in Glatfelter 103.