Democracy, a 240-year-old United States institution, was laid to rest on Friday during a moving ceremony on the courthouse steps. Local activists claim the system of government was killed by President Donald Trump, or as the symbolic gravestone read, a fascist.
The gathered mourners wore black and carried signs expressing their outrage. Several spoke, including the host of the event, Jake McClelland.
“We are gathered here today in what is probably the last legal gathering of its kind to mourn the passing of our beloved friend, democracy.”
McClelland, a junior studying history and political science, apologized for the lack of candles (which he couldn’t find) and casket (which was cost-prohibitive).
“I guess I lied to you twice on Facebook,” he said, referencing the details of a Facebook event which read “eulogies will be read by OU activist groups, there will be candles present, and someone may even bring a makeshift coffin that we can throw dirt at.”
Others took a more direct approach to expressing their feelings, including Claire Seid, a student activist and member of F*ckRapeCulture.
“Comrades, siblings, we are gathered here to say our goodbyes. I would like to give a eulogy to pretending to giving a f*** about women on this campus,” she said. “As some of you may know, recently a report came out from the English department that exposed one of the professors there as a rapist.”
She went on to express her outrage on what she called a “14-year cover-up by the university” and vowed to continue a “campaign of shame” toward the English department.
Other students also expressed their outrage regarding the report on Andrew Escobedo, as well as another recent report on Kevin Lake, a former member of Ohio University’s Board of Trustees who has been charged with tax evasion and running a pill mill in Columbus.
“I don’t think I want to live in a world where I can’t be trusted to go to school or I can’t trust my professors, or I can’t even have a protest and stand up for things I believe in,” said Laurie, a freshman who declared her recent activism was in response to the November election.
The last speaker was Adar Matzubua-Ehrlich, a local resident of Athens and junior studying history at OU. He spoke about his experiences with discrimination during his lifetime in Athens, and asked for compassion toward his Appalachian neighbors.
“They live in the most f**ked over part of the country,” he said. “Realize who your enemy is. It’s not Joe down the street who says ‘f*** the refugees’ and makes $9,000 a year.”