Posted on July 26, 2003

From Jon:

As we pulled into Boston we got riled up for the amazing Blue Man Group. The show was phenomenal.  I have been a huge fan of theirs for years and had been waiting for a time when I could see the show.  It was hilarious when we all got splattered with Blue Man throw up (mashed bananas) in our first row seats.  Then to top it all off we were all drowned in a sea of toilet paper.  It must have been 2 or 3 feet over our head.  It was a show that I will never forget and plan to take my family and friends to as soon as can.

After the show we went to Boston’s North End, an Italian neighborhood, for dinner. We had a great authentic Italian dinner followed by dessert at Mike’s Pastries.

The next morning we trekked out to Walden Pond, a place I had desperately wanted to visit since reading H.D. Thoreau’s Walden earlier this year, and it was far from disappointing.  I was expecting more of a pond in the conventional sense, a small, muddy pool of water, perhaps with some frogs or other such amphibians, but what we got was a vast, blue lake surrounded with dense forests.  We could immediately see the inspiration for Thoreau’s love and reverence for nature that is present in all of his writings.  We sat by the water and learned about Thoreau, and we read and discussed some passages from Walden.

From there, we drove into Cambridge and stopped at Harvard University to speak with Jesus Mena, the director of communications at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Mr. Mena is the son of illegal immigrants from Mexico, and he grew up as one of seven children living illegally in southern Texas.  Eventually, his parents were able to get their green cards, and the children were able to go out into America and try to fulfill the dream that brought them here in the first place. He became active in the Communist party and tried to change the government. Eventually, he found it more effective to get involved in the system and create change from within. Many years later, Mr. Mena has reached this prestigious position at this prestigious university.  Hearing this story and others like it throughout the trip has shown us how great America really is.  In America, there is the potential for someone at the bottom to climb all the way to the top, and like our relatives who immigrated here generations ago, Mr. Mena and his family did just that.

After leaving Harvard University, we remained in Harvard Square for a few hours, exploring the shops and bookstores in the area. We reconvened in the park and we began a discussion series on democracy that we will continue for the rest of the trip.  We discussed the philosophers that shaped modern political thought, as well as the concepts of democracies and republics.  Spencer provided us with extensive background information on our topics, and we split off into smaller groups to analyze it.  We came back together and started the discussion by presenting our information one group at a time.  Later in the trip we will be discussing the specific philosophies as applied to our own beliefs.

Our next stop was Revolution Books in Harvard Square, where we met with two members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, U.S.A.  These men were the most radical of anyone we have met so far, and thus the resulting discussion was intense and thought provoking.  Their platform calls for a people’s revolution against the current government in order to establish a state of true equality for all people, just like all communist rhetoric proclaims, but when closely interrogated by our keen intellects, they revealed that they do not have a clue what it is they actually want to do once the government has been overthrown.  The last month has served us well!

As hard as it is to believe, this trip is almost over.  We’re really getting down to the most serious part now, and everything we’ve learned is starting to come together.  I’m just as excited for this next and last week as I have been for every other day of this trip, and though I can’t wait to see my friends and family, this trip could go on forever as far as I’m concerned.

Today we woke up and had a meeting in the hotel with Nancy Snow, the Chief of Staff for G.O.A.L. (Gun Owners Action League).  She replaced the N.R.A. member that we were unable to meet with.  She told us her story and why she had gotten into guns in the first place.  Afterwards we asked her questions on gun control and about gun safety.  She was a very interesting person to talk to.

While Carlton fixed Big Blue we had a great discussion about government and philosophers.  I’m really proud of how well the group has debates and works together.  The discussion started the day before and will continue until the end.

We then drove to the J.F.K. Library and Museum.  It was a great museum that took us through his life and political involvement.  It was one of my personal favorites.

Today was a very special day for my good friend Eric.  Today Eric because a legal adult, he’s 18. We had a great cake at the museum and then went to one of his favorite childhood food joints, Friendly’s, where he treated us to dinner and ice cream.  It was great and no one knows what is to come.