If you have yet to see Villanova Theatre’s production of “How I Learned to Drive,” you might want to go do that. It’s not something you want to miss for multiple reasons, one of which is its ability to make audience-members feel comfortable with their discomfort. Without giving away the twist at the end that brings the play full-circle, it is safe to say that you will leave feeling restless and wanting to talk to whoever was sitting next to you about what you saw.
Yet we wonder how many of us will actually muster up the courage to do that, especially on this campus. It is no secret that Villanova is not the most provocative of universities. More often than not, we smile and sometimes even wave at unfamiliar faces, we use our best manners whenever necessary, and we are always sure to cross our Ts and dot our Is. In short, we’re polite. But being really polite in this case usually also means avoiding all hot-button issues like they’re the next plague. We’re non-confrontational, and we like it that way.
But do we have an obligation to ourselves, to the institution that is higher education and to each other to change our ways and confront those topics that need confronting? If the answer is yes, who is going to lead the way? Can we rely on faculty and administrators to draw us out of our shells or is that a responsibility that only we can take on? Our feeling is that all parties must get involved, and take an unspoken pledge to bring uncomfortable issues into the limelight and discuss, discuss, discuss until bringing them up on later dates and in different settings becomes as natural as breathing.
History—both personal and political—has taught us that sweeping things under the rug does no good, but we do it anyway because it’s easy. It allows to maintain our civility and hope that someone else will do the dirty work.
We’re not saying it’s going to be easy, but we are saying it has to happen. We may be fearless on the turf or the court, but can we say we’re the same in the lounges of residence halls, in our classrooms and even in our private conversations when that topic-that-must-not-be-mentioned comes up?