Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 2, chapter 7
Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.
Standing on a soapbox before the heaving throng, Rae had been exultant. It was a brutally hot afternoon, and her tank top and hair were wet with sweat, but she was buoyed up by a fierce, invincible feeling of confidence. It felt as if the crowd’s energy was funneling into her, like the gathered strength of a thunderstorm bursting forth to strike a single point.
“Public education is the greatest equalizer we have left!” she called. “It’s the best ladder out of poverty there’s ever been. It’s the way to improve yourself no matter who you are or where you come from. And now they’re trying to take that away too!”
The crowd roared its approval.
“We believe in equality of opportunity!” she shouted, hitting her stride. “Meritocracy, not aristocracy! An equal chance for everyone. You don’t have to be rich to get in. You don’t have to have connections. You just have to prove you can do the work. Do we want to be like the private colleges, where you have to be old money just to walk through the gate?”
A roar of answer, from a thousand voices:
“Do we want admission restricted to people whose families can endow a building?”
“Are we going to let them sell this place off?”