Political interest should not end because finals are over
As you drown yourself in coffee and tears for the next week, we wish all of you good luck during the final week of the semester.
These past few months have been exciting and distracting with the national and state election, as politicians, special interest groups and professors tried to scare us with what will happen if we did not vote for this or that.
Finally, once you complete that project, presentation or finish that exam, you are free to go celebrate the holidays or whatever you plan to do during your monthlong break.
However, that does not mean things are “back to normal.” The year is coming to a close during a tumultuous and unpredictable time in our nation and world.
And while the universe most likely will not end, there is still much to be concerned about. We might fall off a cliff – fiscally speaking, that is – and dip back into another recession.
Just because Proposition 30 passed does not mean that education is safe and sound; the CSU board of trustees may not be planning to increase tuition next semester, but that does not mean fees will not go up again for 2013-14, or in the years to come. This is the first time since 2006 that our fees are not going up.
Many students exercised their political power and advocated for education this semester through voting, writing letters and attending board of trustees meetings.
Some of these students might have engaged for the first time, while others were seasoned student activists taking charge of political organizing efforts. More 18 to 29-year-olds voted in 2012 than in 2008, which is worth noting since the youth vote has been historically low.
There are mainly two kinds of people; those who see what they view as an injustice and act on it and others who may or may not see an injustice, but do not do anything about it.
People who advocate on behalf of a cause are generally considered to be activists, and while there are certainly those who dedicate their lives to certain causes or to community organizing, there is no reason why the average young person should not consider themselves part of the political process.
Whether you are concerned for the betterment of society or primarily for the betterment of yourself and your family and friends, both are respectable motivations to pay attention to the world around you and participate in it.
The new generation of voters had a big part in the increased diversity of our government. House Democrats became the first major-party caucus that is not a majority of white men: there are now 58 women, 43 blacks, 27 Latinos and 10 Asian-Americans.
Congress has the highest number of women and LGBT members yet, as well as people of eastern faiths, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.
New Hampshire became the first state to elect an all-woman house and senate delegation and governor. Maryland and Maine became the first states to legalize gay marriage through popular vote. Colorado and Washington legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana.
Young people today have more power than any generation prior because we have so much information and methods of communication at our fingertips. A few minutes on the Internet can result in dozens of pages of information that would be much harder to find just 10 years ago. Yet, this new medium for the public sphere has also made us less patient and privy to expecting instant gratification.
The political process is not meant to entertain you. Analyzing your own budget, let alone how the state budget could affect you, can be quite boring. Making your way through political jargon is a headache and not many would be excited to spend their afternoon reading the text of a bill.
But it is more important than ever to keep yourself educated, interested and involved in public life. The next election may not be for another four years, but the next board of trustees meeting is in January. They may vote on the three fee increases they proposed in November, or they may not, but either way their decisions will impact your education and your wallet.
Keep showing the board of trustees that you do care about your education and your life and go to the board’s next meetings Jan. 22 and 23.
The semester is almost over, but don’t sigh relief yet, put your education to use because you still have (hopefully) 60 more years to live.