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Opinion

Students fail to care about what matters

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October 2, 2008

I was going to write this column about the $700 billion bailout that was rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 29. I was truly considering it, but then I started wondering why, and I came to the conclusion that many of the students here at UW-River Falls couldn’t care less about any sort of economic deals, packages or stimuli if it means no money in their pockets. Which brings me to my point: even though eligible student voters are playing a large role in this election, few of our wants or needs are being met or considered. Perhaps you are sitting here reading this right now and wondering just what sort of wants or needs I am talking about, and that is my question to you.

What do you want?

When I go about my day-to-day business here on campus I see and talk to a lot of different people. Some of you may know me and some of you may not, but there is almost always a common theme. People in our generation seem to be lost. Maybe it’s just my perception of the way things are, but when I look back to a time like the 1960s I see a strong revolutionary spirit, a sort of unified direction. Granted it wasn’t the direction that everyone wanted, but at least people were thinking – at least they cared. It’s like that black and white photo we have all seen in the University Center of the hippy looking guy sitting alone across from what looks to be North Hall holding up the peace sign. To me he represents a time long past; a time when students believed in their own personal power and left nothing to the powers that be. For this one man to take time out of his busy life to peacefully protest against a war nobody understood was truly monumental. He is not representing just himself, or just a group, but an entire idea – a whole movement dedicated to the idea that peace was possible.

For the past few years there has been a high level of political apathy and today this is changing. Though, there are still too many people who just do not care. Understand this: these upcoming elections have the potential to change a great deal about our country and we as students deserve to have our voices heard – I’m not just talking about voting. Yes, voting is great and important, but it is not the only part of the democratic process which matters. Call up your senators or congressmen. Learn their names and their agendas. Let them know what you think. Hell, write them a letter or e-mail if you don’t feel like talking to them.

Believe it or not, what these people say and do matters to you. It matters to me. It matters to your parents, your friends and all of the future generations after you. As both electoral candidates are saying, a time of change is upon us. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Conservative, a Liberal, a Socialist or an Anarchist. It truly does not matter what you believe. The fact of the matter is that years of political partisanship, apathy and corruption have torn this country apart. Pick up a book, make a sign and say something to somebody.

<b>Zach Hauser</b> is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.