more incoherence (vrwc)
Return to Apathy?
Many students at Lehigh this fall decided, for the first time, to immerse themselves in the electoral process and politics. I found myself discussing politics with tons of new people, many of whom I would have never imagined having a heated debate with. For the most part, I think this is great. I wish this interest would continue long after the president won re-election, but I have a feeling that for the most part it will subside. Let me start by saying that the majority of these students, whose interest I expect to subside, supported John Kerry. How can I say that? Well, firstly liberals outnumber conservatives two to one on thefacebook.com, which is unfortunately our best indicator of campus-wide political affiliation. Let’s assume that most of these people voted for their like-minded candidate. Furthermore, the majority of people in our age demographic supported John Kerry, especially those of us on college campuses. Then there is the empirical evidence – all the wake-like classes we had last Wednesday and Thursday when the teacher and students pouted to each other about the election result (I guess many of you know what I am talking about). Plus most campus activism leading up to the election was of the anti-Bush/pro-Kerry variety.
But what am I getting at, what do I see this evidence suggesting? One answer may be that these kids were greatly influenced by the likes of Michael Moore, Rock the Vote, P. Diddy’s Vote (Kerry) or Die, MoveOn.org and other 527 groups. Groups like Rock the Vote and Vote or Die stressed voting, but didn’t necessarily stress getting involved in political life. There are four years between presidential elections, but there are seven other election days in that timeframe. There’s more to voting than just voting for president, and there’s more to politics and government than just voting. So we have these groups drumming up support for the presidential election only, and front men for these groups who, and I don’t think this is a stretch, wanted Kerry to win. So now naïve young novice voters are coming out to the polls, convinced that it is our patriotic duty as an American to vote and saying that our forefathers died in wars to protect our freedom and now we must exercise that freedom by voting (I’ll come back to this later), and who’s there to meet them when they “seek” out information on who to vote for? Why, its Michael Moore and MoveOn.org. Agreed, there are groups on both sides, I will not dispute this. But I will say that I am working off the premise that most Lehigh students voted Kerry and are more sympathetic to groups like MoveOn and war profiteers like Moore than they are the Swift Boat Veterans.
These groups play off emotion. Michael Moore tries to stir up emotion. Moore doesn’t want people to actually investigate his claims, because when that happens he is exposed as the fraud he knows himself to be. Moore wanted you to vote against President Bush because of emotion. When Bush won re-election, I think a lot of these people said “well, I’m done with politics for the next four years.” Michael Moore and MoveOn.org did very little to improve politics in this country. The voting drives, I think, will prove to do little for politics in America. Worst yet, what we are seeing today are kids that, because they were brought into the process through emotion, are so upset about the result that they are cursing their fellow Americans from the “second-rate” red states, talking about moving to Canada, or saying they are going to stay at their study abroad location for four years. Part of me, of course, says let them go! That’s the beauty of this country. I won’t stop you from leaving, but if you do so, do it quietly. Furthermore, on your way out, realize that your actions are the height of hypocrisy. Realize that even talking about moving out of the country is so hypocritical that it defies explanation. The same people that were telling everyone to vote because our fellow citizens have fought and died to protect their freedoms and rights to vote are now upset with the result the country handed down, and they think its appropriate to joke about leaving the country!? I don’t mean to speak for a single American who has died in defense of this country, but I know I am absolutely ashamed of my fellow citizens who act in this way.
There are thousands of governments in this country. The federal government is just one of those governments. Even in the federal government, the presidency is just one elected office. People need to realize that there are thousands of important seats to fill in our country, and that takes a dedicated and informed electorate. There are more issues out there than the war, other important decisions to be made – Social Security, taxes, North Korea, education, the deficit, and many more. If you get involved, stay involved. You would be surprised to find how little the president does that actually affects your life, especially when up against Congress, your state government, the federal and state bureaucracies, your county, city, and school board. Did Michael Moore let you know this? Of course not. Your best hope was P. Diddy, I guess, but he was too busy planning his massive birthday party last week.
I know you may be thinking that I’m trying to encourage liberals to stay involved, which I am. Strange, I know. I don’t have a problem with a strong “loyal opposition” party, but I do have a problem if these people are talking about leaving the country and demeaning fellow citizens because Kerry lost. I find it hard to take people like this seriously. I want to take you seriously. Most of all, I want people to truly understand how government works, and I want them to appreciate how fortunate they are to live in the United States of America.
Kevin Frost ‘06