By: STEPHEN M. SALISBURY
Well, those pesky midterm elections are over. Thankfully, we’ll get a break from all of those negative campaign ads for a while. We can all go back to our normal lives and not have to worry about politics again for another two years at least.
WRONG! In case you didn’t notice, the speculating about 2020 started long before any of last night’s election results became official. The race for the White House has been percolating for several months now and you should not be surprised to start seeing candidates announcing their intentions to run any time in the next couple of weeks.
Usually the politicking settles into a low rumble during the holiday season, but you can be sure that come January, things are going to start getting interesting. I know when I write these columns that often times I discuss things that maybe students don’t really care that much about, but of all the things students should be paying attention to, it is their government and who is running it. You are the ones who will be most directly impacted by the choices our politicians are making on a day-to-day basis.
The sad thing is that most politicians bank on the fact that you don’t care. They don’t expect you to show up at the polls. They don’t expect you to get actively involved in campaigning. They expect you to be apathetic. Doesn’t that just piss you off? Are you really going to sit idly by and let a bunch of old white men primarily make the decisions that will affect the world that you have to live in for the next 50 or 60 years? I am one of those old white men, and even I hope that is not the case.
I know whenever many of us hear that the end of the world is just around the corner, we laugh it off and say, “Yeah right, haven’t they been saying that for years?” While I would tend to agree, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produces a report with 6,000 references in it stating that we have about 12 years to make adjustments in how we handle the effects of climate change or we could begin to see catastrophic repercussions even more dramatic then we are already experiencing, we may want to pay attention. How many of us have struggled to produce a paper with 10 references in it, let alone 6,000! I’m thinking these people may be on to something here.
The reason I bring this up is because, the people we elected to office yesterday, are the people who will have a direct impact on the choices our governments make when it comes to responding to climate change or any other issue about which you may be passionate. I have a three year old son. I’d love to see him grow up past 15 years old in a world that is inhabitable
If my elected officials are ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence that suggests irreversible change in the next decade and a half, you can be darn sure I’m going to expect them to listen when I raise my concerns! Politicians respond to voters and donors. While I might not have a lot of money to throw at them, my vote will ring a very loud bell in the halls of government for many years to come.
If your party or your candidate had a bad day yesterday, don’t just give up. People’s lives are at stake. We have to continue to engage our leaders. We come to college to be better informed citizens. We should use the knowledge we are gaining to fight for ourselves and our children. Enjoy the day off, but tomorrow, let’s get back to work people!