“I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.”
-Cameron in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
With the semiannual inflation in coursework, life moving much faster than Ferris had warned, “Frankenstorm” causing added fear and loathing, and the impending Nibiru cataclysm, it may seem difficult to focus on the presidential election.
Despite being bombarded by over $1.5 billion in combined campaign funds, many college students are either still on the fence, or mostly apathetic, to the decision that will determine the leader of our country and the path it takes. How can one be expected to care about who control the U.S.A.’s legislative agenda and foreign policy in Libya and Yemen when it’s football season?
As bad as all this sounds, perhaps it is the absurdity of politicking that keeps people away. The current election is perhaps the first that many students have paid any attention to, and it has certainly had its bizarre goings-ons.
Mitt Romney has certainly had his share: talking about corporations being people, “binders full of women,” the dog incident, Mormonism, 47 percent, “The Romney Olympics,” etc. Joe Biden’s moment in the spotlight, during the vice presidential debate, made him seem like a cantankerous senior citizen. Across from him was Paul Ryan, whose obsession with Ayn Rand and P90X seems to be only outdone by his penchant for lying.
Even the president, undeniably cool in the pantheon of POTUSes, has had his missteps: “you didn’t build that,” the
first presidential debate, small towns in Pennsylvania “cling [ing]to guns or religion,” the seemingly disconnected motive of Jay-Z’s fundraiser.
This is just a sample size of the political brouhaha that the media promulgate, instead of the real problems people should care about. Combine all this with the habitual mudslinging, flip-flopping, ambiguous policies, the carousel of blowhard analysts and the never-ending quarrels over social issues, and it is no wonder people are unenthusiastic and uninterested.
However, despite all the muck and mire, you should care about this election. There are huge issues at stake, issues that will certainly affect you and the people you care about, issues like: abortion, women’s rights, health care, gay marriage, war, immigration, guns, the economy, education and so and so forth.
The victors write the history and the society you live in will change, for better or for worse, regardless of if you choose to participate.
We should be seeking a reflective equilibrium on issues, as John Rawls stated that “those who suppose their judgments are always consistent are unreflective and dogmatic; not uncommonly they are ideologues and zealots.”
I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, just to be an active participant in your own rescue. Your vote allows you that opportunity.
As my favorite president, Teddy Roosevelt, said, in his “man in the arena speech,” he “who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”