In answer to James Carville’s question, “Had enough?” I say, “Yes,” without hesitation. In fact, I say more than “Yes.” I say get up off your butts, Democrats, and let’s change things.
Like many of my fellow students, I went through the usual stages of mourning after the election. I surfed the ‘net for the most controversial bumper sticker I could find, hoping to infuriate the right-wingers with whom I share the road. But then I came to my senses. This is one country, like it or not, and I’ll love it until the day I die. That’s why I’m not making a swift escape to Canada. I’m staying right here to help mend this place I love, and you should, too.
If you don’t start fighting today, you may be seeing George W. Bush and his cohorts in power forever. I know that you’re angry and upset. That’s why I (and James Carville) am calling you to action. Channel that anger into energy. Get involved. Do it now, while the taste of despair is still fresh on your tongue. We can do this.
What’s in it for us? The same thing that’s in it for all Americans. We’re Democrats so that we can sleep at night, to borrow a phrase from my dear friend and co-campaigner, Chris Fisher. We want people to have jobs, better healthcare, better education, more opportunities. We want to be respected, not feared, by the international community. We want a president who can put together a coherent sentence – well, all right, we’ve obviously lost that battle for the next four years. But fortunately, we don’t have to lose everything else. A Congress shake-up is quite possible in 2006, and bringing the issues to people’s attention now is imperative in that fight.
After you listen to friends like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and Michael Moore, listen to Sean Hannity or Joe Scarborough (as long as you can stomach it) and build your reasons of disagreement with them out of concrete blocks. Know the issues. If you can’t have intelligent, civil conversations with uninformed people, you likely won’t get anywhere.
Above all else, realize that politics has a very big influence on your life, whether you spend your days studying for the MCAT or spend them tanning and drinking and doing little else. Our elected officials have a lot of power, so take advantage of having some say in that power.
Stop your whining and join a political group on campus. Protest. Work on a local campaign. Educate yourself, your friends, your family, your professors. Don’t take a seat. If we begin now; if we stop being lazy and start being active, then I promise you that when our generation comes to power it will be the other side who will be whimpering and cowering in the corner. But staying on the couch in your boxers yelling at Bill O’Reilly will only mean more of the same for a long time to come.
Melissa Teich can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.