As the United States prepared itself for the 2004 presidential election, I did as well. From the moment I realized that I would be eligible to vote in the 2004 election, I began to tune myself into the issues that concern our country and the rest of the world. Like many young, apathetic students, I felt I never had time for the daily events of the world and our nation. Once my country officially recognized me with the right to vote, I understood that I could no longer hide behind a veil of ignorance.
With knowledge of current events, I find myself at a crossroads. As I witness my country use its military might for both “presidentially-assured, positive” destruction in the Middle East and for selfless aid in the Southeast Asia region, I cannot help but ponder over the hypocrisy of our country’s choices. These are the two faces of American foreign policy.
So, I write here today to ask college students a simple question; something that the citizens of the ’60s did not think twice about. Why is it that in our current time of war, we seem so indifferent to make our youthful opinions known? Do we not care about life beyond our country or our state or our city or our college? Are we satisfied with the policies of our country? In a military quagmire that slowly begins to mirror the Vietnam War, why are we miserably apathetic? Do we need a draft before we begin to strongly protest the Iraq war or how our government is handling its world power? Where is the outrage?
The nation is divided in half between red-staters and blue-staters. Fifty percent of the U.S. wanted change, but in the end more was lost than hours in line at the voting booths. Was that fire for change left at the voting booth? The flame ought to burn brighter than ever. Not even those who pushed for round two of our current administration could possibly be satisfied with the current mess we are in now.
As we continue the process of burying our service men and women, we at home sip Starbucks and listen to our iPods. I ask that you turn off that iPod, put down that PDA and hang up that cell phone. It is not too late to turn on a news broadcast, read the newspaper and search the Internet. It is time to educate ourselves of the current events in this nation and beyond. College is the time to form our own opinions. This country is built upon freedom of speech, religion and press and the right to assemble. Never forget this and never allow anyone to impede upon these unalienable rights. Make your youthful opinions known; peacefully protest, write articles, send letters, create songs, start web blogs. Let your voices be heard; there is always someone who is listening. This is how we make change in America happen.
Sam Rega can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.