All that remains is silence. The once deafening cries for change have become a mere whimper and the amorous lust for the light of truth has retreated into the shadows. The college campus was once an icon in this country, an emblem of all that is great about America. Yet here we rest, hidden under youth’s expulsion from responsibility in the shadows and silence of complacency.
We watch from the sidelines as President Bush’s entourage descends the stairs of Washington in defeat-Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales. We point red and blue fingers of accountability and hostility across the aisles of our government and look for someone to blame. We close our eyes and see that our America, a once ubiquitous symbol of possibility and hope, now sits in a seemingly insurmountable hole of debt and dejection.
The youth of America has turned inwards. We brush off politics as boring, close our books and our eyes and drown ourselves in alcohol to escape the truth: We are losing our country. It is a truth and a struggle common to every generation of Americans, as if we each must secure the grip on our nation in our own time. As Tim Russert quoted his friend Tom Brokaw at last week’s Fall Convocation, “Every generation will be challenged to be the greatest generation”.
So here we are-a generation too soon removed from adolescence in the early hours of a September morning, the world stacked against us from the start. We can turn and hide in the finger pointing of the past, but that cannot be our vehicle into the future. We, the next generation of America, are now responsible for restoring our nation. This is our war, our defining fight of courage waged against a threat to what we hold dear.
Most will read these words and roll their eyes at what they think is political rhetoric. But this isn’t politics anymore. The time for blame is over and the time for action is here. As a generation, a university and a people we cannot afford to stand quiet any longer. When Tim Russert, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama come to speak on our campus it is not about big names and autographs; it is about what it will mean to be an American in the future. In a world of broken justice and hidden opportunity we have been blessed with the
gift of ability.
Together, it is our choice. Together we must once again raise up the college campus to meet the eyes of our country’s challenges. Vote. Write. Scream. Protest. This is the most important moment in our lives because in this moment we can change the world in our own small way. Hope begins here-outside of the shadows and the silence.
Corey Ciorciari is a junior majoring in creative writing, international studies and economics. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.