Rally against political inactivism

Posted by Talor Dafoe

With election season well underway and November 2nd looming, I can't help but notice the inexplicable lack of political activity on campus. Everywhere you look, you see campaign literature being passed out, signs being put up, ads being published – that is, everywhere but Skidmore. We as a campus are disgracefully unenthusiastic about all things government.

Colleges are traditionally political hotspots, acting as vehicles for sophisticated discourse and breeding the most devoted of supporters. We find ourselves a gross exception to this rule, a rather disappointing break in this standard of activism and passion, despite the fact that we are in the middle of one of the most important midterm elections of many of our adult lives.

I'm not trying to rant about the lack of voter turnout; that argument is stale and there are people much more qualified to discuss it than me. No, I'm talking about our campus and our general shortage of meaningful political interest. Enthusiasm couldn't be more sparse.

Even in school elections, contests that couldn't be closer to our personal agendas, interest is pathetic. Few even know when Election Day on campus is, let alone who's running. It's as if political spirit is some sort of obligatory campus job rather than an opportunity.

Here in our state, as the gubernatorial race rages, and district elections are being fought out right under our careless, ignorant noses, we find ourselves struggling to keep up with the rest of the country. We are all too ready to embrace the shelter of the school, purposely putting ourselves in the bubble we so often refer to, ignoring the outside world and the political activism thriving in it.

And don't try to tell me that this race isn't as important as contests of the past, that the campus spent all its energy two years ago on the polemic presidential election. That argument simply has no merit. There is always something at stake, even if it's merely a small battle for governor between candidates that half the country hasn't even heard of. It's important to maintain, through voting – through voice – the same ideals we practice daily. It's crucial that we exercise our ability to think and act politically, if only to ensure its sustenance and livelihood.

We need to contextualize the things we're taught in our government classes; we need to form educated opinions about things other than our philosophy teachers' lectures and the food of the dining hall and, most importantly, we need to care.

I'm not saying we should turn our school into Kent State, circa 1970. And I'm certainly not advocating that we push it to be something it's not. I'm simply suggesting that we start to care: care about that horrible thing we so rarely talk about – the "real world"; care about the people who are leading our school, our district, our state and even our country; and care, frankly about our ability to care, our ability to form opinions and make them heard. That's probably the reason why you're in college anyway.

Taylor Dafoe is an undecided sophomore from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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