Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, April 02, 2007

Kent State or Bust

Ami Veneziano had another rant published in the Daily Evergreen today:
So much to think about, more to do

Veneziano says that despite all of the nation’s problems, apathy still plagues her generation’s willingness to help.

As I look across the nation, as I see people going about their business, students cramming for exams, seasons changing and life happening, I keep wondering where our outrage is.

Things are happening in the world today. People are dying from a variety of causes that can be fixed.

Wars without justification are being waged, while corporations, led by zealous lobbyists and money managers, are taking over our government. Racial tensions are again looming as minutemen gather on our borders – as well as on our own campus with demonstrations by the College Republicans – and the world is facing an environmental crisis of an unimaginable magnitude. A bumper sticker I’ve seen lately states, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” It seems that most of the nation has stopped listening. Even those in the slim minority who still approve of the Bush administration can see this world is hurting. Ignoring the problems, whatever you perceive them to be, just isn’t working.

Yet so many of us, especially in this generation, are unaware of all that is happening. We “20-somethings” complain about the price of gas, but don’t even try to think of a solution. Students on this very campus complain about the skyrocketing costs of tuition and increasing fees for various campus amenities. But they don’t recognize that by deciding not to vote last November, they sent a clear message to those who make the decisions: “We don’t care.” Many of my peers would rather hole up and ignore the rest of the world and focus on having fun, than realize the real problems we face.

I don’t understand why our generation doesn’t care.

Take a look at our history. America started as a nation of people so concerned about corruption and government problems that they left their homelands in search of a better way. Civic engagement and information were so important that the First Amendment to our Constitution directly deals with these rights in no uncertain terms.

It’s ironic that today few people care, yet we have more tools available than any generation before us. We can e-mail our government representatives at any time, day or night, and not have to search for a stamp. It’s absurdly easy to become involved and make a statement, if not a difference.

But we have become a nation of people too lazy to stop watching “American Idol” long enough to cast a vote in elections that matter.

When I look back on the past century, I see people who cared and worked hard to make a difference. Many previous generations were willing to do whatever it took for this country. From women’s suffrage, and an end to state-sanctioned discrimination, to protests over illegal wars and the impeachment of a corrupt president, earlier generations did their best to influence the direction of this country.

But I am still wondering what my generation will contribute. There are people out there trying to make a difference. Whether it’s through campus political groups on either side of the line, or secular and religious groups focused on helping everyone, there are people trying to make changes. The problem is, the number of members involved from our generation is small.

Too many of us are sitting around, complaining, unwilling to do anything about the nation’s problems. Too many of us would rather take the easy, uninformed road rather than deal with everything. There are lots of excuses for that, but no good reasons.

My father once told me, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” I’ve got to wonder how much longer our generation will be a problem.
In the interest of full disclsoure and transparency (since the Evergreen won't disclose anything and refuses to be transparent,) Veneziano is the treasurer for the WSU Young Democrats. More than anything else, her column should be viewed as recruiting propaganda for the YDs.

But I do have a simple answer to her question.

A Spring 2006 Harvard Institute of Politics survey found that 57 percent of college students say they are liberal or lean liberal, compared to 31 percent who are conservative or lean conservative.

That puts the majority of WSU students' political beliefs in line with their professors, the Washington State Legislature, the Governor of Washington, the U.S. Senators from Washington, the U.S. Congress, Hollywood, and the media.

Generally speaking, when you protest something, you represent a minority opinion. Otherwise, why bother? There is no "making a difference" when everything is already going your way. Might as well watch "American Idol." It's not laziness, it's support of the status quo.

Personally, I keep wondering where the outrage is over a dozen or so blowhards being able to hold up 400 new jobs and a million dollars a year in tax revenue for Pullman. That's a heck of a lot more lot more local than the Iraq War or New Orleans. You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one....

Let's look at some of the issues Ms. Veneziano mentions:

War - The liberal media has successfully destroyed any remaining vestiges of patriotism that were created following September 11. Polls show Americans ready to bail out of Iraq and the Democratic-led Congress is already picking out the right shade of white for the flag. A majority of Americans also feel that a Democrat will win the White House next year, and a President Clinton or President Obama will get out of Iraq very quickly, no matter how many bodies we have to stumble over to do it. No one is interested in how to win or fixing mistakes that have been made any longer. Why bother protesting?

Corporations - Even the "greedy bastards" of corporate America have been infected with political correctness. In the past year or so, we've seen Wal-Mart, the Great Satan of Capitalism, go green, start selling organic food, have Al Gore host a screening of "An Inconvenient Truth" in Bentonville, support gay rights, and advocate for both a higher minimum wage and universal health care. Don't worry though, the valiant dons of PARD will protect Pullman from the ravages of free enterprise.

Racial Tensions - Race relations are not perfect and there is always room for improvement. But the states of Maryland and Virginia just both apologized for slavery even though the last person to own slaves died about a century ago. And there is a realistic chance of an American of African descent to become President next year.

Immigration - Nothing for the liberals to worry about here. The border is still wide open, with free medical care and education to all who manage to make it across.

Global Warming - The media and Hollywood have gotten a majority of Americans to buy into the hysteria, from little school children all the way up. The public is primed for all sorts of extremist taxation and social engineering from the radical environmentalists.

Gas Prices - Let's not forget who has raised the Washington gas tax THREE times in the last few years to give us one of the highest gas taxes in the country AND opposed citizen efforts to repeal the latest gas tax increases. That's right, Ms. Veneziano's Democrats.

Tuition and Fees - Again remember what party has been in control in Olympia for the past two decades. It was REPUBLICAN State Senator Mark Schoesler that tried this year to cap tutition increases.

So, it is the liberal Democrats that are part of the problem, but liberal students don't get involved because as far as they are concerned, they are already part of the solution.

Why not give the College Republicans props for at least not being apathetic, whether Venenziano agrees with their viewpoint or not? They are a minority group fighting for their rights and the causes they care about. And for their efforts, they have been given a raft of s#!t.

Instead, she lumps them in with "greedy corporations." Clearly, Veneziano is not interested in student apathy as much as she is in student conformity. In her mind, all students must practice the ritualistic selective outrages of the Church of Political Correctness as she does or else be labeled "apathetic." I guess she won't be happy until the liberal hegemony is complete and there is no dissent or opposing viewpoints.

Our young Generation X and Y liberals seem to long for the heady days of Kent State, when a whiff of tear gas was in the air on campus. They judge everything through the psychedelic hues of the Sixties, known only to them through VH-1 and professorial flashbacks of glory days. They forget that it was self-interest, not altruism that motivated many anti-war protesters back then. In 1970, there was a very real chance that a young man who flunked out of school would end up in Vietnam. Today, with no draft, there is only geriatric posturing from Jane Fonda and Company.

The bottom line is that liberals are uncomfortable being in power. And nothing's more unseemly than a poor winner.

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