I canceled out your vote for Rand Paul, sir.By PERRY DIXON
Back Page Editor/ The Boy Who Lived
By the time this article has been published, the results of Tuesday’s elections will have already begun to be digested (or vomited back up, at least). It would be a bit misleading to say this Editor is capable of selfassuredly marking the past week as one of the most divisive and offensive campaigns in recent memory, given this Editor’s lack of recent memory. But there are some things that may be spoken towards even with a historically limited participation in politics. For college students not intentionally informing themselves on matters of political concern, the past week has either produced frustration with the constant, obnoxious and factually questionable barrage of campaign ads attacking candidates’ opponents or a general feeling of apathy. Apathy is likely the safest bet. However, those who did vote and did decide to stand for something, regardless of party or affiliation, accomplished something of real worth and value. Failure to vote, though well within the right of all, is unequivocally a failure to participate as a conscientious and contributing American citizen.
The argument that our political system is so flawed that abstention from voting is morally the best option is, in this Editor’s opinion, both ridiculous and disingenuous. Those who own up to apathy can at least claim to be honest. The argument that a single vote does not actually matter because of its irrelevance to overall consequences is also embarrassing for two potential reasons. The first reason is that voting is an action that has worth in itself, regardless of consequences, just as it would be worthy to try and reduce one’s own environmental footprint even if no one else in the world were to do the same. The second reason is that one using this argument is also likely guilty of simply being too lazy to get up and do something. Recognition of these facts about a failure to vote should be individually owned and not necessarily be taken offensively. The fact is that there is something inherently incompatible with a disposition to complain about circumstances and a simultaneous failure to participate in the process of bringing about change.
A couple paragraphs on a political high horse is likely enough for anyone, but the concern for participation in a process to bring about change is immediately relevant to Georgetown College and specifically its current students. For the past seven weeks the Back Page has attempted to address issues that matter. Thus far, though the beer recommendations have receded, issues have been addressed, including the abysmal state of housing, the asinine policies concerning alcohol and curfew, inequality concerning homosexuals, the continued irrelevance of our own SGA and somehow even practical application of Christian teaching. In future weeks, readers can expect to find equally incendiary articles including but not limited to the “diversity (ponderous pause) initiatives,” the elusive and muddy state of the college’s finances, the hope for a higher academic standard, the deception of incoming students, the incident of the curb fixing, the value of a Georgetown degree and many others. The effort put into the writing of such articles, though admittedly consisting of an hour or so on Sunday nights, is in danger of being wasted and largely ignored. It is quite well that The Georgetonian is both relevant and being read, but it is unfortunate that thus far, there has been an absence of any real normative force in the Back Page. More bluntly, it is time that someone stop merely reading the paper, in agreement or disagreement, and actually do something.
The Fogey once referred to our generational tendency to identify issues and then fail to take on the responsibility of productively addressing them; Georgetown’s students are currently guilty until proven innocent. There are students who deserve the formation of a GSA and all students deserve basic treatment as individual adults. There are students who deserve properly functioning housing and facilities before the seemingly arbitrary maintenance of things across campus. There are faculty who deserve better pay and better job security. Students deserve to be informed on the implications of all of the college’s policies and be allowed to actually contribute to the alleged plans for the college’s future. Least of all, this Editor would like to legally have a beer next to him as he writes essays on Kant and Shakespeare. These are only a few things that must change if Georgetown is to progress towards a better future.
It is up to students to first be informed. It is up to students to hold the administration accountable. It is up to friends to not let friends be apathetic and out of touch. It is up to someone, anyone, to be the first one to start a GSA and send articles to the Courier-Journal and Herald- Leader when it is disbanded. It is up to South Campus (cough, calling all Pokemon Players Thick as Thieves, winners of the Pike’s Blue Ribbon, Gentlemen and apparent “Lams,” cough) to throw a peaceful party in the quad that would be impossible to merely write-up and ignore. It is up to students to demand better conditions for the faculty who provide our education. It is up to students to actively affirm the work the grounds crew, maintenance, cleaning staff and food service workers put in towards our everyday well-being. Georgetown’s students have the right to demand change and the administration has an obligation to listen and respond to the concerns raised with substance and not merely dismissive acknowledgement. In the wake of this past week’s elections, let anyone who reads this Back Page consider what it would be like to actually bring about a better state of affairs on campus by ensuring individual rights and freedoms. We all must actively pursue tangible goals, and not let simple identification of the issues become enough.
disclaimer: the contents of the back page are not necessarily true