Welcome to 2016! For people in my class this is a wonderful year of jubilation, thesis writing, capstones, and seminars.
As we come to the end of this year it would seem as though commencement is really just about the only important thing besides figuring out what to do next.
Oh, and moving, and paying back student loans, and confronting the realities that the “real world” bring. Other than that this year should be smooth sailing!
It’s time for us to prove what we mean when we say that we help Gusties become “engaged citizens.”
Oh yeah, this whole election thing is going on as well. It’s time for us to prove what we mean when we say that we help Gusties become “engaged citizens.” However, for many of us this is not as easy as it may seem.
I remember the last time this whole election cycle came around. I was a young bright-eyed 18-year-old first-year.
I believed in Obama’s slogan of change and progress, so the decision was pretty easy to me. Now I yearn for those easy days when it was between voting for the incumbent Obama or the mysterious Mitt Romney.
College changes you though and I wouldn’t have known how large of an impact on my political ideologies that this place has had on me.
I, like many of my peers, was a confident liberal. Completely sold on the ideals of one party and holding very little tolerance (and no small amount of contempt) for those who had yet to see the light.
Now, after four years, I have gained a sense of temperance and a measure of apathy about politics. I no longer place large amounts of belief in the ability of a political ideology, party, or candidate.
I do like the direction that America is slowly moving toward under Obama, but I have been discouraged by the political gridlock in Washington that he has admitted to contributing to in the past 8 years.
So where does someone like me turn towards during trying times such as these? As both Republicans and Democrats become increasingly polarizing in order to appeal to voters to the far left and far right I have little hope for the establishments of either party.
I am an undecided voter, one that every politician hopes to woo and add to the swelling, or diminishing, ranks of their side. There seems to be a stigma around being undecided both here at Gustavus and amongst the larger American populace.
Undecided does not mean disengaged, which seems to be the popular connotation. Instead, many undecided voters are very engaged.
While you may not see them at rallies, door knocking, or making phone calls these are still the people who are having the coffee shop conversations, answering their phones, and reading the news.
I personally check Politico daily, CNN several times a day, read the Star Tribune, and follow caucus and primary results and I know that I am not alone.
Unfortunately not all people who are undecided are in that boat. On the same note, many people who are already decided are similarly disengaged.
Undecided does not mean disengaged, which seems to be the popular connotation.
The person who brushes off the question “who are you voting for?” with a hasty answer of Hillary or Rubio can be just as ill-informed as the person who avoids the conversation all together.
I would urge everyone, decided, undecided, or fed-up to take the time to learn. Hey, I’m writing (or trying to write) my thesis this semester and believe me, it serves as great procrastination material that few professors will be likely to challenge you on.
I realize that the message of “your vote matters” does little to encourage engagement, but I am saying that your knowledge matters. What you have to offer the conversation matters and I would hope to have a conversation with an informed peer.
As for me, don’t worry. I’ll vote for someone, but I will wait to decide until I have the necessary information. One thing that is for certain is that I will be campaigning for Kanye in 2020, so you’ll hear from me again then.