It is easy to jump on a bandwagon that is already going full speed, but right now the Democratic Party is struggling through a mud patch. It needs people out on the ground pushing. The Republican Party, capitalizing on this country’s economic frustrations, has gained a tremendous amount of support and sympathy. Loud, enthusiastic leaders have done a good job of gathering right-wing momentum. It’s up to every one of us to balance out that momentum.
As college students, we are busy. I certainly understand that. Between class, work and college activities, it can feel as though spending any amount of time on things that are not necessary will set us back. But finding a political consciousness is not something we can sacrifice in the name of personal gains. Caring about politics right now is absolutely necessary. If people on the moderate-to-liberal end of the political spectrum don’t wake up and start fighting for what they know is true, economically and socially conservative candidates around the country will ride the Republican momentum to easy victories, and we all will have to deal with what that means for our country.
The Republican Party has won over many American people with their claim that Americans will be better off economically with Republicans in power. What that means is that middle-class Americans will get to hold on to their money while low-income families will be pushed further to the margins in a system that does not allow them to succeed. If you believe in reducing inequality, stand up to the Republican Party.
Republicans have helped nurture a growing anger surrounding Obama’s healthcare bill that was passed last year. They claim that if healthcare is universal, it will be slower. This is likely true. The healthcare system will be more crowded because more people will be having their basic health needs met. A side effect of this is that people who already had healthcare might have to wait a little longer.
This comes down to whether you believe rich people should get superior service at the expense of the less fortunate in our society. If you believe all people have a right to basic healthcare, stand up to the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has a long history of opposing the placement of environmental restrictions on business in the interest of promoting free markets. If you believe putting a stop to environmental degradation is important, stand up to the Republican Party. Last week, a defense bill came before the senate that could have ended the military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. It was voted down by Republicans. If you believe that denying a person’s rights because of his or her sexual orientation is wrong, stand up to the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has a lot of momentum right now, but liberals and progressives can match and surpass that momentum. The Democratic Party had plenty of vocal supporters on campus back during the 2008 presidential elections.
It was easy to be on board then because Barack Obama and the Democratic Party already had momentum. Now, the apathetic response from Democrats to growing Republican enthusiasm prompted Obama to go to Wisconsin last week to rally students there, and around the country, to start caring. Obama is right. The Democratic Party needs young people like us to be enthusiastic, to be vocal and to create momentum. Now is not the time for political apathy. Evaluate the issues on the political scene and take a stand for what you believe in.
Ayah Kamel is a senior Political Science and Global Studies major from Fargo. She has been verbally spouting opinions since she could talk and is happy to be able to write them down as a member of The Concordian’s opinion staff. Although Ayah does not yet know what the future holds for her, she has latent dreams of becoming the next Nicholas Kristof.