Next week’s election has been a long time coming, that’s for sure. For more than a year we’ve watched politicians parade past the grandstand of the American voting public. We’ve watched as potential Republican candidates were whittled down to Mitt Romney, as one by one Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum dropped out. Even Donald Trump threw his hat into the ring. There have been accusations of infidelity and document forgery. We’ve learned more than we planned to on binders full of women, horses and bayonets, and what exactly we’ve built. Locally, we’ve seen yard signs planted and counterplanted, TV ads by the boatload and a debate right here on campus. Concordia itself has garnered attention in regional media as the site of debate between students against the marriage amendment and those voicing their religious beliefs, and most recently a stir caused by the recording of Representative Collin Peterson during a campus visit.
These last two have certainly been at the forefront of what we see here in the Concordian office. They have been an exercise in how to report on topics that are politically charged and a challenge to further how we present topics for discussion. Yet through all this we’ve found that students do care about elections and representation. Concordia often rolls its collective eyes at “BREW,” but this election season has proven that this student body is up to this “responsible world engagement” idea. The reactions to both events show that people care about their rights, especially freedom of speech. Students care deeply about what amendments are passed and what the politicians they elect believe. Take a look at your classmates’ Twitter feeds during one of the presidential debates or spend some quality time in the Atrium and you’ll hear it—conversation about issues like the marriage amendment and the energy debate.
The challenge to students—for us—is to turn tweeting, ranting or campaigning into “I VOTED” stickers. You’ve no doubt heard countless treaties for you to go vote, but it’s a sad fact that our age group is always the lowest represented at the polls. Above all others, the right to a choice in our leadership is the cornerstone of the republic. Many students have already voted, but if you haven’t, there’s still time to research the local issues and seats up for election, and find out where the nearest polls will be. For most of you, they’ll be directly on campus.
No matter what, our true character as Cobbers will show in how we respond after the election results are revealed. If things don’t go the way you want, how will you show the respect the winning side also deserves? Whether or not you believe the Mayans were correct, the results of this election will not signify the end of days. The call for civil discourse is just as important in the days following the election as it is in the final heated days before the polls close.