Students need to be more politically active

The Beacon editorial staff

In the past few weeks, Wilkes has seen two former Congressmen and four congressional candidates participate in debates for districts representing this very region.
However, with the exception of a couple students who had class when the two former congressmen visited, there were few students at the congressional debates and at the forum with the former congressmen.
These, combined with limited vocalization from students on political issues, have led us to come to the conclusion that Wilkes students do not participate in politics.
The Beacon believes students should take an active role in politics as the issues the candidates are talking about in their campaigns have an impact on them. Take, for example, the following:

•Health care. Will students still be covered under their parents’ insurance until age 26 under “Obama care”?

•Jobs. Will students be able to find them after college?

•Immigration. Will those students here illegally be able to stay or be deported?

According to an article in The Michigan Daily entitled “Students demonstrate political support for upcoming 2012 presidential election,” students play a pivotal role in shaping politics through both voting and actively participating in elections, and that student involvement will continue to be important in the upcoming  2012 presidential election.
The article explains that students are valuable as presidential campaign volunteers because they have the time, energy and will work for free. The article also said politicians often will look toward college campuses for volunteers and voters because students are already in a central location and are often organized according to political beliefs.
The Beacon staff believes all Wilkes students have political beliefs, and if not, then they have beliefs about something.
We think students shouldn’t be shy about expressing their beliefs on a particular topic during this national election season. After all, it is the basic right of all citizens to address the federal government about issues they are passionate about; students should readily take advantage of this freedom.
The Beacon staff does not understand why Wilkes students don’t actively participate in politics on campus, especially when one of the ways policies get passed is by people actively addressing the president or members of Congress.
On a campus level, the College Republicans have done some activities on campus for all students, including the highly-attended presidential debate watch party, which was very successful. The College Democrats don’t appear to be active as a group on campus.
There doesn’t appear to be anyone from either group actively rallying for Republican or Democratic candidates running for office in November. Because these groups are highly influential in informing students and getting them to vote, The Beacon believes these groups need to be more visible on campus.

The Beacon thinks campus political groups, or students in general, should take the time to get campaign literature for current candidates from campaign headquarters, some of which are located downtown within walking distance of campus, and spread it around campus. That way students will be more likely to cast a vote this November.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, 46 million people ages 18-29 are eligible to vote and make up 21 percent of the voting population in the U.S.
They point out that the percentage of 18 to 29 year-olds that voted in the 2008 election was 48.5 percent and 67 percent for citizens 25 and older and 30 and older.
CIRCLE points out that students who are contacted by an organization or campaign are more likely to vote and those who discuss an election are more likely to vote in it.
They also say one of the most effective ways of getting new voters to cast a ballot is by personalizing and interactive contact with these voters.
This means students shouldn’t hesitate to get campaign literature from current candidates running for national and local office and spread it across campus.
The Beacon praises organizations such as The League of Women Voters, which has had members give out voter registration ballots on campus, and Student Development, which sponsored events like Rock the Vote to get students registered to vote.
This action is likely to spur students to vote in upcoming elections.
Regardless of your political affiliation, The Beacon staff encourages students to take available of these resources and make your voice be heard by voting. Your vote really does count.