As this is my first column, I suppose it would be best to introduce myself to you, my readers. I am a senior political science and history double major. I work at the ASUCD Coffee House as a Cashier Supervisor and I am a brother of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. This summer I worked as a Congressional intern in Washington, D.C. I love dogs, chocolate, and the History Channel. The Nintendo Wii sent me to the emergency room once. I am a quarter Nicaraguan and three-quarters random European and my favorite color used to be green, changed to blue, and is now somewhere in the blue-green range. Great. Now that we are acquainted, we can move forward.
I have two goals for this column. First, to entertain; perhaps to give you some quality reading material for when you are enjoying one of those delicious chocolate chip scones at the Coho, or to help you endure some of your less riveting lectures. Secondly, to inform; together, we will navigate the maelstrom of uncertainty shrouding the present using the past as a sterling compass to enlightenment. Now, what exactly do I mean by this?
Engraved on a Romanesque marble statue near the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. are the words “The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.“ Besides giving me the ultimate retort to the often-asked question of what exactly I plan to do with my history degree, these words struck a meaningful chord within that inspired me to write this column. The world we know today is inherited from the past and determines all of our wants, our dreams, and our prospects for tomorrow. Every action, every thought; every accomplishment and every failure we have made, continue to make, and will make in the future are part of a dynamic human saga; whether this epic story continues or comes to a tragic end rests in our ability to respond to current challenges.
Our generation came of age at a tumultuous time for the world. Our first cognizant presidential election was soiled by a controversy that foreshadowed the presidency it produced. We witnessed an unprecedented attack at home that sparked two costly wars abroad, watched the rich get richer while the poor got poorer and most recently saw our economic system‘s foundation crumble. We endured a regime that seemed to care little about scientific fact or what the common person felt; thus, we turned our backs to the world. With the advent of the Information Age we should have been the most well-informed generation in history, but we found apathy more attractive. Who could blame us? The man who was supposed to represent the best our nation had to offer turned out to be the most divisive political character in the history of the presidency.
The upcoming presidential election represents the first time many of our voices will be heard. But being 18 and watching SNL parodies of Sarah Palin is not enough; you need to register to vote by Monday, Oct. 20 in order to participate. In proper Joe Biden fashion, I will repeat that. Oct. 20. Less than a week from today, if you fail to register, your voice will be effectively silenced for the next four years. The stakes are too high for anyone to pass up this opportunity; our democracy’s survival depends on your participation.
As children we were told that we would one day assume the reins of power and whether we like it or not, this time has arrived. The franchise is our inheritance and allows us to engage in constructive debate, to hold our elected leaders accountable, and to create a medium for positive change. Will we accept this responsibility and rejuvenate our democracy? Or will we turn up the volume on our iPods and drown it out? Take a moment to ask yourself what matters most; your afflictions, your hopes, your dreams. Ultimately, it is the sum of all our wants, our needs, and our ideas engaged in a constant state of debate and compromise that makes our democracy great. Never forget that.
Michael Hower really thinks you should register to vote by Oct. 20 unless you are a freshman with a late birthday, in which case he is sorry for building you up only to tear you down. If you have any comments or questions on how to register please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.