Your president has spoken, but do you care?
In an effort to jump-start the flagging youth vote, President Barack Obama is rallying college students across the country to get involved in this fall's midterm elections. The Commander-in-Chief held a conference call with student journalists on Monday, warning them that if they didn't get out and vote, the GOP could seriously put their student loans and financial aid at risk over the next two years. (He will also be appearing at the University of Wisconsin later this week to rally young voters.)
That's all fine and good, but what about the LAST two years, Mr. President? You pretty much snagged your electoral votes based on youth and minority turnout at the election booth, but in the time since you've been in office, we only recall ONE initiative involving college students (financial aid and loans) to hit Congress, and then it sat there stalled for months and months.
Yes, we DO think it's important that college students get involved and made their voices heard, but before you jump into action, we suggest you let your local senator or congressman know that if they want you and your friends to vote for them, it's time to address the following:
– If student debt has now suprassed credit card debt in this country, isn't it time that we demanded tuition caps on state schools? If they're accepting money from the government and tax payer dollars, don't college students have a right to reasonably priced education without having to sell off their first-born in the process?
– Why should students pay more to get less? In California there are classroom fuloughs aplenty, yet tuition hikes continue and students are now looking at 5-6 years to complete an overpriced degree instead of four.
– Raising the age of eligibilty of young adults to stay on their parents insurance until the age if 26 is all fine and good, but we don't know too many people that want to get screwed on their tax returns because their parents are still claiming them as a dependent. Is it really so out there to create a health care plan for college students and young adults that's reasonably priced and takes into consideration the needs of people who AREN'T married and popping out kids?
– Unpaid internships for college credit is fine and dandy, but when big corporations are killing REAL entry-level jobs in the hopes of having this freebie workforce take on the brunt of the work, how does this benefit ANYONE but the companies themselves? Sure, that saves them money, but it also devalues their product and takes millions of jobs away from recent college graduates (who currently are experiencing a 20% unemployment rate).
These issues should make you upset. They should make you angry. They should make you so pissed off that you're ready to picket outside of your senator or congressman's office. Yes, DO vote in the primaries. Vote Democrat, vote Republican, vote Indepedent, Log Cabin, Green Party – whatever. Just VOTE. Because frankly, your government has let you down in a big way.
They promised change, and what you got is a nice guy who can rap with Jay-Z and is down with Glee, but has pretty much ignored you since he walked into office. And it's not just Obama — it's EVERYONE is Washington. You have been marginalized and ignored because you lack your own personal lobby group and you don't have gazillions of dollars to throw around.
SHOW them that doesn't matter. SHOW them that you're not so apathetic that you can't organize thousands of your friends across Facebook and beyond. SHOW them that you can be just as loud and annoying as the NRA, EPA, PTA, and the every other A-hole that demands to be heard. Because you have the power, folks. It's just a matter of harnessing it and officially putting our government on blast.