Sep 23, 2008

From the Desk

by Jennifer Schmidt

So rumor has it—and has been confirmed —that school will officially be out of session on Nov. 4.

Whether I agree with the reasoning behind such a decision or not, as a student I can appreciate the chance to sleep in. But in light of a broader perspective I do not think it is a good decision. I wonder if students are so lax towards their voting privileges that they have to be bribed and bused to take advantage of a freedom that others have died to protect.

I appreciate Liberty’s efforts to motivate young voters, but it is doing all but walking into the voting booth with us. Some students who associate themselves with the Democratic party would even say that Liberty is telling us how to vote. There is an intense focus on “republicanism” that can be stifling to alternative ideas and prevents any real dialogue about issues.

Regardless of a student’s personal sentiments, the main problem is that many students at Liberty remain indifferent towards voting. Let me clarify – students tend to be apathetic about anything that does not directly affect their own lives or personal comfort. I find it incredibly sobering that an official party day has been declared to provide students with time and hopefully more motivation to vote. One friend commented that her dad has to use his lunch break to go cast his vote on election day.

Cancelling classes only addresses a symptom and not the underlying problem. One would hope that students could spare 30-40 minutes in between intramural sports and sessions at Tan State to cast their votes. The reality is that voting is not the priority that it should be to students. At the end of the day the sentiments of most students will not have changed. There will be some that watch the news coverage or observe the tallied votes as they come in, yet the majority of students will remain comatose, clicking away on Facebook chat and watching reruns of The Hills.

I wish there was an easy explanation for such apathy, but there is neither an easy answer nor an obvious solution. The danger is that the same attitude will slowly seep into other aspects of students’ lives – the apathetic citizen is all too often an apathetic Christian as well. When an individual begins to ignore responsibilities, it is often due to a lack of understanding or a result of not prioritizing properly.

I also fear that the message Liberty is projecting with this decision is conflicted. Students should be encouraged to exercise their rights as American citizens, but not to the point of rewarding them for doing so. Voting is a right that students should inherently value and celebrate. By offering concerts and a vacation from school, Liberty in essence is stating that voting is not something we can expect college students to do without external motivation. The hidden implication is that voting is a burden, and they will help alleviate it however possible.  

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