Staff Editorial: Students need to be involved in politics

Biola students need to be intentional about getting involved in politics in a changing world.

Chimes Staff, Writer

With midterm elections less than two months away, the nation is blazing full speed ahead into political mode.

The TV campaign ads are blaring. The campaign fliers are everywhere. The talking heads are debating each other all over the nation.

But at Biola, the discussion is all but silent.

Whatever political affiliation one aligns oneself with, these are fascinating times for our nation, and people should pay close attention. In arenas varying from substance legalization to stem-cell research, the political status quo is being questioned for the first time in years.

But each election presents opportunities for filthy smear campaigns or meaningful, substantial dialogue; for independent thought or political follow-the-leader; and for radical progress, stagnation or regression. The young adults of America, undergrad-aged students, have the ability to steer these discussions. But that can only happen when young people actually vote.

The number of young people who cast ballots in the U.S. is increasing, but still lacking. For the second straight presidential election in 2008, the number of young voters increased — but only to 49 percent of registered voters ages 18-24, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That age group still represents the smallest turnout of any age group in the U.S.

Young adults cannot neglect their responsibilities to vote. Voting drives our republic forward. By neglecting to cast a vote, one silences his or her own valuable voice in the national conversation. We cannot afford to stay quiet in times when key issues such as abortion, legalization of gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana are at stake. Nor can we afford to let policy makers be chosen without our say.

Within our Christian framework, Biola has the perfect platform from which to promote ideals and discussion about the issues of our era. But, without an atmosphere that lends itself to challenging views and dissenting opinions, we’ve undercut that opportunity. We should be promoting a community that fosters these discussions — in class, at the café, in dorm rooms. Discussion reveals the truth behind the emotion and dogma that masks the issues on the docket. Once we can promote discussion, we can take our educated, united front from our campus into the halls of government.

We are not outsiders just because we go to Biola. It is easy to feel unwelcome in a progressive culture that grows more and more anti-religion by the moment. But we are just as American as anybody else, and our vote and our voice weighs just as much. So register to vote. Get your absentee ballot sent to your campus mailbox. Read up on the issues, talk to other students, and make your vote count on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.

We cannot hope to be effective, influential leaders of this nation if we bypass the voting booth.

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