Letter to the editor: Engagement in politics necessary for America’s sake

(Erica Lowenkron/Daily Collegian)
(Erica Lowenkron/Daily Collegian)

I feel no shame at all in contributing a political article. We are, after all, embroiled in a compelling political moment. To shy away might be less painful, less time-consuming, but it is certainly the more shameful option.

In an opinion piece printed in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian’s March 8 issue, “Keep your political posts off of Facebook,” a writer bemoaned the “disturbing phenomenon” of his friends posting their opinions (often positive, to his chagrin) of a current candidate on social media, who he categorizes as “authoritarian” and “wrongheaded,” with “outdated” ideology.

Does the writer qualify a single one of these assertions? Don’t hold your breath. He humorously reveals this candidate to be none other than the Democrat Bernie Sanders. Get it? The media and college students and liberals all call Trump the authoritarian idiot, get it?

The writer goes on to explain that the real source of frustration – as if it wasn’t abundantly clear what the actual, true source was, which he won’t say outright – isn’t Sanders and his politics, but rather people urging others through social media to go out and vote, more often than not for Sanders.

Now, forgetting the outright silliness of someone being so upset that those around him actually have taken their first feeble steps into the political arena that he had to write a hit piece on those he imagined wouldn’t respond, what’s more disturbing is that he and his article are so essentially representative of a culture that feels threatened by critical thinking on any level. Yes, even the infant rumblings of a newfound interest in politics.

When you read an article whose raison d’être is summed up as “Please, can we all stop talking about the revolution? Stop looking behind the curtain!” then you, as a student and an informed citizen – if you style yourself so – have a moral imperative to yourself to read further into that which people are begging you not to see.

The culture of anti­intellectualism (on a university campus, no less) finds itself in a singular quote from the article: “No one has any right to tell anyone else how to vote. In fact, no one has the right to tell anyone to vote at all.” The powers that be would like that, wouldn’t they?

Actually, I think you will find with the remarkably smallest amount of research (such as reading your own article, for instance, which is itself an attempt to shape the political discourse, or asking a single person what our country’s First Amendment says) that that is not true.

Our country would be better off if every single student read their school paper and found in it articles that encouraged youth engagement in the political sphere rather than articles insisting everyone just keep their mouths shut.

He writes, finally, that “You’re not going to get anyone to support your favorite candidate through a Facebook post.” Interesting. I could have sworn that the youth social media blitzkrieg over the last ten months has almost singlehandedly vaulted Sanders into a household name. Of all the things to deal in, why not deal in facts?

Jacob Johnson