[Wildcat Online: opinions] [ad info]





Student involvement in national issues admirable

By The Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 18, 2000
Talk about this story

By the Wildcat Opinions Board

The current state of affairs in Washington, D.C. is intimidating. The International Money Fund and the World Bank influence multinational affairs, directly affecting millions of workers in countries across the world. Overwhelming objection to the organizations' tactics have brought tens of thousands to the nation's capital. Hundreds have been arrested. Washington law enforcement has made it clear that it won't mess around.

Two college students from Tucson paid the ruckus a visit anyway.

In a time when the simple act of voting is so underused - particularly among college students - the fact that Jenny Mahalick and John Hardenbergh traveled from one end of the country to the other to join the masses is truly admirable.

Republican primary exit polls showed that only 9 percent of Arizonans in the 18-29 age bracket voted. When something as simple and important as casting a vote is neglected by young people so often, activism is pretty impressive.

The protest itself is a spectacular example of the basic rights of free speech and assembly pitted against the need for civil order - and right in the heart of the United States.

Police have carted off demonstrators by the busload, only to face a new frontline of concerned citizens stepping up and "locking down" about 90 square blocks surrounding the meeting.

Most University of Arizona students (hopefully) read the news, shook their heads and went back to filling out graduation announcements. But Mahalick and Hardenbergh hit the police-lined streets to see the action and smell the pepper spray.

The two students are doing more than handing out flyers on the Mall - which, in itself is a useful tactic - and taking part in the extreme avenue of participation as a citizen. They are attempting to combat an issue many times larger than themselves.

"Everybody just took over the streets," Mahalick said. "It was amazing, these people with spiky hair talking to grandmas."

She also described a heavily mobilized police force that appeared just as scared as the protestors. And why shouldn't they be? The events in Washington have once again ressurected vital issues within the United States that often hibernate inside dormant case law and government documents. This demonstration is liberty forced to life, and on to the front page of the papers. When conflicts of this nation's philosophy collide face to face, it can be very scary.

That is why student involvement in such a large issue is so valuable and impressive.

Anyone who cares so much about an issue to take this action should be viewed as a hero and thanked for keeping the nation's evolution alive.

Let's not let the United States stagnate in uninformed complacency. Regardless of the issue, let's hit those streets and face the billy clubs.

[end content]
[ad info]