By Nick Froelich and Charles Kennick, Miami College Democrats
As this long and trying election season concludes today, we must ask ourselves: what now? Over the past seventeen months the media has focused a great deal on emails, foundations and other personal scandals. In their obsession with personality, many important policy stances have taken the backseat.
These policies — combating climate change, addressing the student debt crises and reversing income inequality, to name a few — will impact ALL Americans in the present and in the years to come. After the polls are closed, we must bring our attention back to the issues that should have been in the spotlight this whole time.
Our advocacy for the issues that we hold most dear does not end with our vote at the polls, but rather just begins. It will continue with adamant activism for our deeply held beliefs. We are obliged to stay involved in the political process through engaging with our lawmakers in order to make them aware that, as public servants, we have chosen them to serve us and not themselves.
We will make them aware that we will no longer tolerate a government more concerned about the wants of the few, and not the needs of the many.
We cannot afford to complain about the rigged system when WE ARE the system. The system works when we demand that it works. We must hold our elected officials accountable through the entire spectrum of political activism.
Until we, as members of a representative democracy, do this, the system will remain rigged if we remain complacent to our self-imposed ignorance and inactivity in the governing process.
We must do what the media has failed to do and spread awareness of the true challenges our nation faces. We must come together and organize un-ignorable demonstrations that communicate realistic solutions to our problems.
We must pick up our phones and tell our representatives on every level how we feel about pending legislation. We must make our voices heard loudly and clearly, as activism has been the catalyst for true change all throughout our history.
Whether it was the fight for women’s suffrage, worker’s rights, the end of legal segregation or the right to marry who you love, it took a large scale movement that mobilized Americans in between elections.
Our fight now is a continuation of the struggle that has been going on since the founding of our nation. It is the fight for political, economic and social justice and it is not an easy one. Our planet is dying at an alarming rate. Student debt is greater than credit card debt. Healthcare in America is more expensive than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Structural racism leads to the murder of innocent black lives.
Our roads and bridges are crumbling.
The top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. Women of color make as little as 54 percent of what white men make for doing the same job. More than 33,000 Americans are fatally shot each year.
These are huge issues and we cannot trust any single person to enact the reform that we so desperately need. We must educate, organize and mobilize millions of people in order to shape our government into one that will represent and look out for us, the people.
This great political task will be next to impossible if a selfish, egotistical, short-tempered billionaire controls the executive branch. Any progress that could be made will hit a 45-foot cement wall under an administration that wants to dismantle the EPA, abolish the federal minimum wage and unconstitutionally apply a religious test to become a citizen of this nation of immigrants.
Thus, we must elect Hillary Clinton and then mobilize to make sure our ideas are heard, respected and implemented. We cannot afford to be a passive republic. We can only show that we will no longer accept those that are disingenuous and self-serving as the leaders of a government that is by the people and for the people.