Some of you probably watched the Ohio University, “haters-be-hatin'” video posted last week on The Miami Student’s website. While many students may have been surprised about this fiercely channeled controversy, I have had the pleasure of being verbally assaulted in Athens during every visit over the past four years. Like an American claiming Canadian citizenship while traveling abroad, it is not safe to pledge “Love and Honor” around these full-time partiers, part-time students unless you’re looking for a smack down. My best friends from high school are all Bobcats, and they never miss a chance to make a crack about our Greek city-state.
When I’ve visited Athens, I’ve literally been booed at for claiming allegiance to our school. They consider this normal, though few know any Miamians. When my friends visit Miami, they clutch their plastic Solo cups for dear life thinking someone must have a well-hidden shiv. They are always surprised when not one person here gives them flak for going to OU.
Taking aside the fact that a “Miami bro” is virtually indistinguishable from an “OU bro,” and I have yet to meet a college kid of the 21st century that doesn’t own a North Face, their one-sided rivalry is emblematic of something more important regarding today’s topic.
There are so many instances in which people choose to act without fully understanding a situation or giving background research its due diligence. As a poorly disguised segue, I’m talking about things bigger than the fact that green and red apparently only work together on Christmas.
This year, we face another presidential election. While calling it historic would be a bit of a stretch, the importance of it should not be lost on anyone. The ad campaigns and mud slinging are starting to trickle out of the PAC faucet, but soon enough, the deluge will be upon us. These advertisements have little do with issues or even facts: they are psychologically tailored, emotionally charged and produced from the top marketing firms.
Primary elections are one of the more irritating processes in modern American government. The candidates put on a circus — yet the country watches in fascination as they try to out-do each other. You should absolutely vote in the primaries, but a more important issue than casting your vote is to actually research those people you are voting for.
I don’t care if you are a Greenpeace-supporting, pot-smoking hippie or a Bible-thumping, Federal Reserve-hating Libertarian — every one of you can benefit from learning more about the issues, the problems and the potential policy changes that will affect our country given one candidate over another.
I’ve been making this plea for three years, and I’ll do so again today: actively learn more. Always strive to know more about anything and everything you come into contact with. Our college is more conservative than most, and anti-Obamaism is rampant. Truth be told, I don’t care if you support Obama or have one of those phone apps that count down to the day his term in office ends, so long as you know why you should or should not support him. You cannot make an intelligent decision about how you think Obama is handling Middle East foreign policy if you can’t point out Iraq or Afghanistan on a map. Likewise, you cannot support a Republican trying to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans unless you understand all the short and long term ramifications of such an action.
Small ideas and opinions can give way to big ideas and potential problems. There are so many students I know who hate our president with the same disgust OU-ians hate us. But is that fair? If you have legitimate reasons for supporting a change in office (and even a dyed in the wool liberal like myself can see that perspective) then I support every vote cast in the hopes of fixing this country’s myriad problems. But to those of you who are content with making choices without understanding the extent of their effects, you need to put this liberal education to good use and start applying research and insight in every place you can.