Over my time of writing for this paper, I have mostly focused on political or policy issues in my columns. After all, that is what I was hired to do.
Sometimes the topics I chose were readily applicable to college students. Other times people wondered why I chose to cover a certain topic in a college newspaper.
Most college students consider themselves to be, at the very least, politically aware. Many will go as far as being labeled politically active. However, topics like Social Security and income tax brackets are not understood by most college students because most are not being explicitly impacted by such issues beyond a small withholding from a part-time job.
However, it is important for students to be familiar with these issues and much more going on in the political arena, even if it is coming from a different political perspective than their own.
Unfortunately, it seems that many college students are more interested in the latest social media or hook-up app (it’s Myspace now, right?) than they are in the political issues surrounding them, whether they be issues central to Oxford, Miss., or Oxford, England.
There is certainly nothing wrong with interest in things that matter to college students, but there is something wrong when there is no interest at all in politics.
The decisions being made today will affect each individual reading this in some way. It may take five years and a mortgage until it hits you, but today’s policy will impact you.
Let’s look at it this way: If your parents sat you down when you were 12 and discussed the rules for your curfew when you could drive, would you have paid attention and contributed to the discussion? It wouldn’t affect you for four more years, but if you had not contributed, you would find yourself later wishing that you had.
I realize that is a bit of a stretch, but the premise holds true.
Take an interest in politics. Read about what is going on in the world around you. Take note of what will affect you and how. Discuss it with your friends. Listen to people with a different political belief.
Politics will add so much to your life because it has a hand in everything that affects you. From the taxes you will pay to the protection given to developers who create the next great app, everything is governed by politics and policy.
Political responsibility goes so far beyond just voting. In fact, voting is just the beginning. Don’t spend your time in college oblivious to the political matters of the world. I can think of no worse way to spend a college experience.
Trenton Winford is a senior public policy leadership major from Madison.