Editorials

Unity is a worthy goal, but it starts with individual action

SIUE unity march gets underway

SIUE students on Tuesday gathered to march from the Vadalabene Center to the Rendleman Center to stage a rally for unity and an end to racism. Social media posts called for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students to wear black and walk
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SIUE students on Tuesday gathered to march from the Vadalabene Center to the Rendleman Center to stage a rally for unity and an end to racism. Social media posts called for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students to wear black and walk

Students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville walked out of class and held a unity rally on Tuesday. Good for them: A little political awakening is important, especially when so few of their peers showed up at the polls Nov. 8.

Millennial and Generation X voters are now in the majority, with 126 million voters compared to 98 million Baby Boom and older voters. Trouble is about half of the young voters bother to vote while about 70 percent of the older folks vote.

What’s the matter with kids today is not only that not enough of them vote, but they are looking for someone else to do the heavy lifting. One bullhorn-wielding young man was exhorting SIUE administrators to be responsible for creating a safe, tolerant environment for them.

Well, welcome to adulthood. Mommy isn’t going to kiss that boo-boo. You fix the system by questioning, thinking and acting.

As far as questioning, just because it was repeated on social media does not make it true. Did anyone verify the racial Post-it notes or hijab grabbing or Latina racial harassment stories? Campus police and administration had no reports. Some of the social media folks said they didn’t bother to make reports.

The thinking part is figuring out your values and then figuring out how you advance them. If you want a tolerant society, you can’t speak ill of the A-rabs running the convenience store or decide all Mexicans are murderers and rapists. You have to figure out where to find like-minded people who also want to work for tolerance.

Which leads to the action. The Greatest Generation has the advice for you there: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Just replace “country” with “campus administration,” “political party,” “civic organization” or whatever else will improve your world.

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