For a group that will graduate at the beginning of a new decade, we the class of 2010 need to be known as the class of decision makers. Decisions by graduating men and women who demand answers before it is too late and reject tepid responses to distressing problems. Decisions by intellectuals who realize that personal sacrifice is sometimes necessary to help a neighbor in trouble.
Today, John F. Kennedy’s words may have fallen on deaf ears and assuredly been ridiculed on cable news stations, but his 1961 plea to the country needs to be revisited and, for this group of graduates, it may lay the groundwork for what the future should hold. “…Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
JFK’s claim has become a dirty notion in modern politics but it may be what revives America. For too long have we been told to make no sacrifices until trouble occurs and then the innocents feel the brunt of the damages. The more politicians praise America’s promise the less is asked from them and the less is expected in return.
Class of 2010, let’s mimic the excitement that surrounded Barack Obama’s presidency that saw massive organization from Republicans, Democrats and independents that rallied together, not separately, to energize ideas. We need a swell of uproar to demand no more oil spills by getting away from the black, slimy addiction, and time is demanding not one more soldier or civilian loses their life in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Ignorance is no longer an excuse to let people make decisions for us; Steve Jobs has made information follow us all day, everyday. Ideas are what keep democracies alive and as soon as that trust is invested in somebody based on ignorance the country becomes one thread weaker.
JFK called for people to make sacrifices for the common good and that theme needs to be revisited so as to break this ownership mentality that promotes wealth as a means of happiness.
As a graduating class, we need to be the group of people willing to make sacrifices so as to begin our rejuvenation. Our differences shouldn’t separate us; they should make us smarter. The past four years shouldn’t hinder our job prospects, they should propel them. Arizona’s immigration law shouldn’t drive us apart; it should bring us together in order to repeal it. Wall Street’s power shouldn’t leave us helpless; it should empower us to unite against big banks’ sway in Washington.
It is imperative that we become a group of active thinkers and actors because for too long passivity has led to damage.
Demand questions answered because priorities are what we make them. For a new workforce set to hit the streets, decisions must be made about how we move forward and for the class of 2010, those decisions are in our hands.
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.