To the Editor:
Media critics have recently accused college students of a dangerous decline in patriotism because, apparently, some members of the younger generation have questioned President George W. Bush’s actions in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
These people have implied that it is the duty of all Americans to be gung-ho in patriotism and support of the sitting president, whoever he may be, and whatever actions he may take.
Let me clearly state, I am completely behind Mr. Bush and the entire U.S. government in fighting this war against terrorism, and have never been prouder to be an American.
But I believe it is crucial for today’s young people to question their leaders.
Furthermore, they have the right to do so in a free society. Young people often get the short stick in the beltway. Al Gore happily appeared on MTV to rally the youth vote in last year’s presidential election; George W. Bush did not bother.
As a young reporter for a national magazine, I covered the 2000 campaign. President Bush did not look my way until he was notified I was a member of the press.
Poll numbers show mom and dad vote more than the college crowd, and until that changes, those who accuse college students of apathy will continue to be the voice of reason.
The invisible wall separating today’s youth from the powerful is slowly breaking, as a new age group slowly realizes its place in the future.
Political activism is making a return on college and university campuses, slowly but surely. In Hamden, Quinnipiac University junior Jonathan Kroll is running for a seat on the town council.
The political science major has already begun a grass-roots campaign of knocking door to door, or more accurately, dorm to dorm. Kroll needs a large student turnout to win.
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, students have sought to demonstrate their patriotism by waving flags. Flags have been flying outside people’s windows for weeks now, with talk of patriotism so powerfully leaving people’s mouths.
According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the United States ranks 139th out of the world’s 163 democracies for voter participation.
Actions are stronger than words. With this newly restored sense of patriotism, lets prove it. Vote.
November 4, 2001
The writer is a junior at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.