Letter to the Editor
This Letter to the Editor was submitted in response to the Chips April 12 story on the lack of political activity on campus, available on the Chips website.
As alumnae and former presidents of Luther Republicans and Democrats, we were very disappointed to read in Chips a few weeks ago that neither group has met much (or perhaps at all!) this year. It may not be an election year, but ... wait, it IS an election year! Back in 2004 (yes, we’re old), Luther was the place for primary candidates to visit.
So, campus Republicans, we’re curious as to how you organized GOTV efforts for the caucuses when you weren’t even holding meetings (and Democrats, victory in 2008 is not just cause for laziness 4 years later).
Whether it’s an election year or not is beside the point, though. Yes, there is an ebb and flow to attendance when it comes to political groups, but that is no excuse for apathy. In 2004, an election year, Luther Democrats had up to 40 or 50 people at every meeting; by 2005, those numbers dwindled to about 10 per meeting. But you know what your guaranteed attendance is if you don’t even hold the meeting? Zero.
Back in our day (yep, we said it), Dinesh D’Souza and Newt Gingrich came to speak. So did Michael Moore and Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, there were plenty of debates to be had. Sometimes they were public, moderated debates on the Marty’s stage; more often than not, though, they were held late at night in our dorm rooms. But pragmatism is not born from isolationism, and it’s hard to create a dialogue if no one bothers to show up. This is what college is about — the open exchange of ideas.
If you’re at a loss as to where to start, might we suggest working together to ramp up interest in each of your respective groups? Patriotism and volunteerism need not be partisan efforts. Mostly, we are concerned with your post-Luther, adult lives. If you don’t participate politically while on campus, the odds are that you probably won’t once you leave. There are Luther alumni all over the country volunteering on campaigns, church committees, school boards and city councils. We’d bet anything that they were involved here at Luther, too. Your investment in your current and future social capital begins now.
You are so very blessed to live in a society in which your political participation is not just legal, but valued and encouraged. Don’t abuse that privilege by ignoring it.
Megan St. Clair Nelson (‘07)
Amanda Smith (‘07)