In politics, power is often in numbers. Whether majorities exist in legislative bodies or in public opinion, majorities rule. But despite these facts, silence can be deafening and can undercut whatever sway majorities possess. This is the phenomenon of the silent majority, a relatively larger group of people that is more numerous, and thus more influential, yet does not actively use their available faculties to affect their surroundings.
A recent example of political silent majorities are so-called “soccer moms,” a demographic group that infrequently participates actively in politics while being a key voting bloc for any candidate running for state or national office.
Another contemporary silent majority, according to the Pakistani foreign minister interviewed on Meet the Press, are the citizens of Pakistan who support President Mussarraf’s cooperation with the international community’s efforts to end the threat of terrorism.
Although media reports detail that nation’s large anti-American protests, show pictures of citizens burning American flags and cover gatherings where people revere Osama bin Laden, Pakistani officials continue to insist that these people are extremists and that most Pakistanis support the goal of defeating terrorism.
During my three-year tenure at UW-Madison, it has become clear to me that a silent majority exists among the 40,000 Badgers here on campus. Extremists and radicals get elected to our mockery of a student government, the Associated Students of Madison, because voter turnout is a dismal three percent and high voter turnout is a whopping five percent.
Inflated and irresponsible spending and budget requests are approved with little controversy or outcry. One definite example is the 700 percent increase requested last week by the Multicultural Student Coalition and 300 percent increase requested by the Asian and Pacific American Council, together totaling just under $1.3 million dollars to fund disproportionately high wages and to hire more people to supposedly make campus more diverse (I have never observed any correlation between handing out more money and more positions to an accountable student group equaling more diversity).
Radical activists are elected and these outrageous appropriations are approved despite consensus campus opposition because most students do not care. I cannot blame students who are too busy with school, work and earning their degree – after all, that’s what they should be doing here – but it still dismays me that these decisions, with which the vast majority of students disagree, are being made.
If and when our campus’ silent majority wakes up is anybody’s guess. Perhaps it takes a cause so great or a threat so serious to do this.
To the majority of UW students: For too long we have lain idle and allowed campus radicals and extremists to portray us as those who unpatriotically blame America for the Sept. 11 attacks and are unwilling to support efforts to stop terrorism. Show the world that we stand with our troops united. UW silent majority – Wake up!