Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Advertisements
Advertisements

On April Fools, ‘all politics is local’

The adage goes something like this: ?All politics is local.? Attributed to former Speaker of the House Thomas ?Tip? O?Neill, the quotation is one that certainly provokes some thought. Before he died in 1994, Mr. O?Neill reflected on his life in politics. ?I have been in politics all my life,? he said. ?I am proud to be a politician. No other career affords as much opportunity to help people.?

The era of cynicism that has ravaged our government over the past several decades has made it easy for students today to shrug off Mr. O?Neill as naive, but what we saw last month during Wisconsin?s presidential primary has perhaps finally given us proof that our hope for a brighter future is not unfounded. Who could blame us?

It seems every election year the news is filled with stories of the apathy of young voters. But as we braved the fierce cold last month to break voter turnout records on campus, we sent a message to pundits across the nation that the youth of this country are ready to lead.

Advertisements

However, many skeptics rightfully remain. While turnout in the presidential primary on campus was higher (60 percent) than it was in Dane County as a whole (52 percent), local elections tell a much different tale. In 2006, the race for County Board District 5 had one of the lowest turnouts of any of the Board of Supervisors contests.

For many students, it boils down to an issue of what city they call home.

We all have ties to the communities where we grew up, and we all care about the schools that helped prepare us for the University of Wisconsin. But regardless of where you?re from, Madison and Dane County ? for at least nine months each year ? is now home. Conscience should call us to go beyond casting a ballot for the next president every four years, to go beyond focusing only on national issues and presidential politics, and to remember the words of Tip O?Neill. It all starts right here.

On April 1, we will once again have the chance to go to the polls. While you won?t see the names of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton on your ballot, you will still have a chance to make history. State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler is standing for reelection as the first black to ever serve on the highest bench in our state. His dedication to the law has protected citizens and consumers when corporations have tried to exploit them. He has been firm in upholding the law, and he has been exemplary in his dedication to the ethics of his oath.

In the face of annual budget cuts, the Madison School Board has been forced to make sacrifices in core academic programs district wide. While it is likely that few readers have children in Madison?s public schools, many of us are the products of public education. We know that it is the great equalizer, that it allows children who grow up with nothing to have a fighting chance at success. And we know what its possible deterioration means to the future of our country.

?All politics is local.? What we do here today will impact the world tomorrow. Don?t let Feb. 19 be an aberration. Don?t allow yourself to believe the only important vote left to cast is on Nov. 4. The change our country needs can?t wait for November; it has to begin today.

Oliver Kiefer ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in economics and is chair of the UW-Madison College Democrats.

Advertisements
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *