Protests Are Cool, Not You

If you are not part of a movement now, you do not have the right to complian.When you are the first to lose your job to out-sourcing, when your home is destroyed by a pollution induced natural disaster or when a loved one dies in a war you never supported, just remember that your indifference let it happen.With the success of the student lead civil-rights protests and movements of the 1960s and 70s, it is disconcerting that the use of student protest to trigger socialand political change has fallen by the wayside.Why does our generation remain mute?The easy answer is to write this phenomenonoff as just a by-product of the modern age where generations grow up amid the amenities and distractions of the new age of technology.Unfortunately, the easy answer is seldomthe correct one.The last age of student protest in America was during the Vietnam period. Students took to the streets in a united effort to speak out about an unjust war (sound familiar?). So what changed betweenthen and now?It’s not that the current administrationis more popular then Nixon’s White House. According to Gallup polls, Nixon’sapproval rating days before he was pressured to resign from office were only two points lower then Bush’s current approval rating of 28 percent.The recent Gallop Poll found that only 31 percent of Americans approve of the job that President Bush is doing, and Newsweek published last week that 58 percent of Americans believe that Bush should resign immediately.Students were not better informed or more compassionate to world and societal issues during the ’60s and ’70s, they were just as self-serving as our generation.People are in agreement that the countryneeds new leadership, and fewer troop surges. The problem is no one will get off the couch to make it happen.The reality is that livable wages, climatechange and the war are perceived to be a peripheral threat to the way of life to most students; therefore not something to be overly concerned about.I will guarantee you that if we were faced with a draft today, students would finally take to the streets and demand a change in the War on Terror.The stigmatization of protest culture on our campus is beyond comprehension.Is it really that un-cool to speak out against what we see as not being right?Take for instance the livable wage campaign. This was a movement, for betteror worse that was not supported by the student body.I challenge any reader to respond with an instance of protest on this campus that has been widely supported and has led to any real latent change.Before climate change wipes us off of the map, before the economy collapsesand before the government institutes forced conscriptions, do us all a favor and, in the spirit of Bush’s preemptive doctrine, protest.