Key Words: Losing your voice

The greatest worry of the 21st century is not that the government will take away free speech, it is that we will have nothing to say. Our generation, more than any other before us, is marked by an increasing apathy towards things that truly matter. In a few short years, the responsibility to manage this country deeded to us by our forefathers will pass to us, but I truly fear we will not be ready.

During the Civil Rights Era and the decades that followed shortly after, protests were as common on college campuses as classes. Students honestly believed they could make an impact, that they could make a change in the world, and often times they did. Contrast that with today. The same types of atrocities are still going on both here and around the globe. Genocide in Africa, crushing of a democratic movement in Iran, and even in the United States, the government is now free to open our mail and tap our phones without a warrant. In a country that once stood for liberty, we have now traded it for the empty promise of security. But there are no protests, no demonstrations, nothing.

There is one issue that recently angered Sam Houston students enough that they did something about it. Was it torture in the name of national security or the modern sex slave trade? How about the death penalty? No. The students banded together and protested because they couldn’t use their meal plans to eat at Tortilla Fresca. As much as I can identify with the frustration students must feel, in the grand scheme of things, this was a rather insignificant problem. No one’s rights were being violated. No one was going to starve because they had to eat at Belvin. How selfish have we become as a society?

These larger fights may seem like lost causes. But in the famed words of Jefferson Smith in “Mr. Smith goes to Washingon,” lost causes are the only causes truly worth fighting for. You fight as hard as you can for these things, not because it’s profitable, not because it will get you votes, but because it is the right thing to do. We have lost sight of it in this country. Thomas Jefferson once said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. If things keep going as they are, our freedoms will experience something many Bearkats have recently gone through, they’ll be deleted for non-payment.

This past week saw the passing of one of the most passionate activists in the history of American civil rights: Senator Ted Kennedy. In the wake of his death, it should give us pause to remember the power of a single voice standing against the majority for a worthy cause. We should all be so lucky as to have someone like that stand up for us. Here’s looking at you, Ted

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