Students, not candidates, responsible for changes to come

­­­Column by Jacob Sims

Change, hope, unity, reform, and ethics are all broad terms being loosely thrown around this presidential election, with each candidate attempting to gain more support from the public in their bid to become, arguably, the most powerful individual in the world. Speeches from both candidates sound so magnificent and there is a reason that they do: because it is exactly what we want to hear.

We want to believe that a president can make all of these changes that John McCain and Barack Obama are promising. We want to believe that we can simply elect one of these two candidates and all of these changes are going to take place in Washington D.C. and these lifelong politicians are going to clean up their acts and start serving their constituents again. We want to believe that we can elect McCain or Obama and all of our economic problems and foreign relation issues will just disappear.

I hate to be the raincloud, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. The 535 professional politicians that have been elected to D.C. are still only going to be working 109 days out of the year, and mainly concerned about getting reelected. The bureaucrats, lobbyists and special interest groups will continue to be more important to our politicians than us and party politics will still reign supreme in Congress and the state legislature.

I could write an article regarding the flaws of Barack Obama (not that McCain doesn’t have his own) and dispute Robert Kahne’s article in Monday’s issue of the Kentucky Kernel, but in all honesty, I am not concerned about the decision that Kentucky will make in this election. Sad to say for most Democrats, McCain and McConnell will both win their races in the Bluegrass and unfortunately for Republicans, Ben Chandler will handily win his Representative seat. I am sorry that I spoiled the surprise.

Change does not start from the top and smoothly trickle down to the bottom. One of the glorious characteristics of democracy is that change starts from the bottom and allows for the average citizens to dictate to the power.

Politicians and “politics as usual” will not change because of a new president. The only way that we can truly affect change in our area is if our elected officials know that we are watching them, since that is the only time in which they decide to do anything.

There has been a movement that has been started and is stirring in this nation and state as we speak. George Bush has a 32 percent approval rating. Congress has a 10 percent approval rating. Taxes are being raised, the government is growing and intervening past the consent of the governed, and Congress won’t even stay in session to vote on a bill to relieve the citizens from the burden of gas prices. Among that, the issues of the 21st century are complex. How are we going to deal with them?

I do not care what party you are affiliated with. My primary concern is holding our politicians accountable when they are in session about one-third of the year. D.C. and Frankfort are not going to change because of an election. When they recognize that our vote matters, change will take place and our stereotype of unreliable college kids will disappear.

Mother Teresa once said, “Don’t wait for leaders — do it alone, person to person.” Fellow students, I encourage everyone to register, be politically active, and vote in this upcoming election on Nov. 4.

Republicans, I hope that you join in on this movement, restoring the power to the people. The College Republicans meet every other Tuesday, with the next meeting being Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. in room 211 of the Student Center.