Day of Action part of a bigger picture

Today is the day student leaders from all over the state have been waiting for. The Day of Action. Anyone reading this should be reading it from NIU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commons—not from the safe, warm, neutral confines of home or classroom.

Some people think this is a waste of time. Budging Springfield on the tax increase has been likened to “making the mountain come to Mohammed.” It’s claimed that legislators will ignore students because students are not a strong voting bloc.

Maybe that’s true. Then again, it’s not as easy to ignore thousands of people from around the state all protesting on the same day as the nay-sayers would like to think.

There was a time when the 18 to 21-year-old vote was considered pivotal in many elections. It was cultivated by smart politicians who recognized that young people could wield a great deal of power in the voting booth. It’s time to remind today’s students and today’s politicians that this power has not been lost.

The statewide action being taken today is just the reminder everyone needs. The key, though, is to make sure it isn’t short-lived. The actions taken today and through the rest of the school year must be followed up by a very strong showing in the next election.

People act in their own self-interest. There is perhaps no single group this is more true of than politicians. What most legislators aim for is re-election—or election to increasingly more politically powerful offices.

If Illinois legislators are made to see that they will be called to account by a young, powerful voting bloc in the next election, they will act in their own self-interest—which very conveniently happens to be in the students’ interest as well. They’ll find the means to properly finance higher education.

There are people in the General Assembly right now who would like to become the governor of Illinois in 1990. They should know from today forward who will be responsible for getting them elected—or relegated to the ranks of the “also-ran.”

Get in on the ground floor of the campaign—go to the MLK mall and participate in the Day of Action.