Rash action could ruin Day of Action success

One of these days I’d like to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with some of the radical political activists on campus and discuss just what motivates them to act in a particular way. We can discuss things such as letter-writing campaigns, demonstrating and the inane notion of blocking Traffic.

As I understand it, a bunch of these people are going to get up early Wednesday morning, pack their lunches and spend the day occupying a few hundred yards of asphalt on Lincoln Hwy., either causing traffic to be re-routed or stopping it altogether. This will be done on the much-heralded Day of Action, as a means of calling legislators’ attention to the plight of students.

It will call attention to students all right. So much attention, in fact, that the whole purpose of the Day of Action might be ruined.

The Day of Action was designed to drive home the point that higher education is deserving of more money. It was intended to show that students also were intelligent enough and thereby important enough to merit some legislative consideration in the form of more financial assistance. Rash, self-righteous chest-pounding is not the way to win friends and influence people.

In any case, Patrick Welch, D-Peru, and John Countryman, R-DeKalb, already are convinced that education needs more money. It’s the legislators outside of the district that have to be convinced that we, as students, need financial help from Springfield.

ow must a group of parading students appear to a legislator in, say, Kankakee—geographically far removed from the influence of higher education lobbyists? Just dandy, I’ll bet. In fact, that legislator will be so impressed that maybe he or she will want to run out and meet these people face to face. How convenient, they won’t even have to leave their cars. (There’s no place for them to park around here anyway).

What some individuals forget is that political change is a long and painstaking process. Rash acts in the street do more to hurt a cause than to help it, especially now. There are some who would argue that street demonstrations have led to change, such as getting students on the University Council. However, this situation is drastically different. There is money—lots of it—at stake. Legislators cannot placate students by simply changing a rule and allowing more members on a governing board. A change or concession on their part involving the budget would involve millions of dollars—money every other interest group in the state is vying for.

Countryman and Welch laid all the cards on the table when they said that legislators, especially when the stakes are high, listen to the voters with the loudest voice and the most poll appearances. Students, unfortunately, belong to neither group.

What students have to do is show all legislators that they comprise a legitimate political voice—one that is to be reckoned with. This they must establish by contacting legislators, writing letters and, most importantly, voting.

egistering students in Illinois to vote in future state elections would effectively carry the message. Until then, we students must be content with letter-writing, etc., to make as big a legitimate political statement as possible. Barring a miracle, help from Springfield is not forthcoming this year. Improvements need to be undertaken gradually and a long process must work its way through. In other words, students have to start talking now about what will happen to the budget for fiscal year 1989.

Bringing about political change is a long painstaking process similar to building a house of cards. Layer upon layer of cards must be added, at the right time and in the right place, in order to successfully reach a goal. The process requires great patience and foresight. Any sudden, harsh moves will only topple the structure and the builder will have to start all over again.