Todd B. Foy, Jr., 2012
This past week, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Robert Gates give a lecture to a pretty full house. He spoke of many things and answered many hard questions with confidence and class. Yet one statement stuck out to me as a citizen and a student.
When asked what he thought the biggest deficits were facing youth today, he delivered an answer which struck a chord.
Simply, he stated that youth in this country truly cherish their “rights”. Especially now, with the Occupy Wall Street movement, people are taking down injustice by utilizing and advocating for these “given rights”. But then, he asked of us all what we have done to deserve these rights. He proceeded to assert, not much, and that it was time to give back to our country in some way to earn what we claim.
It is a convicting and controversial assertion, but I can say that I whole-heartedly agree. And I think I can agree even more as an MCLA student. We talk often about how we “pay the bills” here, we attend the classes, and we keep this place running. In turn then, we should have a say in the way things are decided and done. You are very right, that we as students do have certain rights and that they should be exercised now more than ever. But I think that time, place, and manner are key.
I find all too often, especially as SGA President, that students become complacent and often just start complaining. There seem to be no given solutions or self-education, just offerings of judgment and anger. All too often a real issue never leaves a Townhouse or it simply turns into rumors. Where does that get us? What does that give us? I can tell you from experience: nothing.
It is my duty this year to represent and work for you. I’ve done that, I would hope you agree, to the best of my ability. Now I want you, the students of MCLA, to come out and claim the rights you know you deserve. Attend SGA meetings and voice concerns.
Vote in the upcoming firearms referendum. Write letters to the editor. Meet with your administrators. None of this goes unnoticed. Your voice is our voice. So use it. And if you don’t, then there is nobody to blame for shortcomings and disappointments than yourself.
Dr. Gates was right and I’m hoping that his words trigger a new era of inspirational movers and shakers. When we learn that rights are earned and not given, then I think we can truly start making the changes we need to. I look forward to seeing you out there.
Todd B. Foy, Jr., 2012