We hold the power, but are we brave enough to wield it?
It is a commonly held sentiment that politicians like to smile for the pictures while planning their next vacation. It feels as if public officials are allergic to doing work, at the very least they do their best to appear this way.
Yet there is one near surefire way to make those fat cats dance, hold their feet to the fire. Give them two options, start working or start packing.
Take Gavin Newsom for example, despite the democratic supermajority in the state legislature, our governor had failed to enact many of his policy platforms during his first few years of office. This is in stark contrast to the 16 major bills Newsom has signed into law since September 15.
So what changed, what pushed Newsom into high gear?
On Sept. 14 Newsom survived a recall effort aimed at removing him from office. Despite the fact that 62 percent of voters chose to keep the Governor in office, there was a large stretch where Newsom seemed especially vulnerable.
The fear of losing his seat in office compelled Newsom to pass an ambitious slate of legislation including bills altering single-family zoning and new requirements for ethnic studies and mental health education.
Voters hold real power, the power to make the suits sweat and get the cogs of government moving. The keyword is voters. Just existing does nothing in a democracy, it does nothing to create change.
During the recall, only around 16 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds voted. Only 16 percent. Even in the 2020 presidential election which was hailed for its youth turnout, only 46 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds voted. How can we expect to put pressure on politicians if we refuse to engage in the most basic aspect of our democracy: voting.
We can do better than 46 percent and we damn sure can do better than 16 percent. There is no reason why the students of Skyline college should shy away from their powerful voices. All it takes is the courage to vote, the courage to voice our opinions.
It’s time for us to hold their feet to the fire.