Editorial: MLK Day reminds us there’s more work to be done
United States President Barack Obama’s slogan during his presidential campaign was “Forward,” but it hardly feels like we’ve moved forward during the last week of his presidency.
The recent election of President-elect Donald Trump has shown that the country is more divided since electing its first black president. Tempers continue to boil over social media and the future leader of the country is even calling out civil rights heroes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
We’re living in a Twilight Zone of the social environment many thought would be reached during the past eight years.
But those desirable changes aren’t easy to attain, as Obama told Lester Holt in an interview with NBC before he gave his farewell speech in Chicago. The President said it was naive to think that radical racial attitudes would change in less than a decade after centuries of fighting for civil rights.
This moment of uncertainty is an opportunity for people to take the issue into their own hands — because clearly many didn’t do so in the recent election. Americans can draw upon the way Obama started his political career in Chicago: organizing. It’s what Obama said in his farewell address: If you want change, then grab a clipboard and start to create the change you want to see in the world.
Although it might seem like we’re harping on the ideas presented by the President in his speech, arguing with someone over the internet isn’t going to accomplish anything. Dialogue is one of the liberties granted to us when our forefathers fought for freedom; it was a right to speech, not a right to be ignorant and hide behind a screen.
Change isn’t something that can only be accomplished in Washington or on Election Day. For many people, college is the perfect place for change to take place and for the voiceless to be heard.
This campus has seen political tension in the past, with both the Main Quad chalkings and inappropriate parties held by different groups of people. We view this semester as a time for change; a time when millennials can start to make a difference — even though we are aware that there will be comments to this editorial claiming that we know nothing because of the era in which we grew up.
We are the generation that has spurred great social shifts, ones that generations before us could never make. And in a time where social media plays such a crucial part in daily life, we should use these mediums of communication to support good, rather than revert to past mistakes.
We might not have gone as far as we thought we would eight years ago on that night when Obama spoke to thousands in Chicago’s Grant Park, promoting his popular slogan of “Yes We Can.”
And although some might think “Yes We Did,” we feel there’s more work to be done than ever.
If we truly want to move “Forward,” or even “Make America Great Again,” it begins with us, or we will fall back into a false sense of hope rather than actual change.