When Anger Turns Into Slacktivism

When+Anger+Turns+Into+Slacktivism

By Ravi Joshi-Wander

Since election day, Tam’s student body has become more politically active than ever. Protests and walkouts have been organized and social media is abuzz with articles being shared, rants being posted, and hashtags being used. The collective voice of Tam, while inspiring to hear now, also begs the question, where were we before? It’s been a year and a half since the presidential election went into full swing and up until recently, discussion about the election has been extremely limited, and if national statistics are indicative of Tam’s population, many of our students who could vote did not. Regardless of whether or not we expected a different outcome in the election than what we got (I certainly did), the lack of political engagement at Tam was shockingly low. Now, one week after the fact, we’re angry over something many of us were almost completely apathetic to before.

There’s nothing wrong with strong emotions over the election inherently. Within the Tam community, it’s likely feel a mix of both anger and sadness right now and in the days following any major event, taking time to process one’s emotions is reasonable. What is problematic however, is when in the weeks and months following the election, our emotions remains unfocused. Playing ‘FDT’ in your car, no matter how cathartic it may be, is not political activism. Hashtags are not ballots. No matter how many times we shout “not my president,” Donald Trump, for better or worse, will be sworn into office as the next president come January.

If we want meaningful change in our country, we have to channel our emotions towards the election, and continue to passionately and unapologetically fight for what we believe in. This extends beyond voting. We need to seek out and support candidates that match our views, and do everything in our power to get them elected, whether that be phone banking, canvassing or if you have the means, donating. Congressional and Senate elections are in two years and while they don’t have the flashy spectacle of the presidential elections, they’re just as important, if not more. There’s absolutely no excuse for an eligible voter to abstain. Neither is there an excuse for an eligible voter to remain uninformed.

Even in a deep blue county in a deep blue state, every vote counts, and as we saw in this election, when the popular vote is in contrast to that of the electoral college, it sends a clear message of what the people believe in. In addition, results of state referendums such as Prop 62 and 64 had the potential to drastically alter the government and laws of our state. Local measures also directly affect our county with voters deciding on taxes and spending on our own education.

If Tam’s students can remain politically active, then we will have this election to thank for lighting the spark that illuminated our students’ voice. If we don’t stay committed to actively fighting for our beliefs however, our student protests will remain nothing more than a form of Hate Week, which in addition to being unproductive, further stigmatizes students at Tam who hold conservative views, as opposed to bringing them into the political discourse to share and discuss ideas.