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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

EDITORIAL Living Up to Apathetic Expectations; Action and Inacation

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Living Up to Apathetic Expectations

Last week's mid-term elections marked a historical shift in the balance of power on Capitol Hill, one that many suggest will allow the Bush administration significant leeway in nominating Supreme Court judges, paring down the energy policy drafted at the outset of the Bush presidency and advancing quicker toward the creation of a Department of Homeland Security.
If voter turnouts are any indication, however, the response to this shift at Middlebury has been muted at best. Polls taken by The Campus before and after Nov. 5 reveal that, despite the high number of students registered to vote, a disparagingly low number of these students took to the polls either here or by absentee ballot in their home states.
Voter turnouts, especially in non-presidential election years, are historically low. Though it is discomfiting to see that Middlebury is not an exception to this trend, what is more disturbing is the discrepancy that emerges when one considers the issues at stake this year — many of which have become the foci of large protests by Middlebury students on campus, in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. Last month's demonstrations of Ari Fleischer's visit cast a refreshing light on a portion of our population most claim are apathetic and unaware; last week's election showed that, unfortunately, this stereotype still holds true.
The old adage "if you don't vote, you have no right to complain" could not be truer this year. A shift in the political wind will bring about changes in domestic and foreign policy that many Middlebury students opposed, or have demonstrated against, throughout the fall semester. One hopes that these changes will motivate more members of our student body to voice their sentiment more actively in 2004.

Action and Inaction
It was encouraging to see the Web sites and the DailyJolt take prompt action on their respective online forums after a number of racist comments posted on both sites evoked strong reaction from members of the College community. Of the two Web sites made the boldest change by completely removing its online forum. The's reaction, however, was markedly more half-hearted — and will probably result in little actual change over time.
The DailyJolt explains that in light of the comments and the reaction they generated the site will run "an anonymous but registered forum." Little explanation is offered as to how this will limit the amount of prejudice some users of the site voice in its online forum, or how site administrators can move quicker to remove such commentary after it first appears. The glaring absence of such explanation is disappointing, and needs to be resolved promptly before the gives way — once again — to being a channel for intolerance.