The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Generation change

Last Wednesday, I made the decision to head down to Madison with a few others to take pictures of the mass protest against Scott Walker’s proposed bill. In addition, over the past week, I have seen dozens of UW-Eau Claire students make Facebook posts, give speeches at protests, take pictures and write and get involved with the happenings in Madison, both for and against the situation.

I wrote last semester about being lukewarm and neutral on hot-button issues and how sometimes not being involved has advantages, but this is a big issue that hits home for a lot of us. I actually do have a very strong opinion here. I do oppose Scott Walker’s bill and support my educators and the well-being and rights of the working class. There are much more effective ways to fix the debt looming in Wisconsin. But t

To walk into the capitol rotunda and hear chants and drums recalling thunder gave me goosebumps and to know that large portions of those protesters were students nearly made me cry. Call me a sentimental sap, but that was real energy and emotion flying through that dome.

Never in my life have I been more proud of students across Wisconsin for their involvement in the protests in Madison. There were just as many students out there — heck, even middle and high schoolers — as there were adults.

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I spoke to two girls from Racine who were just 14 years old and there for the rights of one of their fathers, a government worker. They cried as they explained how one of them would have to move away if her father lost his job; the best friend was there to support her friend and her family hours away.

I overheard a man in the rotunda last Wednesday and his words were subtle and overwhelming:  “Madison is America’s most beautiful city today. This
IS democracy.”

And Madison still is. Wisconsin is political activism at its finest. Walkouts, senators leaving the state to halt action, students forfeiting precious unexcused absences to go do the right thing: express their opinions and exercise their democratic rights. We are the poster children for what students of all ages across the country should be doing in order to maintain a voice in this world where we’re stereotyped as “just kids.”

And in light of all the awful that’s hit the world lately, it’s nice to see the myth of “apathetic college students too lazy to leave their futons” as busted.

We, having many decades left to live and the time to make a change, do have the right and obligation to care, to act up and speak out against injustices when they hit home, and this week has proven it. I hope this generation of Wisconsinites takes a lesson from those who traveled down to the capitol to stand up for what they felt was right. I hope our educators here on campus and across the state can take comfort in knowing that we are trying to make a huge difference for you through words and actions. We genuinely want you to stay in our lives at Eau Claire and (for those who are against the bill) we are fighting for your rights and for you to stay and keep influencing our lives.

Now, let’s take this to issues outside of Walker’s bill: I implore you to never lose this passion for all that you do in your life. Keep staying informed; keep standing up for what you think is right. You live in a country that allows — and should continue to allow — freedom of speech. Embrace that for what it is, and go out and make a difference. If we all pull together to make a difference, imagine how many experts who say, “The world is going to suck something fierce” we can prove wrong.

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Generation change