civic lesson for YSHS students
Yellow Springs High School students certainly seem to have made a positive
impression on Washington, D.C., as part of a group of people who converged
last weekend on our nations capital for a peace rally. YSHS students
wearing colorful yellow headbands and carrying banners and puppets
grabbed the attention of many adults. People noticed that a group
of students gave up their weekend to travel to Washington for what is
essentially a political issue: a possible war against Iraq. Jesse Jackson
called them the leaders of the future.
We should be proud of our young people, many of whom are too young to
vote in the Nov. 5 election. For them this trip was the ultimate lesson
in civic engagement. And the students noticed and learned. Several said
the day changed them and they now realize they can make a difference.
They also learned that the people can have a voice in the world.
The students, organized by YSHS seniors Ashlee Cooper and Matt Wallace,
defy the notion that todays youth are only interested in materialistic
things, TV and themselves. They showed passion, ambition, courage. They
showed that they have the stuff to lead.
I believe in democracy
By Michael Hogan Jr.
Eleven years ago, Paul Wellstone, the former Democratic senator from Minnesota,
voted against the first war with Iraq. He was one of only a handful to
Three weeks ago, despite a fiercely close re-election campaign, Wellstone
voted against another Bush administrations war resolution, once
again putting Wellstone in a small but vocal minority. It seems fitting
that one of the first and last actions Wellstone took as a senator was
to speak out against gross injustice.
Last Friday, Oct. 25, Wellstone, along with his wife, one of his daughters
and several campaign staffers died when their plane went down on a cold,
rainy day in Northern Minnesota.
In one of his previous campaigns, he told a crowd that he stuck
up for the little fellers, not the Rockefellers of the world. Indeed,
up until Wellstone came along, Congress had seen very little defense for
issues related to workers, family farmers, the environment, human rights
More than a decade since his first upset victory over a well-financed
Republican, I can honestly say that Wellstone was (and still is) the reason
I am a political science major, a voter and a believer in democracy. Wellstone
wasnt just a politician; to millions of people he was a voice. He
was the collective assertion of the egalitarianism and progress that an
entire society wanted dearly.
At first, the questions of who will take Wellstones place on the
ballot Tuesday and the future of American politics seemed crass. Upon
thinking on it further, I find those questions comforting. It shows that
people care about the issues Senator Wellstone fought for over the course
of his life. It shows that these issues arent just dissenting opinions,
but instead, they go to the core of our hopes for the future. Wellstone
taught America that progressive politics are still very potent in these
times of conservatism, though I think his greatest accomplishment was
simply letting ordinary people see that they can effect change themselves.
In a place like Yellow Springs you see people working for change every
day: from Yellow Springs High School students Matt Wallace and Ashlee
Cooper organizing a trip to an anti-war protest, to local residents running
for office themselves, to a certain weekly newspaper that tries to do
I write this not solely as a eulogy for Wellstone, but also as an encouragement.
Our greatest responsibility to each other is to defend and expand these
voices. Although my absentee ballot supporting Wellstone sits unopened
right now in a bin somewhere in St. Paul, Minn., I only consider it partially
If you are registered to vote, whereever you are, please do so. One of
the easiest yet most fundamental functions of democracy is exercising
your right to choose those who will reflect our society in our state and
Michael Hogan Jr., a fourth-year student at Antioch College, is working
on co-op as a reporter at the Yellow Springs News.