Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

The high of this election season has begun to fade, and the students of Carnegie Mellon seem to be back to life as usual. As we bundle up to keep warm and shuffle quietly to class, the absence of daily confrontations for voter registration and debate-watching parties may have let our sense of political involvement wane as the new administration has been given the keys to our government.

Just a few months ago, it would have taken sequestering yourself in your room all day to avoid talk about Obama’s newest call for change or Palin’s latest blunder and resultant spot-on parody from Tina Fey. But now small talk has again returned to grumbles about this week’s problem set or essay.

With the historic Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama comes the responsibility of America’s citizens to hold our new political leaders accountable. We have seen how college students were truly able to rock the vote and become a voice that must be listened to and respected. Just because we may or may not have successfully elected a candidate to be our nation’s leader does not mean that our duties as the voting public have ended.

Even during his first few days in office, our new President has already set a number of changes in motion, by signing executive orders to reverse legislation set in place by President Bush. Two weeks ago he reversed the Mexico City Policy and called for an exception to one of his own restrictions on lobbyists. These are not inconsequential pieces of legislation, but rather major changes to U.S. policy.

A historic benchmark for presidents has been their performance over the first 100 days in office. Franklin Roosevelt was able to pass 15 bills during the Great Depression, helping to stabilize an economy in which citizens were rushing to banks and pulling out their money and over a quarter of the workforce was unemployed.

And of course we know that in many of the same ways Obama has stepped into a country in crisis, with his verve and ambition. We must not drift back to our state of political complacency here on campus, though, and trust that all is in order for the next four years. I hope that we will continue in the careful examinations of this new administration so that we may take advantage of the administration’s new sense of promised transparency and hold it accountable for carrying out its duties to the American people.

J.W. Ramp
Junior, CivE
Publisher, The Tartan