Letter to the Editor

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

In his Nov. 8 Forum article, “Obama’s shellacking leads to word’s revival,” Patrick Gage Kelley explained that President Obama’s renewed responsibility to the populace is to not only push his legislation, but to sell it — and, I would add, to get young voters to sell it, too.

Since leaving Carnegie Mellon and moving to Washington, D.C. to work for the federal government, I’ve come to feel overwhelmed by a constant shellacking of elected officials, and the joy seemingly felt by those doing the shellacking. That is, the sheer number of current politicians, hopeful politicians, former politicians, and political hangers-on clouds the discourse of this pseudo-Southern city. They fill it with so much language, and often so little action, that it is difficult to assume the entire citizenship of the nation — not just its president — has not been shellacked.

As Kelley noted, President Obama blamed himself for the Democrats’ “shellacking” following the midterm elections and the Republican resurgence in the House. In an interview with 60 Minutes, the president backhandedly complimented himself, acknowledging that his administration over the past two years has done too much of the doing, and not enough of the talking, for the likes of Washington. In a way, he is right, as Kelley explains — a president whose 2008 campaign was so well executed and carefully articulated should have understood the need to consistently clarify the tone and language of his legislative actions since taking office.

Despite low voter turnout rates and a supposed return of young voter apathy, I believe young, politically active, or otherwise socially aware voters are tuned in to what is happening in the political realm. Whether you still wear your worn-out “Yes We Can” T-shirt to yoga on Saturdays or are considering naming your first-born child Rand, you, as members of the Carnegie Mellon community, are not shrouded in the constant shellacking of the Washington anti-activism community, and I implore you to take advantage of that fact.

It is evident that fringe groups, not necessarily political but indeed controversial in nature, will play an increasingly prominent role in the 2012 elections — so get involved early. If you have a penchant for preserving marine ecosystems on the West Coast, reach out to Save the Bay and donate your talents, even from Pittsburgh. If you believe women’s rights may have been compromised by the election of anti-choice representatives, ask Planned Parenthood where they could use volunteers. No matter what you believe, and on what side of the political divide you fall, don’t let defeat be part of your vocabulary — and proactively ensure you will not be on the receiving end of the shellacking in two years.