The election is over.
All the speeches have been made. All the crowds have dispersed. All the cheers of excitement have dwindled. And President Barack Obama will lead the nation for another four years.
Now perhaps some political progress can be made.
Progress is defined as moving forward toward a destination. As a generation, we should embrace the claim that we are the most progressive one yet. Real and meaningful change is bound to happen if we push for it.
But just because the campaign is over doesn’t mean voters can stop being diligent.
The unfortunate reality of this nation’s politics is that most people only pay attention in the few months leading up to a presidential election. But it is even more important to be politically active once the rallies have ended and the voting booths have closed.
The months following the election are when active political participation is most important. It is the time when we have to hold politicians to their word.
The election is merely the first battle of many to come. The legislative arguments that will happen shortly in the federal government and in each state are bound to have huge impacts on the country going forward.
Just days after the election, the debate over the “fiscal cliff” is already upon us. In a move that is bound to incur controversy in a House dominated by Republicans, Obama asked members of Congress to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans Friday.
And as young voters, we should play a role in the debate on Capitol Hill. Students shouldn’t hesitate to contact their local representatives or get involved with student advocacy groups on campus just because the election is over and we are no longer watching the news 24/7.
As students at GW, many of us are particularly knowledgeable and interested in government. We are the heirs of decisions made today, which is why it’s important that we maintain a high level of involvement.
Change has not come easily, and there will undoubtedly be difficult days to come. But that’s why it’s so important that we stay informed. Our country will only move closer to perfection if we remain involved and engaged in the process year-round.
Just look at all we have accomplished in such a short time. Nineteen women are now members of the U.S. Senate – one of whom is its first openly gay woman to the Senate. Maryland, Maine and Washington approved same-sex marriage for the first time in a referendum. Nineteen women are now members of the United States Senate. And personal marijuana use is now legal in Washington and Colorado.
As students, we must be even more diligent than ever. We have to hold our politicians accountable. With issues like ending the wars overseas, environmental protection, student loans and reproductive rights now being discussed, there is too much at stake.
We all expect our politicians to act on their campaign platforms. But they won’t keep their promises unless we educate our peers and keep fighting for student-related issues.
The election might be over, but there is still more work to be done.
Jaggar DeMarco is a freshman majoring in political communication.