The challenges SGA Faces

It is a good thing for the students of MWSU that this year, the first since 2008, we had competition for the Office of President in Student Government Association. Both campaigns highlighted issues that concern students, and both candidates made their case for student representation. At the debate, both were respectful toward moderator and opponent and aware of their allotted response time, making them infinitely more polite than any of the national presidential candidates who have gone to the debate stage this year. I worked with Jacob as an RA, and Cody was a resident on my floor while I was an RA, so I know whoever is the next SGA President will be hard working, honest and do what he thinks is best. A curious thing about this election was how the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses were complimentary. Scott has the experience, connections, and political know-how to get much done in the name of the students, but strong ties to the Administration may impede the ability to stand up to the MWSU Administration when necessary. Beyers is driven to make sure the student voice is represented and clearly has the fortitude to step out of his comfort zone and take a stand, but a lack of familiarity with the practices and policy of SGA could make it easy for the administration to steamroll the student voice. My hope is that each candidate recognizes his own weaknesses as well as the strengths of his opponent and that whoever is elected (results should be out by the time this article is printed) asks for his opponent’s assistance to effectively represent the students. The foremost responsibility of SGA is to represent the voice of the student body on campus and to the MWSU Administration. While this requires keeping the students aware of what is going on in the Administration, the overall goal must be to communicate the needs and desires of the student body to the Administration. I want to congratulate all the new members of SGA; you have shown dedication and a desire to serve our community and have earned the responsibility and authority of your position. I also want to remind you of the situation you face. Earlier this semester the MWSU Administration came to SGA to ask it to consider imposing a student fee to help offset impending budget cuts. It did not come to ask what suggestions SGA and students had concerning where potential cuts should or should not be made. They want us to help fund the solution, but not help decide what the solution should be. This disregard for the student voice on critical issues is the central challenge you will face in representing the student body. You should work with the Administration, but should also keep in mind that it may not always put the interests of the students first. That will be your job. Gary Weidemann

Jacob Scott the best candidate for SGA

What’s the purpose of running for SGA President and Vice President? Every year something seems to happen where we only have one ticket running and there is no real contest. I think last year was the first year in a while where we actually had a competition going, until one candidate had to step down because of grades. That was an entirely different story, but what is really the purpose of running for SGA President and Vice President. I hear fellow classmates say things like SGA doesn’t matter; it won’t help you in the long run, or its time consuming. I can tell you that two out of the three comments I listed are entirely false. I would just like to inform those who think it’s a waste of time that it isn’t. In fact it does matter, it could help you in the long run, and yes it is time consuming. But, I am sure in the long run you would be happy to know that you have accomplished something that the last officers didn’t. I believe that if more students knew the benefits the President receives when elected, we would see more Senators, and students running for the position. I tried running last school year, but the guy I ran with didn’t meet all the requirements after signing up. I ran because I wanted to make a real difference. I think we need real leaders who care about the position and not about the power. I think that we found those qualities this year with Alison Norris and Jacob Scott, but I am worried to see who will get the position next school year. Jacob is a hard worker and I know he would be a great President, but if he decides to run who will he choose as his vice? I hope for the sake of our University that it is someone with experience in SGA, or another organization on campus. Next year we will need a President and V.P. who knows what to do and how to use the budget the best way possible. In my honest opinion, I believe if Jacob Scott decides to run he will be the best candidate for the job! I believe he understands that it is a position requiring a good bit of time. However, I feel that he truly cares about Missouri Western, and the students here, especially after seeing what he has done with SGA, and the progress he has made with Alison this year. So Jacob if you’re reading this, then consider the run for President! You have my support any day.  

Diversity extremists tear American ideals apart

Every generation of Americans must confront a critical question: what holds our nation together? The melting-pot concept is one of our defining features and an integral part of our history. It provides a common identity and a shared story that unites our diverse society. E pluribus unum: out of many, one. While our nation still falters, after 235 years of turbulence we are closer than ever to achieving equality among all Americans.  Multiculturalism positively contributes to this struggle by promoting diversity, tolerance, and fairness, as well as providing a valuable perspective through which to view social issues and establish needed reforms. It has helped our society begin to heal the horrendous self-inflicted wounds of slavery and racism. We should not forget, however, that too much of a good thing can be harmful, and diversity is no exception.  One new trend in analyzing American society is offered by diversity extremists, who view America as a nation of opposing clans. They deride our individuality in favor of ethnic groups. Some think the purpose of studying history is minority social therapy and even suggest that requiring standard English be spoken in class is “racist.” This cult of diversity rejects our national identity as one people, instead classifying all Americans into categories based on racial and ethnic criteria. These criteria, the diversity extremists say, define our nation and ourselves. America is not made of united individuals but of separate ethnic blocs; personal identity is not derived from our experiences as Americans but solely through experiences of race and ethnicity. If this fad, which has already saturated our education system, were to become accepted dogma, America would decline into a self-loathing, loosely knit confederation of tribal antagonists. That is how diversity extremists already see our nation. Their view, however, contradicts the reality of what has held America together throughout its existence. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, were the citizens of America inspired by ethnic categories to confront the threats of imperialism and fascism? When the Twin Towers fell, did we stand under banners of race to mourn those we lost and determine our response to terror? No. We transcended racial, ethnic, religious, gender, political, and class labels to unite as one people and face our challenges. Injustices like those perpetrated against Japanese Americans during World War II and the hostility toward Muslim citizens in our country today are tragic not because of the victim’s racial or ethnic status but because they are American. It is in our identity as Americans that we find our rights. Acts that violate those rights are deplorable because they disgrace our national ideal by unjustly attacking one of our own. Multiculturalism is a beneficial and needed perspective in our society, but extreme forms threaten our common story of the past, our solidarity in the present, and our shared aspirations for the future. Despite all of its shortcomings (of which there are plenty), our American experiment has produced one of the most successful and just societies in world. Things are not, nor will they ever be, perfect; utopias are the siren songs of lunatics and myth. But we are all in this together, and the sooner we accept it the better for striving as best we can to achieve our ideal and face the challenges that lay ahead.

Missouri primary is a waste of money

On February 7, we will witness a statewide exercise in bureaucratic futility. Missouri is spending about $8 million to hold a presidential primary, a nomination procedure that decides which candidate receives a state’s delegates. But not a single delegate will be awarded as a result of this election. Those silly little things will be determined a month later in a statewide caucus.

So why is our state wasting money on this election when our votes literally mean nothing? Is this what we were hoping for when we cast our ballots for our state officials? It is clear that the only representation politicians have in mind is that of themselves and the interest groups who have bought them and their votes, along with our democracy.

Therein lies my disgust with our political and electoral systems. A bunch of powerful lobbies form two separate political parties, who then pick a few candidates who “believe” what they’re told to believe and act in the same fashion. This February 7 contest is a symbol of how little our needs count. Clearly, our interests are far from the minds of our “leaders,” who are really just the custodians of corporate and bureaucratic interests.

The Democrat and the Republican Parties are two sets of special interest groups represented by crooked, scheming, vulturous party hacks. Anyone dumb enough to believe that the complex world we live in is actually so simple it can be adequately broken down and represented by two parties is getting exactly what they deserve from our current political morass.

The way I see it, there is only one candidate running for president who is not a slave to special interests and the status quo. He has beliefs and ideas, and stands by them, even when they aren’t popular in his own party. He is concerned with the state of our nation, not just the state of his poll numbers. He says the way to get big money out of politics is to severely restrict the government’s ability to affect big money—after all, if politicians can’t have their hands in everything, what would be the incentive to buy their votes? The media tend to discount and ignore him, which is possibly because he speaks sincerely and consistently and isn’t a scandalous soap opera of drama. Or maybe because the special interests that own the status quo own the media, too.

Interested? Then start looking. Don’t let yourselves be tools for Washington or Wall Street, the lobbyists or their custodians. They couldn’t care less about you. Look at the issues and candidates yourselves and try to see what’s really there, not the smoke and mirrors special interests and the media and the parties and their hacks want you to see.

Editor’s Soap Box: Community needs to step up

Ringing in the New Year, a fellow Eagle Scout, someone I know, confessed to the brutal murder of 22-year-old Alissa Shippert. The night I found out I was staying up late working on our website, GriffonNews.com. In our small community, people knew Quintin worked with Shippert. Somehow, he walked around for seven months, acting relatively normal, with murder on his conscience. What is done is done. Sadly, the community I call home can’t get passed that. Quintin’s facebook wall remains open and a litany of ignorant, belligerent, and downright hypocritical comments have been appearing on his wall since. Before I continue it should be noted that I know he confessed to both charges. I recognize that his mug shot, which has been run on national news now, shows no regret in the man’s face. For all intents and purposes, Quintin is a murderer. What I find further depressing is the actions of the rest of us. We cannot change Quintin. What he has done cannot be reversed. So, when people I went to school with post in his facebook that they will pray for his swift death or hope he gets raped in prison, I want to thank those people. Thank you. I now see how ignorant and soulless you are. Another posted that if Quintin ever got out, people would murder him. Now, I don’t want to turn this into a column about the death penalty and the moral implications of a society deeming someone unfit to live in it. You, dear poster on his facebook wall, are not society. We have courts, prosecutors, judges and juries to decide those things. Not one man, who has most likely never studied criminal justice or sociology. Please, for those of you who know Quintin and are connected to his now inactive social networking sites, don’t post there. He’s never going to see it. Do you really think they have facebook in prison? They don’t. You know who does have facebook: his family. His two sisters are finishing their last year at Platte County High and are probably being tortured by their peers already. My condolences to Miss Shippert’s family, but I also have sympathy for Quintin’s family. For everyone involved, the tragedy won’t end after his sentencing. These things linger, but hopefully not for long. Another ignorant idea coming out of this is that somehow, Quintin’s rank of Eagle Scout somehow had something to do with his violent tendencies, or that, being and Eagle Scout isn’t as much of an honor as our society says it is. Lighting strikes even the tallest of trees. I can assure you, that in no way, would the training of the Boy Scouts of America ever play into the amoral killing of an innocent woman. The last line of our Motto is “to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Those aren’t just words though, everything in scouting teaches us how to be a good person to ourselves and to each other. I know that scouting has made a significantly positive impact on my life. Does this mean that Scouting went wrong with Quintin? Not at all. It doesn’t mean anyone around Quintin did anything wrong, including his parents. It means that lightning strikes the tallest of trees, too. Ever since I had known Quintin he was never a violent or angry person. But, sometimes people just aren’t born with something. Our idea of evil is that evil is a possession of some sort, meaning that those who murder in cold blood have evil. Maybe evil is lacking something. Maybe no amount of scouting could fix that ever. I will defend, protect and adhere to the scouting way of life until I die. The actions of individuals do not reflect on an organization as a whole. If that were true, America, and all countries for that matter, would not be considered great societies to live in.