Two weeks ago, anyone walking around campus and staring at their shoes would have noticed an abundance of information chalked on the sidewalks. Some were quotes by President Bush and other Republicans (some intelligent, some not so much), some had words crossed out or changed, some were statistics and facts, but they all represented one thing - smear campaigns on chalkings by the College Republicans. By far the most talked about were the words "College Republicans" written in front of Milne Library, with the word "racists" coming off of the "r".
While I was amused by some of the quotes and intrigued by some of the facts, the whole thing ultimately made me very uneasy. It is obvious that our political system today is not what it should be. Mudslinging, scandals and lying politicians are not what the democratic system was founded on, but this is what it has become. In a world of nuclear weaponry and terrorism, we live in a dangerous time and should be able to count on our government for guidance that is not muddled with hidden agendas and dishonesty. It is often hard to tell what information is reliable, when everything we are told is automatically criticized by the opposing viewpoint. How is a responsible voter expected to make an informed decision when he or she can't even see the facts through the dirt?
On the Geneseo campus, many students are knowledgeable and involved, holding peace and political rallies, passing out information and trying to get their views out there. In a short time, our generation will be running this country, and the colleges are the places where learning and leadership are taught, promoted and carried into the real world. This is why this chalking incident makes me so nervous. If a group of 18- to 23-year-olds, fresh, young college students being introduced to new ideas everyday, think the only way to get support for their message is by bashing the other viewpoint, what can we expect the country and the world to come to in the years ahead?
No, not all Republicans are extremely conservative, devotedly religious or racist. No, not all Democrats are hippies, atheists or radicals. Stereotyping and mudslinging get us nowhere in the overall scheme of things, except to create huge canyons between two groups that, like it or not, need to coexist to run this country.
I now find myself wondering if I should be more concerned about the future of the United States. Since coming to Geneseo, I have looked forward to the future and trusted that the bright ideas I have heard on this and other college campuses will be implemented to turn things around for us and the rest of the world. But now I am wondering if a move to Canada might be best. Because what this spectacle has proven to me is that hate is still alive and well, that honest politics and climbing to the top through hard work are no longer important values, and that lying down with the dogs is acceptable regardless of how many fleas you come up with. It appalls me.