Pay Attention, Students!

What happens around the world affects you, too.


Illustration by Josie Padilla

Karla Villegas Pineda, Opinion Editor

In Hong Kong, Haiti, Chile, Spain and all around the world, young people are protesting their governments, citing corruption in each nation’s highest offices. The fact that nearly all of these protests are being led by students indicates a generation’s growing mistrust of their political leaders.

 These protests should matter to everyone. Their outcome will dictate the political climate for the next several generations. Government reform is on the rise. Depending on the outcome of the protests, so is the stability of how people interact with each other.  

The protests in Hong Kong, Haiti, Chile and Spain are all in some way the effect of the misrepresentation of those nations in their respective governments. When a political party gains too much power, corruption is easily prone to run in the highest offices. This is when political leaders stop working for the people they’re meant to represent and start working for selfish reasons.

Some of the global protests get more coverage in America than others. This is based on how each country can impact the stability of the United States directly. However, it’s important to remember that, regardless of how directly each country’s stability affects us, in the grand scheme of things, their stability will matter to us. When American troops are sent overseas in the current era, the reason increasingly given is maintaining or creating “stability” in the country or region. 

Look closer at Hong Kong’s situation, for example. The anti-government protests are currently against police brutality and the persecution of Muslims, yet they began because of a proposed bill that would allow extradition to the Chinese mainland. The extraditions themselves would not necessarily affect the day-to-day of the average American. However, if Hong Kong were to separate completely from the Republic of China and become a democratic country, the result would be over seven million people being able to vote for their political leaders, thus having a more direct role in how the nation is run. And if for some reason Hong Kong were to regress into a more controlled region of China, the population would be muted, left without a say in how the government is ruling them.

 Political leaders come and go, but the ideas they leave behind tend to leave a historical mark. If the United States is passive while turmoil runs rampant in another nation, the effect of that turmoil will cause a global ripple effect sooner or later. Only by seeking a global view of the world will we be able to understand how to gain true stability. 

The only way the rising generation can take back and reclaim their governments of the future is to be politically active. Passivity can only enable the opinions of people in power. Vote in local elections, not just at the federal level, and educate the people around you about how politics affects us all.