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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shame on you!

Published: September 26, 2008
Section: Opinions

Dear Reader,

Shame on you. Yes, you.


Let’s put it this way, can you tell me what was happening on the great lawn on Wednesday between noon and four? No? That’s why.

It was student event’s “Rock the Vote” event, as part of Citizenship Week. You know, the event where you were supposed to show up, learn about the Presidential candidate’s stances on the issues, register to vote, and maybe get some free pizza and ride the mechanical bull while you were there? Ring a bell?

It should only ring a bell for about 330 of the 3,216 of you, tops.

Why 330? Because that’s how many of you actually attended.

How do I know how many of you attended? Because student events ordered 40 pizzas. There are eight slices per pizza. They tried to hand out one piece of pizza per student—320 students. They ran out of pizza at 2:30 p.m., the same time that I arrived at the event to table for Positive Foundations. Between 2:30 and the end of the event, I saw no more than ten students attend.

That is abysmal.

To those 330 students, I commend you on your actions, and I apologize for the remainder of this piece.

But to the rest of you, shame on you.

Shame on you for neglecting to show up and register to vote. If you are over 18, and a U.S. citizen, there is no reason to not register. Voting is a right in this country, but it is a right that we are privileged is recognized in this country. We are fortunate to be born in a country that allows for universal suffrage, and we are fortunate to be born in the 21st century where there is universal suffrage. To not vote, to not register, is an insult to the legacy and memory of those around the world who fought—and are still fighting—for their right to vote to be recognized. They fought for you.

Shame on you for not showing up: even if you are already registered to vote. Shame on you for not taking it upon yourself to attend and get informed about the candidates and the issues. Shame on you for neglecting your duty, as a registered voter, to make an educated choice in this election.

Shame on you even if you already are informed on the issues, even if you already have decided whom you are voting for. Shame on you for understanding the importance of voting, but not showing your support for an event that promotes it. If you believe in it’s importance, you should be willing to teach others about it. Attending “Rock the Vote” was the easiest way to do that.

Shame on you for being a hypocrite. For being proud to call yourself a student at what you say is a university centered on social justice and student activism while failing to support an event which promotes voting. Voting is, after all, the first step toward becoming an activist.

Shame on you, who have constantly complained that the Brandeis campus isn’t activist enough for not coming out to show your support for an event which, not only is activist in nature, but is active toward a goal we can all agree upon—voting, whichever way you choose.

And shame on you for, in not showing up, shaking my belief in the idea that this is a university whose student body is made up of activists. Shame on you for making me—who reads the Declaration of Independence out loud every July 4th to remind myself of our nations history, to remind myself that living in this nation where to have voting as a right is a privilege—feel like an idiot for not only believing, but defending the idea that the so called activists on this campus were reading that Declaration of Independence right along with me. Shame on you for giving me the false belief that I was on a campus with activists just like myself.

Most of all, shame on me for believing you.


Ariel Wittenberg