Fighting for a better future is vital amid political turmoil

By Editorial Board

During a tumultuous time in current events, it’s easy to worry about the country’s future.

In a Nov. 1 poll by the American Psychological Association, 63 percent of 3,440 respondents said the nation’s future is a source of stress. 

Those results are understandable. Americans have seen violent demonstrations by white nationalists and counter protesters, an ongoing feud on Capitol Hill over health care and multiple devastating mass shootings. Amid these conflicts, it feels as if there are no solutions in sight.

For students, the future and what it holds are always a looming presence. From high schoolers choosing colleges to graduates finding a job, young adults are tasked with making decisions that will influence the rest of their lives.

These decisions are stressful enough, but students are also at the mercy of the nation’s leaders and the consequences of their actions.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has limited the rights of transgender students in public schools, rescinded guidelines for colleges and universities on handling campus sexual assault and overturned a ban that prevented those who defaulted on their student loans from paying high fees. 

Besides threats to equal and accessible education, President Donald Trump’s election alone has increased students’ stress. The University of California Los Angeles’ Institute for Democracy, Education and Access published a report in October 2017 on the effects the presidential election had on students. 

Nearly 80 percent of the 1,535 teachers surveyed said some of their students were concerned about their well-being or the well-being of others because of current events, including developments in immigration, environmental and LGBTQ issues. 

What’s going on in Washington is enough to make anyone want to ignore everything around them for the sake of their sanity. For students, it’s especially tough. Finding a balance between being informed and caring for oneself can be imperative for mental health.

A 24-hour cycle of anxiety-inducing news is tiring. It’s not selfish to take a break, but it is dangerous to do so on an extended basis. Those in power on a crusade to strip away rights don’t want constituents to know what is happening, and information can be the greatest tool in pushing for action. But there’s more to mobilizing for a better future than just being informed.

Cynicism runs rampant in times of political tension, and many are left feeling hopeless and unsure what to do. There must be a rallying cry to fight for what is right.

Young people have social media at their disposal to spread messages of solidarity and provide resources to their peers. That gesture by itself can be a turning point in viewing the future less bleakly.

Besides social media, there’s an array of methods for people to have their voices heard: writing letters to representatives, participating in demonstrations, attending meetings held by local officials and pushing for more political change.

To see a better future, we must work for it.