Yes, the presidential election is an important topic to educate yourself on, my fellow millennials, but there are other things you need to be worried about. So, in case you missed it, here are some current issues that you should at least know about as a member of one of the most influential voting blocs in America. Let’s start local and go from there.
The Mayoral Race
Let’s be honest. The presidential race is important, but local elections are where you are going to see the most direct change. School boards and city councils make decisions that directly affect people, so take some time to at least read some summaries of issues before heading to vote. This can be your start.
You’ve probably seen the signs around Fayetteville, so hopefully you know that the fight to be mayor over our fair city is a fierce one. Lioneld Jordan versus Tom Terminella versus Ron Baucom. From the looks of it, it seems to be a battle of vision. Jordan is a traditional Fayetteville guy. He has roots in the community and has served the city for 16 years, and he supports the “Fayetteville way” of general funkiness. He’s held the position for the past eight years as the city has grown in size and popularity. Terminella is the opposition, a developer and real estate guy who opposes regulations placed on businesses and wants to encourage more economic growth. He’s a businessman with no previous political experience, but he’s raring to provide a new direction. Baucom is the third candidate that you don’t see too many signs for, but he’s all for a more “fiscally responsible” city, according to one Channel 5 story. Checking out each of their platforms only takes a quick Google search, then, boom, you’re an educated voter.
Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline Protest
According to NPR, “Energy Transfer Partners is trying to build a $3.8 billion pipeline to shuttle more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day across four states.” However, that pipeline, referred to as the Dakota Access Pipeline or DAPL, will desecrate sacred Sioux sites and put their only source of drinkable water at risk of contamination.
The protesters are in Standing Rock, North Dakota, and things have started to get violent as militarized police have used tactics that, according to the LA Times, included using mace, sound cannons, attack dogs, percussion grenades and non-lethal shotguns. They even kept arrested protesters in dog kennels. The protests have sparked outrage and support across the country, and it’s inspiring discussions on the treatment of protesters and free speech.
This is one of those that is going severely underreported. Cold War tensions are beginning to arise again as US and Russian ties in Syria have led to slinging accusations; in fact, one CNN article calls it an outright conflict. Hillary Clinton even threatened Russia with military force after cyberattacks were traced to our old enemy. The rhetoric here is turning terrifyingly militant, and that is something everyone should be watching.
There’s no going back on what mankind has done to the planet. Climate change is overwhelmingly accepted by scientists and just about everyone else besides right-leaning politicians, and it’s only going to get worse. The United Nations met in Paris last year and set goals on limiting emissions, but things will continue to get dimmer unless everyone makes more of an effort. One National Geographic affiliate provided a few ways to limit your carbon footprint on the daily, including things like eating fewer burgers – cow farts were a serious enemy of the ozone layer – and turning off your lights. The projections are dismal. To begin your research, look up an updated map of Louisiana. Man sure is a shaper of his environment because ‘The Boot’ is dwindling into a sock.
Keep your eyes open, my friends, and stay educated on the world around you. There’s more going on that will directly affect you than you think.