Issues are still important after election

The recent election cycle was a tiring process for nearly everyone remotely involved, and the country was finally allowed to exhale on November 5th after a two year-long frenzy. Something unexpected happened, however, when several people realized that they actually miss all of the hype and political fervor. "I couldn’t even vote, but not having the election to look forward to and talk about is kind of weird," freshman Jessie Reynolds said. To some, the lack of an upcoming election has diminished their passion for activism. While many McCain supporters may feel upset about the election, and Obama supporters are still celebrating their historic win, there are still many issues that both sides care about that do not go away with the election of a new president. For activists of either mindset, this is a great time to jump on a new bandwagon and make sure that President-elect Obama hears their concerns. Here are a few issues that might prompt people to stay involved. Poverty in the US Students at Ames High have always been active in fighting world poverty, with SHEPH being one of the most popular clubs in the school, and Key Club, an organization that does work for local and domestic poverty. With the current state of the economy, however, there has never been a greater need, in our lifetime at least, for a joint effort by citizens to help those who have been hit the hardest. This is not an issue that the government can fix on its own; the government cannot bail out everyone. There are many programs throughout the community in which you can get involved, including ones with Youth and Shelter Services, Good Neighbor, and various food pantries and soup kitchens. Not everyone is able to contribute monetarily but this is an issue that benefits from donations of time as well as money and goods. Gay Rights No matter which side you are on, gay rights is becoming an increasingly hot topic, especially since Proposition 8 passed in California, banning gay marriage. Since that decision, there have been rallies all over California and the nation. This is an issue that is bound to be an important one during Obama’s presidency, and there will most likely be even more states deciding on gay marriage in the near future. Unlike many issues today, gay marriage is one where citizens in some states have the power to ban it or allow it (even if indirectly via elections), so for those with strong feelings about gay rights, one way or the other, this is the time to voice those opinions. Climate Change We’ve all been warned about the serious effects of global warming, and President-elect Obama has pledged to increase energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy, but this is an issue where people’s actions, regardless of government policies, can make a huge difference. Average citizens can be just as effective by boycotting wasteful companies and keeping their opinions in the public eye. Just because the US elected a candidate that might actually sign the Kyoto Protocol, and the larger efforts, such as attacking big oil and the automobile industry might be progressing, does not mean we can sit back and relax; it only makes the timing better for enhancing our efforts. These are challenging times, and there is ample opportunity for professional and armchair activists to take advantage of this pivotal moment in the US. Whatever your political affiliation, there are several issues that are still relevant that do not have to be forgotten.