How-to

Hallie Beard

Column by Hallie Beard, Junior from Louisville, Ky.

Once, my mother pointed out to me that as soon as we are taught to do something, we’re then taught how not to do it.

A child learns how to speak and immediately how not to speak; how to dress and how not to dress; how to think and how not to think.

I’ve been reminded of this observation numerous times in my life since she explained it to me, and last week, I was reminded again.

As I hope all of my readers know, students from Murray State and other Kentucky universities went to Frankfort, Kentucky last Thursday for the March for Higher Education, a protest against Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget cuts.

While we can’t know right now if our presence made a difference, I truly believe it did; legislators were well aware of our actions and some even joined the shivering crowd to share messages of support.

In general, we received positive feedback and much-needed support from fellow students and professors leading up to the march, as well as during it.

Professors canceled classes, students raised money and rival universities came together all for this cause. Despite all our support, though, I still encountered students at Murray State who seemed to think our efforts wouldn’t matter – that this problem Gov. Bevin has thrown at us is just too big to fix.

This is where my mother’s point comes in: older adults (and pretentious students) love to destroy college students for their political apathy or ignorance and tell them to get involved, usually only in the form of voting (and only with regard to the act of voting itself – never mind the part about actually knowing and believing in a candidate’s platform).

I’m not saying their preachy efforts are displaced at times; students our age should be encouraged to take action on beliefs they’ve thoroughly examined and defended. But as soon as we’re told to get political and make our voices heard, someone chimes in to say, “No, not like that – that won’t work,” itching for the silent addition of, “You childish fool!”

Let me be clear that I do not hold myself, or any of the students who attended the march, to be superior to those students or adults who thought we wasted our time on those Capitol steps.

I’m not entirely sure I would have attended the march as a freshman or if I would have joined those who scoffed at our attempts.

I’m hoping those who didn’t attend (and didn’t want to attend) have a change of heart, see the value in our actions and start taking action, too. That, or introduce an alternate plan.

We cannot criticize those who take responsive action without offering other suggestions or explaining why the action or cause itself is faulty. That would be like telling a child not to say a curse word just because it’s bad and children shouldn’t say bad things – but we definitely don’t do that.

There will always be students who need to be pushed when it comes to critical thinking and acting on beliefs, just as there will always be adults who deserve the same prodding. But don’t paint us all with the same brush, and don’t say we don’t know what we’re doing.

We listen. We react. We speak when spoken to and spoken at. If we’re doing something unfavorable, it’s only because we do what we’re told.

Stay woke, y’all.