On Monday, large groups of people nationwide were expected to leave work and protest in support of illegal immigrants. Many of those who are protesting, like union organizer Jorge Rodriguez of Los Angeles, want full amnesty for any immigrant who is here illegally. In Los Angeles alone, upwards of 3 million people may protest. However, not all Mexicans or others that are in favor of illegal immigrant rights support this action. For instance, some Mexican radio stations have asked that demonstrations occur only after working hours, and Cardinal Mahoney, an outspoken supporter of immigration rights, has opposed a work and school walk out.
However, our sensitive and compassionate Democrats of the state legislature have decided to support a walkout by canceling work for themselves. Ironically, the Democrats want to leave work but still receive pay, so the Democrats have decided to have a “check-in day” on Monday and will not lose their $459 per day taxpayer handout. By checking in, the Democrats secure three days worth of salary, since spending more than three days out of session would have halted it (they would have been gone Saturday, Sunday and then Monday). On the other hand, Republican lawmakers will be working, but unfortunately won’t be able to hold any votes, since they lack the necessary numbers to force a legislative session. I guess those Democrats feel entitled to their pay regardless of actually doing a good job, but after all, I can’t think of any other Democrats who are better at wasting tax payers dollars than the ones in our state.
As college students, it seems beyond our power to correct the gridlock and ineffectiveness that part of our California government has been afflicted by. However, we do have the ability to make a small difference now. While midterm elections are not until this fall, there happens to be an ASI election this Thursday and Friday that I expect everyone to be voting in. Fortunately for Cal Poly, it appears (based on reading the massive hordes of stake signs) that most of the ASI candidates are hard working, incredibly happy (the signs have giant smiles) and ultimately have your best interests in mind. In fact, I was amazed to see that both the Cal Poly College Republicans and the Cal Poly Democrats were both supporting the same candidate for president. While both clubs have many of their members running for positions within ASI, they are supportive of each other. The most amazing sign of cooperation is the Facebook profile of the president of the Cal Poly Democrats – a candidate for the ASI Board of Directors, who is recommending the president of the Cal Poly College Republicans for the ASI Board of Directors. If only our real political leaders were that willing to compromise to this extent, we might actually have tremendous progress in our nation.
As college students, it’s important for us to take an active stake in the society that we live in. Unfortunately, we students live very busy lives and are not able to find time to research all the political issues. In fact, much of our current political information is limited by our sources, such as our professors and television, both of which are heavily biased and often uninformative. To balance these sources of information and get full value for your ASI fee, I encourage you to vote in the ASI election and to listen to political speakers who come to Cal Poly, such as conservative speaker Peter Schweizer coming Monday, May 8.
Brian Eller is a mechanical engineering sophomore and a Mustang Daily columnist.