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Editorial: Support for a campaign shouldn't have a price tag

College students shouldn’t be exploited by electoral campaign efforts

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014

Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 21:01

Local and citywide elections are quickly approaching with the primaries taking place on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Positions held by District City councilmen and women, as well as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, are either up for re-election or facing new candidates.

With bigger budgets and strategically positioned signs, every year campaigns are becoming more aggressive than the last.

Over the past two weeks, going back to school has meant facing clipboards and sweater vests stopping us on the way to class asking, “Hey, do you want to make $11 an hour?”

Before accepting the job to go door-to-door handing out surveys and polls, consider how your beliefs compare to the candidate you are being paid to promote.

According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2010, 14 percent of recent college undergraduates faced unemployment after entering the job market. Considering this, $11 an hour is an attention-grabbing offer.

According to WWLTV.com, Landrieu had $1.2 million on hand to spend on his campaign at the end of the last reporting period.

A large campaign budget allows an even larger market for soliciting support from unemployed and “in-debt-up-to-our-eyeballs” college students.

By approaching students with a temporary paying job, the “sweater vest clipboard holders” are soliciting support for a candidates campaign by exploiting the unemployment crisis our generation is facing.

Support of a government official, and votes cast by citizens, should reflect the views and hopes for the future of the community. By approaching campaigning purely as an economic opportunity, our voice as individuals is devalued into being a mere product.

When you don’t consider how your beliefs align with the candidate you are rallying support for, then you are recklessly endangering the possibility of having a powerful community voice.

For example public policy reform held by elected office can change the fate of children in the New Orleans education system. The National Center for Education Statistics ranked Louisiana as the second-worst state in the country for public education.

“He who controls the [statewide evaluation] formula controls the fate of our public schools,” said Steve Monaghan, head of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, to the Advocate.

There is a dire need for a creative candidate that can address these issues such as education and more.

When you are too easily bought into campaigning and do not consider where you side in the election the opportunity for progress can disappear
The next time you are approached by a campaign-goon for $11 an hour job offer, know what you stand for and decide what kind of New Orleans you would like to see emerge as a result of the election.


 

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