8 OPINION

Perspective of the Clarion editorial board

Opinion Editor: Mikk Lukk • clarionopinion@matcmadison.edu

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

OURVIEW

Move ceremony back to Coliseum
It's time to take MATC's commencement ceremony – you know, graduation – back to the Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center. Sure, the Coliseum is a little unsightly, but it is a lot more convenient. First of all, there is the issue of parking. The Coliseum has a great, big parking lot. Downtown, parking ramps are jammed and smelly. Once inside the Coliseum, there is ample seating. Not so at the Overture Center. Because of the Overture Center's limited seating, each graduating student is limited to five guest tickets. MATC is full of students who are the first in their families to graduate from college, and they want their families to be there to share the moment and their pride in their substantial accomplishments. Furthermore, many students have children of their own. Five tickets are simply not enough for those students from large or multigenerational families. Watching the ceremony on closed circuit television or live streaming video is just not the same. While faculty may be considered window dressing at the graduation ceremony, parading through in fancy frocks, students actually delight in their presence. Students frequently mention their instructors when asked about what makes their experiences at MATC so enriching. To have instructors at the ceremony makes students feel as though their teachers care about them as human beings. Our teachers have been with us day in and day out, guiding us through our programs, propping us up through crises and teaching us the skills we need to make new lives for ourselves and our families. Our instructors have invested much of themselves in their work and in helping us learn, and they want to see us graduate and shake our hands when we cross the stage. Unfortunately, at the Overture Center, they can't see a thing. Where they are now seated during the ceremony, the view is obstructed utterly. No longer do instructors get to be on stage, shake their students' hands or read their students' names when they receive their diplomas. They are relegated to Overture steerage. Bring graduation back to the Coliseum. We don't need hoity-toity ceremonies that we can't even bring our friends and families to. We're proud of our accomplishments, and we want everyone to see us make that big walk across the stage. Graduating college is a big deal. Let's let everyone see exactly what a big deal it is.

Products of

our generation

CHRISTY STETSON / CLARION

Young people today appear shallow, self-focused and materialistic; in a word, spoiled. No one gets to choose their upbringing: Boomers made the beds we must lie in.
MIKK LUKK
Clarion Opinion Editor “What’s wrong with young people these days?” Be prepared, it’s a question oft repeated, generation to generation, and one to which students should be ready to respond. While it may be tempting to defend the honor of self and generation, it’s simply not worth it. There is something wrong with young people these days, but blame doesn’t rest with those under 30. It’s how youth were raised, and the world they face, that has shaped such a generation. It’s not our fault our parents don’t like us, it’s theirs. They raised us and created the world in which we live. In retrospect, it is a small wonder the kids of today are no good: we live in a no-good world. The death of Kurt Vonnegut throws into sharp relief the great cultural gap that separates the young and our predecessors. Vonnegut was the last of a wave of authors who dared, authors who mattered. Those reared in the previous generation had the benefit of a pantheon of literary heroes; men and women who dared to think, challenge and innovate. Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, Ayn Rand and Hunter S. Thompson were but a few of the authors who created a literary canon that defined a generation. The previous generation had the benefit of a literary culture, and the adults of their era cared and created. The literary celebrities of our world are far less impressive. Stephen King, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Tom Clancy and J. K. Rowling have climbed Olympus selling to young and old alike. Their works make great movies, unlike their predecessors. Of course, their works also fail to make the foundation of any coherent or legitimate worldview. Their authors challenged the legitimacy and reality of the American dream, ours distract from its failure. Likewise, the world recently lost James Brown. Like so many other musicians of the previous generation, Brown publicly exercised his conscience. He urged a generation to “Say It Loud,” and he was not alone. John Lennon, Bob Dylan and persisted, determined not to let racism prevent his pursuit of excellence. In 2006, Barry Bonds became only the second person to pass that mark. He too endured public tribulations, though he was not a pariah because of the color of his skin, but the content of blood. Bonds persisted, determined not to let a failed drug test and a grand jury investigation into other impropriety prevent his pursuit of a record at all costs. Muhammad Ali went to prison for saying no to war, Mike Tyson went to prison because he didn’t understand “no means no.” With other facets of popular culture, so it goes. But it is not popular culture alone to blame, and as Charles Barkley reminded America, athletes are not role-models. Apparently, neither are America’s leaders. In 1974, President Richard Nixon’s administration finally crumbled under the weight of the Watergate scandal. A two-year investigation resulted in the removal of a corrupt and dishonest executive. The Watergate scandal was important not only because of the break-in, but the pattern of lies and cover-ups that followed. Twenty-two years later, Ronald Reagan walked away from IranContra. Nixon was forced to resign for ordering, and lying about, breaking and entering. Ronald Reagan got away with selling arms to an enemy of the state. The proceeds were illegally sent to a group known to the See YOUTH, Page 9

MADISON AREA TECHNICAL COLLEGE

2006-07

EDITORIAL BOARD AMY KNAPP, Editor in Chief MIKK LUKK, Opinion Editor MELISSA STELTER, News Editor LINDSEY HINKEL, Arts & Culture Edtior CHRIS DORSEY, Sports Editor LETTERS POLICY Letters to the editor should be typed or written legibly, be 250 words or less, and include the writer’s name, phone number and e-mail address. The Clarion reserves the right to refuse to publish any editorial submission or advertisement, which may be edited for length, taste and grammar. All submissions become the property of The Clarion and may be used for publication. Drop letters off at The Clarion office, Room 130 Truax, or e-mail them to clarioned@matcmadison.edu.

We emerge a generation reared to be consumers above all else.
a host of others parlayed pop culture success into cultural relevance. The generation that sang “Imagine” has created neither a world nor an artistic legacy worthy of their roots. Instead, the musical landscape our parents have generated began with “Material Girl,” and the cultural message has degenerated ever since. In 1974, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record despite threats against his life. Aaron

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Opinion Editor: Mikk Lukk • clarionopinion@matcmadison.edu

OPINION
Things to care about by Mikk Lukk

9

W

LETTERTO THEEDITOR

hen I came to MATC as a returning student after 10 years, I was terrified to say the least. Business Professionals of America has changed my life forever. I would especially like to thank my advisors Mark Finger and Jeff Quinlan for all they have done for me. They have become more than just instructors and advisors, but also friends. They have encouraged me to follow my dreams and helped me create goals for myself they knew I could achieve. I have accomplished all of those goals and then some. I have learned you can achieve anything you want to. Being the chapter president of BPA at MATC has given me great leadership experience while erasing my fear of public speaking. Now I have the confidence I need upon graduation to speak in front of any size group at my workplace. Spending time with other members on the local and state level helping our community's food pantry tops my list of gratifying experiences with BPA. You don't appreciate what you have until it is gone, and working with the hungry in Madison has given me a greater understanding of how people less fortunate than I am feel. Thank you to everyone who has made BPA such an important part of my college experience. My time at MATC and with BPA has been a most valuable experience and I will miss all of you. – Teri Ott

Boris Yeltsin: He did it his way
VLADIMIR SIMOnOV
RIA Novosti / MCT MOSCOW – President Bush sees Boris Yeltsin as a historic figure who served his country at a time of great change. Prime Minister Tony Blair recalls the Russian leader as an outstanding statesman who realized how much Russia needed democratic and economic reforms. Javier Solana, a European Union official and former secretary-general of NATO, thinks that Yeltsin displayed incredible foresight and courage when he decided to sign a hitherto unthinkable agreement on Russian cooperation with the North Atlantic alliance in the early 1990s. These statements could be summed up in the following words, which the West could write on a wreath to lay at the grave of Russia’s first elected president: “We are grateful to you for creating a Russia that no longer scares us.” In other words, Yeltsin made Russia look normal in the eyes of the civilized world. He gave his people three simple, fundamental rights that citizens of civilized countries have enjoyed for a long time. Under Yeltsin, Russians received the opportunity to say what they thought, elect who they liked to major posts and own private property, be it a house in the Moscow suburbs or a villa in Nice, although the majority could buy the latter only in theory. Having embarked on the path of democracy and the market economy, no matter how awful it seemed to some initially, the mysterious and dangerous communist-controlled Russia turned into a sensible and understandable country. Russians became more like Westerners. Perhaps at that moment, when differences were swept away, the Cold War came to an end. Credit for this historic accomplishment largely goes to Yeltsin as well. By the end of his eight-year-long rule, Boris Yeltsin had lost the admiration of his compatriots. His popularity in Russia, but not in the West, had gone down. Well-to-do analysts watching events in Russia from afar thought that nothing tragic was happening. To be more precise, they believed that Russia had to go through its ordeals like any country undergoing a great change. The West shares our grief because it also understands the greatness of the late Russian president. After all, it was Yeltsin who buried communism and made Russia part of the free world. In history textbooks he will always be remembered as a giant Russian standing on a tank, the man who prevented his country’s return to the gloomy era of totalitarianism. Frank Sinatra once sang “I did it my way.” The same words can be applied to Yeltsin. He did it his way, and both Russia and the West are grateful to him for choosing freedom. ____ The Washington Bureau of RIA Novosti can be reached at (202) 328-3238, or novosti@comcast.net.

THREEISSUES
THE FUTURE IS YOURS TO SHAPE
Here are three things you can do in the next 12 months to make a difference to your future, your state's future, your country's future and the world's. Your vote is your voice. Let it be heard.

1

VOTE In THE WISCOnSIn PRIMARY

It may not seem important, but voting in a primary election is one of the biggest effects a voter can have on his or her democracy. Voting in a primary means choosing who will be on the ballot when the national election rolls around on Nov. 4, 2008. Fewer than one-third as many voters turned out for the presidential primary in 2004 compared to the presidential election, which means your vote goes three times further in determining who gets on the ballot. The Wisconsin Presidential Primary is on Feb. 17, 2008.

2

ATTEnD A CAnDIDATE DEBATE

YOUTH, Continued from page 8
administration to be prolific cocaine traffickers. Nixon’s indiscretion destroyed his career and legacy, Reagan’s destroyed the line between right and wrong. There is no reason to wonder how George W. Bush has lasted so long; he’s even placed some of the guilty back into power. We emerge a generation reared to be consumers above all else. The philosophy of buy now, pay later is no longer an option; it is the foundation of domestic policy. The old mantra of “work and ye shall prosper” disappeared before today’s youth learned to read, replaced by immediate gratification as the rightful norm. Is it any wonder the generation of tomorrow is perceived as impatient or undisciplined? We’ve been given alternatives and told we deserve them all. Fast food replaced prepared meals, and “two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun” became the great American meal. With all those calories came weight gain, and with weight gain came even more alternatives. Exercise gave way to diet pills, pills to liposuction, liposuction to bariatric surgery, and bariatric surgery to drugs that inhibit digestion. Exercise and diet are passé, we have pharmacology. What to eat is no longer an important decision, neither is how much. Instead the question is what the doctor will do to take care of the pounds. Nearly everything we consume today has been designed to be replaced at an ever-accelerating pace. Cheap, mass-produced substitutes have flooded the market. This is a generation that graduated from disposable diapers to disposable computers. The short lives of consumer goods have become so commonplace that things get thrown out far before they’re worn out; we simply don’t know what to do with goods that last. A stitch in time saves nine, but waste stimulates the economy. Nobody gets to choose their elders, much less the era of their birth. Children don’t get to choose if their astronauts go to the moon or if they drive cross-country in diapers. This is the Baby Boomer’s world, young people today just grew up in it. Young people today are not a disease; we are a symptom, a product of the people and environment that raised us. We never stood a chance.

Advertisements and press releases can be misleading. Instead of relying on other people for information, attend a political forum or debate. Candidates for all kinds of political offices will be holding events all around Wisconsin. Debates and forums give voters the chance to see candidates speaking off the cuff, unscripted. The camera can lie, but face to face, it’s a lot harder to bend the truth. For information on events, look to the newspaper, or navigate to the Wisconsin League of Women Voters at lwvwi.org.

3

TALK

Talk isn’t cheap. Keep the discussion going, keep those around you informed, and keep the issues that matter alive. When it comes time to choose a candidate on Election Day, information is what counts. Furthermore, it’s hard to tell who can be convinced to change their mind or change their position on a given issue, so press your agenda and change some minds. Keep informed, keep the conversation going, and keep in mind it’s your world, you deserve to shape it!

Questions asked to you, our readers

THEBUZZ

What's the stupidest thing you've done over summer break?
My car broke down on the border of Florida. Staying in Wisconsin. I almost got fired for wakeboarding nude at a wakeboarding camp. Jake Gerhardt I didn't pay to get my tattoo finished.

Angie Romano

Chad Culver

Steve Salerno