[Opinion] – Why National?

The year is 2000. IâÄôm in an airport hangar, surrounded by screaming Republicans and my fellow eighth grade classmates. After presidential nominee George W. Bush makes a speech, he turns my direction while exiting the stage. He pauses, smiling and shaking hands with supporters and my classmates. HeâÄôs a breath away from me. That moment never struck me until seven years later when I was covering BushâÄôs visit to Minnesota after the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed. The muscle of the federal government seemed srickingly apparent when Bush exited Air Force One âÄî a 231-foot- long and 63-foot-high Boeing 747 âÄî looking as small as a wedding cake figurine. Amid headlines speculating the second coming of the Great Depression and after seven years of wars and corruption in the federal government, The Minnesota Daily editorial board seeks to balance its coverage with local and important national issues. Today, for instance, editorials cover what the board sees as a blatant misuse of University central funds, but at the same time weighs in on this sweeping and sometimes esoteric economic turmoil. But the latter issue begs an important question that both Daily readers and editors should ask: Where does a college editorial board get the gall to cover the vast national issues? Indeed, as the newspaper industry contracts from lack of revenue and as media fragmentation has given citizens better access to national and international coverage, shouldnâÄôt it be The Minnesota DailyâÄôs responsibility to remain local in its coverage? After all, anyone with internet access is a click away from reading editorials by the most prestigious news organizations in the world that have national and international bureaus. But here the âÄúPort Huron Statement,âÄù drafted by the then-fledgling student organization Students for a Democratic Society in 1962, becomes relevant. âÄúWe are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably at the world we inherit.âÄù So, too, are we. Among WednesdayâÄôs headlines, the Associated Press reports that âÄúPresident Bush and the two men running to succeed him raised the political stakes dramatically Wednesday in the great bail-out debate of 2008, effectively stamping a âÄòtoo big to failâÄô sign on congressional efforts to pass a pre-election economic rescue plan.âÄù Meanwhile, American college students and youth are getting maimed in countries halfway around the world, the private student-loan industry is taking advantage of tuition costs rising above inflation rates, and the federal Pell Grant Program is facing a $6 billion shortage as American taxpayers spend roughly $9 billion in Iraq per month. For good measure, the Interior Department, which controls the nationâÄôs oil revenues, has been having a veritable orgy. The Los Angeles Times reported last week: âÄúLegislators excoriated top Interior Department officials Thursday at a hearing on the sex, drugs and gifts scandal in the oil royalties program, saying the scandal could have dire ramifications for the anticipated expansion of offshore drilling along U.S. coasts.âÄù The scandal at the Interior Department seems to be a perfect culmination of the federal government’s behaviour for the past eight years.The editorial board brings readers national issues with much gall indeed. Little did I know in that airport hangar in 2000 how the ramifications of the nationâÄôs leaders in WashingtonâÄôs decision-making would change the course of everyones’ lives. ThatâÄôs why itâÄôs unreservedly important that Minnesota Daily readers get a chance to weigh in on their peersâÄô opinions and, more importantly, marshal that knowledge into action at the polls âÄî and to not repeat the mistakes our leaders seem to repeat ceaselessly.