Sep 182006
 
Authors: Drew Haugen, BRANDON LOWREY The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The future of democracy depends on educated citizens who are willing to act, panelists said Monday during a discussion about the U.S. Constitution in the Lory Student Center’s Sunken Lounge.

Some chastised American voters for failing to call out the Bush administration’s recent actions it has justified using the war on terror.

“Are we children who pee in their pants and hide under their beds when somebody claims they see the bogeyman?” said Anne Little, an associate professor of history. “The only guarantee when we give up our rights is that we don’t have those rights anymore.”

“Complacency is the enemy of democracy,” said Mike Nosler, a Denver attorney.

Topics included domestic privacy and search and seizure issues, along with civil liberties issues in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where hundreds of suspected terrorists are being held with no charges pending.

But less than a half-dozen students stayed to listen to this Constitution Week discussion. Students were elsewhere in the Lory Student Center.

“I’m not really one for, like, politicalness,” said freshman art major Kaitlyn Birdsall, when asked for her opinion on the Bush administration’s actions.

Freshman microbiology major Aleesha Witcher had a different answer.

“I agree (Bush) is doing some things he shouldn’t be doing,” Witcher said. “But there’s nothing we can do to change that.”

Other students cited problems they see facing the Constitution – such as the proposed marriage amendment or Guantanamo Bay.

“If they have the evidence, it should be a matter of putting them on trial and convicting them,” Nick D’Innocenzo, a senior math major, said about the detainees.

Travis Hall, a freshman political science major, said that CSU is an example of unused political potential. Take this year’s 4th Congressional District elections, he said.

“We have the power here, with 30,000 students, to make it or break it,” he said. But “it seems like we’re letting senior citizens dictate our politics.”

Students, he said, ought to study and know their government for themselves. The Constitution can be great protection if students choose to learn how to use the document, he said.

That is, along with knowing what elected officials are trying to do with it.

He added: “It’s always a good idea to know what your government’s up to.”

Staff writers Drew Haugen and Brandon Lowrey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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