The Diag seems so calm these days. The election has been over for more than a month, and the mass of students who were campaigning have disappeared back into the woodwork. It’s so nice to be able to walk without being asked to sign a petition or take a button. But if you’re like me, you’re feeling just a little bit of withdrawal. The good part is that after the elections, the real work begins.

Don’t get me wrong — elections are important. They provide a great forum for airing the issues and finding solutions to the problems in our country. The past two years have proven that spectacularly. From thinking about women’s issues thanks to Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Sarah Palin to tax policy via Joe the Plumber, Americans were more in engaged in this election than ever before. But elections are only the starting point.

Now that all the fun is over, we need to keep going. It’s not important who you voted for anymore because their issues still exist. Problems need to be solved. All that effort that was put into campaigning for the candidates earlier this semester could be wonderfully channeled into other projects. To put it succinctly, we need to get off our asses and get to work. There is much to be done.

If you were an Obama-maniac, apply for a job as a community organizer. Barack Obama’s campaign credited its strength to its massive organizing apparatus, so think of the wonders that could be accomplished if that sort of organization were applied elsewhere. Community organizers aid those in the direst circumstances and often bring people together to better the community. You spent so long defending Obama’s qualifications to be president that it’s about time you gave it a shot yourself. The University should be producing students who aim to help others instead of just lecturing the world on the qualifications of others.

If you were a John McCain fan, think about embodying some of the principles for which he stands. McCain has long been a defender of the rights of prisoners, especially when it comes to the issue of torture. Take some time and consider how you feel about simulating drowning on a prisoner, and instead of arguing with your friends or classmates about it, do something. Preventing torture is an issue of human rights and should be championed by people everywhere.

These causes aren’t going to go anywhere on their own. They are not partisan issues but American issues. It takes hard work and dedication to get things done. But look at where being a community organizer and a human rights advocate got Obama and McCain. These men have served, and continue to serve, their country in ways that demand nothing but respect. We all should strive to embody some of their characteristics and serve as admirably. We owe it to ourselves to be the next great generation of public servants.

Shannon Kellman is an LSA senior.

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