College students are asking questions

college studentsCollege students are asking a lot of questions. They aren’t looking for the bullet point stock answers provided by the American mainstream media and Liberals within the college and university system. Unfortunately, there’s not many other places they can go to find the answers they seek. Since the summer semester of 2009, I decided that if students asked my my opinion, I would answer their questions after class or during my office hours. In those early days I would see an average of about three college student a week. This semester, partly driven out of fear over the national elections in November, a dozen students regularly contact me either through email, text message, phone calls, and Facebook in addition to my office hours and times before and after class.

College students are concerned about the economy

Since 2008, the American public has been bombarded with news about how bad the economy had gotten. As the nation approached the 2012 election, everyone was then bombarded with reports the economy was improving since the election of 2008. Henderson, Kentucky lies right in the middle of the nation’s coal country – southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Kentucky have suffered under increased Environmental Protection Agency rules governing coal. The layoff of coal miners have burdened an already strained unemployment and vocational retraining programs in the tri-state area. College students are aware of the tight job market in the area and the very real prospect of graduating from college with a degree without any meaningful job waiting for them. 

Many of the students ask questions on how to avoid student loans, top paying careers, and yesterday, I was asked by a student if the traditional college degree is better than vocational training. These are honest questions students are asking. While the news media and even some Liberal politicians will stress the importance of a college degree, it is the time when conservatives can educate about the real choices America’s youth have when it comes to choosing a vocation. It’s time to restore the dignity of being self-sufficient and holding a blue-collar job. The news media will have you believe that one cannot be a blue-collar worker and be taken seriously in politics or in any other aspect of life. Our nation depends on blue-collar jobs; without them our nation could not exist.

We need, as a nation, to invest the time to get to understand the interests of the younger generation, to understand what motivates them, and to quit demanding a one-size-fits-all solution to their future. There are many students I have in classes that are not thrilled about having four more years of school; they don’t want to be there. It is these students that I help them explore their interests and, if necessary, encourage them to explore trade school and other options to finding a path that will lead them to personal and economic success.

College students are concerned about race relations

This is another area where I see a lot of students of various ethnic and racial backgrounds express a lot of concern about. I will admit my background has biased me. For all of my life as a child, my father was career military and we moved every three years. I grew up in military towns and on military bases. As a military brat, I was not so concerned with race, religion, or even sexual orientation – just as many other military brats weren’t. We were more concerned with whether or not you have the same interests as we did. We quickly learned that to be a friend with someone, all you had to do is look for the similarities and celebrate those. You acknowledge the differences and you respect them. End of the discussion and nothing else really mattered.

I still approach people in this manner today. I don’t see color, religion, sexual orientation, or even green hair and tattoos as being disqualifying criteria when it comes to friendship. What matters to me is what the Reverend Martin Luther King spoke about  – the content of your character. It sickens me with groups such as the Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQ organizations, and even some of my fellow academicians that claim that whites or Hispanics simply are racist or bigoted by their very nature… No, this is not true. As I tell my college students, racism is a learned shared behavior. Go sit in any kindergarten class in America and you will see that children do not care what race the other is – they just want to learn, to play together, and have fun. Something happens between those early years and adulthood that fosters racism – and that is the environment in which the child lives.  

The division of American society into segments according to whatever identity is desired, such as straight versus gay, black versus white, are all tools of progressivism that began in American society in the Nineteenth Century. As America was beginning to heal from the Civil War, it was politically expedient for the Democratic Party of the 1870s to fan the flames of racism to keep the nation divided between the Freedman and the poor white yeoman farmer. From the vantage point of history, the Freedman and yeoman farmer had more in common than any other groups in American society. This is identical with blacks and whites in the middle class and down have in modern society. If the racial divide ended, it would remove one of the main tools the political parties use within this nation. It would mean the political power would rest in the hands of the average American citizen rather than the politicians.

College students are concerned about immigration

College students do not want to be labeled as being racist. They also do not want to be labeled as being incompassionate to the suffering and needs of others. But at the same time, they have real concerns about immigration for a variety of reasons. They see the results of Muslim immigration in France, Germany, and Great Britain where parts of those nations are “Muslim only” zones and wonder if it can and will happen here. They are worried about immigrants, both legal and illegal, taking jobs in an already-tight job market. They ask these questions and are told they are racist for even asking them by various entertainment industry icons, the mainstream media, and even Democratic politicians. I find this attitude towards these very real concerns as anti-democratic, anti-philosophical, and even anti-American.

I often hear Liberals in our nation justifying their stand on immigration by citing the teachings of Jesus. Jesus also taught that our compassion must begin first within our own house. Before we extend any hand to an immigrant, whether illegal or legal, we must assure that every American has their basic needs met. This is not an issue of race but an issue of national morality, a claim liberals often use to justify their world view. We must curtail both types of immigration until we have addressed homelessness, poverty, and other social and economic issues facing American citizens. As long as one American has nowhere to lay their head or doesn’t have a meal to eat, we have no business giving services to any foreign immigrant. During the Great Depression there was an expression that must become our guiding principle, “charity begins at home.”

Again, this is not a racist viewpoint. It is simply putting what is in the best interests of our nation first. From what I hear, this is only a part of the college student’s concerns about immigration. Many are upset that some surrounding state colleges, in Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois, will change them out-of-state tuition but will wave it for the children of illegal immigration. Here, the youth of America are feeling as if they are second class citizens within their own nation – and I hear this from both white and minority students. They blame the ones who govern our nation’s universities, they blame politicians on both parties. And they blame government at every level. If this perception is not changed, this will have serious consequences in American politics for many years, if not generations. 

Alan Simmons

Alan Simmons is an adjunct instructor of history at Henderson Community College. He has been teaching at the college/university level since 2004. Within the scope of his degrees, his areas of emphasis are U.S. foreign policy, public policy history, political history, and U.S. history.

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