Feeling unable to act on federal issues, get involved locally

Taylor Huff

Our old Kentucky home meandered into the national spotlight this past week as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) finally initiated the “nuclear” option. This tactic by McConnell decreased the number of votes required to break a filibuster, concerning Supreme Court, from 60 to 51. As a result, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the open Supreme Court seat, Neil Gorsuch, has been confirmed.

This action on the part of McConnell comes as a shock to no one as he’s been dreaming of this moment ever since former President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the position. In fact, the only thing more determined than McConnell is the recently trademarked United Airlines Passenger Removal Task Force.

Meanwhile, Democrats, who have been filibustering or obstructing the confirmation process, argue Gorsuch, an outspoken conservative, is not the right person for the job.

Gorsuch, who’s most recent job was on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has experience with controversial issues. In 2013, he ruled the contraceptive mandate required by the Affordable Care Act violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. He also wrote a book in 2006 where he came out against assisted-suicide, a practice now considered legal in six states.

Despite his party loyalty, Gorsuch is not afraid to call out nonsense, even when it comes from the president. If you’ll recall several months earlier, Trump questioned the legitimacy of a Seattle federal judge who ruled against his contentious travel ban. Gorsuch fired back faster than Bill O’ Reilly’s sponsors labeling the president’s comments “disheartening” and “demoralizing”.

Democrats really have no room to complain about the initiation of the nuclear option as it was used in 2013 by the previous Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), albeit on lower court and executive branch nominees. I understand their frustration though as this particular confirmation gives Republicans a majority in the Supreme Court and considerably more influence on federal court rulings.

However, compared to Trump’s other outrageous nominations for national positions, Gorsuch seems to be more willing to speak out against the dysfunction stemming from the executive branch.

This dysfunction, which initially appeared to be confined to the White House, is now fully present within the walls of the Senate. McConnell and Republicans celebrate a year and a half of obstructionism paying off while Democrats regroup as a Senate minority.

At times, these federal actions can seem so distant and it’s easy to feel helpless when these decisions are being made that go against your personal beliefs.

It’s so important to make your voice heard when given the chance. These next few weeks provide all students with opportunity to do just that as Student Government Association elections continue to unfold here at WKU.

This election cycle is particularly important because each candidate, all of whom are SGA senators, will begin their own legacies following the departure of President Jay Todd Richey.

So, if you’re not happy with the way our country is being run at the moment, do something about it on a local scale. Educate yourself on Andi Dahmer, Lily Nellans and Kenan Mujkanovic and their stances on university policy. Whoever wins will be the voice of WKU students and have a seat on the Board of Regents, both of which are a big deal.

Don’t let the weight of the national dysfunction get you down while there is still so much opportunity here at home.