Editorial: Making spare time for activism

Angelica Wallingford

It’s a scene all too familiar for a City College student. Rushing from the trolley station or one of the parking garages to get to class when a person, clipboard in hand, asks them to sign a petition to get some initiative on the ballot for an upcoming election.

Whether you like it or not, these signature gatherers are just another cog in the democratic process machine whose job it is to encourage voter responsibility and give students voters a voice.

As classes and jobs tend to take priority over political causes, petitioners take on the role of a political activist and are there to hopefully plant that seed of curiosity and make students seek information and reform.

One of the major issues that have petitioners pounding the pavement across the city at the moment is the rise of minimum wage in San Diego

On Aug. 18, the San Diego City Council overrode Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto to gradually raise the minimum wage. According to a video on NBC San Diego’s website, former Mayor Jerry Sanders and business leaders are leading an initiative to gather 34,000 signatures to put this matter in the hands of voters in the form of a referendum.

Minimum wage is an issue that affects many students directly and petitioners are there to make sure that voters get that information, research it for themselves and take action if they choose to.

Signature gathering is far from perfect. Some people do use it as a way to make some extra cash and will say anything that the voter wants to hear in order to get that signature. Some petitioners, on the other hand, can be just plain rude.

But for every bad petitioner there is always a good one that will engage you in conversation, give you really solid information and answer questions about issues at hand to the best of their ability. Talking politics day after day with stranger upon stranger is no easy task.

When politics is involved it’s easy for people to feel really passionate and get worked up over certain issues. Getting people involved in the process by starting a conversation about political issues, no matter what side of the spectrum they may fall on, is one of the goals of political activism. Voters just need to remember that it’s just the signature gatherers job to talk to them and possibly get them to sign.

Signature gatherers have a job to do. They must spread the word on various political causes and hopefully get voters to sign off on them in support. To disregard them entirely and bar them from coming onto campuses would be an injustice not only to political activism but to the political process as well.