You know, I’m getting pretty tired of the people who sit in the Arbor with signs crying for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Don’t get me wrong; I’m liberal as hell.

I want gay people to be able to get married and raise kids with the same rights and privileges as straight people. I want women to be able to choose when and whether they get pregnant, and to be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy safely, legally and confidentially. I want public schools to get the money they so desperately need for decent facilities, textbooks, teachers and student outreach services – all that stuff.

So, why the quasi-conservative opening remark? Well, I just don’t think that making a lot of noise about the Bush administration’s unconstitutional actions is going to get anyone very far. Plus, it’s pretty much falling on deaf ears. What I would really like to see is student activism of a different sort – more oriented toward social justice.

I would describe my philosophy as: Don’t attack the people/corporations in power – though I do agree that they are a large part of the problem – because trying to find a solution for that whole mess is way too complicated. I’m not going to spend my life arguing about how to fix the system.

I think the best way to go would be to work around the people/corporations in power and help pick up the people on the bottom. I have an example that hits close to home. When my mom was fresh out of medical school in the Philippines, she and a group of other doctors tromped through the jungle with a mission: To help implement a system of community-based health programs for people who are too far away from the cities to get healthcare and too oppressed by the corrupt government to be able to pay for it anyway.

After immigrating to the United States, establishing a successful medical career, starting a family and putting my sister and I through college, my mom has lost none of her ardor for helping the underprivileged. She heads an organization that helps fund and supply the very community healthcare programs that she helped to implement. Thanks to the group’s efforts here in the States and the never-ending, passionate hard work of the community-based health workers in the Philippines, the programs have expanded from basic healthcare to everything from mental health, to Pap smears for women who would otherwise go their whole lifetimes without one, to supporting programs to get street children out of lives of prostitution and theft.

I have a great example to look up to and I encourage students to use their time and intelligence for something much more worthy and satisfying than talking about the Bush administration’s shortcomings. Donating money to charity is great and all, but doing something tangible and seeing how happy people are because of something you did is much more rewarding. Of course, we’re all still students trying to get our degrees enjoy our youthful pleasures – myself included – but we are also equally capable of making a difference, whether globally or locally, individually or as a group.

Helen Mortera is a senior film studies major.