Political involvement important at all ages

It occurred to me after writing my first column of the semester last week that many of you are new here at the University and don’t know me, which means you may wonder over the course of this semester, “Why is this dude always grumbling about politics and stuff?”

So I figured that I would introduce myself to those of you who are new here, (or re-introduce myself to those of you who know me already) and let you know a bit about why I write what I do.

My name is Matt Thacker. I’m 35 years old, I’m married to my best friend Jen and I’m the father of a beautiful 4-year-old girl named Libby (which is short for Liberty — she was due on July 4).

You might say that I took the long way to where I am now (I’m a continuing senior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science).

I was raised in Elyria, Ohio until I was 16 when my dad retired and moved our family to rural southwest Virginia.

At 15 I began playing music, and at 18 I helped my older brother form a bluegrass band. I played bass and sang harmony with my brother (who is an awesome singer), and he and I traveled (mostly on weekends) all over the United States playing bluegrass.

I dropped out of high school and got a GED at 18. While playing music was my main career focus, I also worked jobs during the week to make ends meet. I was a substitute janitor at a grade school for a while and a garbage man for a while, but nothing that I was worried about doing forever. I was going to be a bluegrass star so I wasn’t that concerned.

In a way, I never figured I would live to see my 30th birthday, so the future was not something I spent a lot of time worrying about.

In 2006, my brother — who was also my best friend and musical mentor — was in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Even after he woke up from the 3-month-long, medically-induced coma, traveling the way we always did (which was usually four or five guys and all their gear in a van) was nearly impossible. This meant the careers we had both worked toward for years were essentially gone overnight.

Shortly after that, I moved to Bowling Green to be with the woman I loved. We married and she got pregnant, which meant I needed a new plan. I had just turned 30, and I had a new family to worry about and no formal education.

I started attending Owens Community College in Perrysburg. I got my associates degree and transferred to BGSU, where I am now.

I mostly write about politics and other social issues, which I know can seem boring or unimportant when you’re 19 or 20 years old. When I was that age I couldn’t have cared less too, but being a bit older now, I see just how important it is.

This is a common theme I’ve seen: You don’t care about politics and the larger world around you as much when you are younger, and you get more into it when you’re older.

I find it important because political decisions are the ones that shape our world and impact how we, as a society, function within it.

You might not pay close attention to politics now, but the likelihood is that one day you will (not everyone will, but most of you will be college educated professionals, which increases your likelihood of following politics), because it has the power to affect your lives in ways you may not be able to imagine now — from how much student loan debt you’re on the hook for to where your kids go to school (yes, most of you will have kids, though it may be hard to imagine it now).

With my weekly column, I would like nothing more than to turn you on to politics and let you know that you can make a difference in our country and the world.

You all are the future of our country, and I am proud to be able to have a discussion with you about that.

My hope is to be able to break down why these things should matter to you and what you can do about them, because even if it doesn’t always seem like it to you now, what you do, what you think, who you are and (most importantly) what you want our world to be in 20 years matters. It matters to me, and it should also matter to you.

You can be in the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat, but either way the metaphoric car is moving you toward your future.

Respond to Matthew at

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