By Adeshola Adigun
Politics and world issues can be daunting to most 20-something-year-old college students still trying to figure out what to do with their lives, myself included. That, or we’re too worried about passing classes, chasing the opposite (or same) sex, getting trashed and making our parents proud.
And when the students who do appear to have a firm grasp on politics share their views, it usually seems as if they don’t know what they are talking about, or that they are just pompous, idealistic and self-righteous.
I’m going to attempt to learn more about politics (even though people who believe they are politically all-knowing end up being just as clueless as the rest of us). I have questions that I want answered, but I feel that in order to make sense of it all I am going to need to do the research myself. The hardest part so far is finding information that is straightforward and unbiased.
Now who sounds idealistic?
Here’s a recent example. In late March shortly after the Trayvon Martin shooting, ABC News published an article with the headline: “Gingrich Calls Obama’s Trayvon Martin Remarks ‘Disgraceful.’”
The article reported President Obama’s reflection on Martin’s murder as well as Gingrich’s response to it. Obama said, “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” and then followed that up by saying that every parent in America should “understand why it is absolutely imperative to investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together — federal, state, and local — to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
What was Gingrich’s response?
“Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe, period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be OK because it didn’t look like him?”
Clearly, both parties here were addressing an important event in U.S. history that had the entire nation talking (and causing plenty of controversy), but the very act of reporting what Obama had to say about the shooting and what Gingrich had to say in response just feels like a polished version of the He Said, She Said nonsense that takes place in most high schools. It’s reminiscent of reading People Magazine or watching TMZ.
Think about it: politicians state their views or stances on issues, they debate them, the media share their “unbiased” views about the issues, then turn around and bash the politicians for things that they did when they were in high school.
Regardless, that does not change the fact that important events are happening around us all the time. We can either hide from them and pretend we don’t care, or do our best to be involved.
We need to be more politically aware and strive to create a better future. This starts by connecting.
Instead of being afraid or too apathetic to discuss the political atmosphere with our peers, we need to pick a current event and bring it up in conversation with other people. Even if it’s merely an inquiry along the lines of: So what’s does the passing of Amendment 1 in North Carolina mean for us here in Savannah?
For me, it’s a relief to have people like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher because despite their sometimes over-the-top sense of humors on important issues, they add a less apocalyptic angle to issues going on worldwide and sometimes even reveal the ridiculousness of it all.
The gossipy essence of politics is inevitable. But writing about politics inherently just adds to the gossip.
Guess we’re all hypocrites.Contact Adeshola Adigun.