By Michael Mandeville ’11
We’ve heard about the earthquake victims in Haiti, Chile, Japan; those protesting against the oppressive governments of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt; and a decent portion of others struggling against, well, just about everything in the world.
So beyond our prayers and classroom discussions, do students really express much concern? Should our generation have to care?
There might not be immediate effects on the majority of us here from these world issues, especially considering our age (your family vacation to Japan or Libya that was suddenly halted doesn’t count, though still unfortunate). But as obvious as it seems, yes, we should care. In fact, we are in debt to care quite a bit.
I hate to put it this way, but the American populous often feels entitled to global attention. Take just about any crisis, domestic or international, and it doesn’t just head the news throughout the globe, it becomes the priority of international affairs.
One can argue that the United States rightly deserves the attention, considering they’ve dipped their fingers into what seems like everyone’s business.
But being rooted in this entitlement, other country’s issues receive an insignificant amount of attention in comparison.
And it is not like there isn’t anything going on to care about; in fact, there is actually a ridiculous amount of activity around the world.
Take the situations in either Libya or Egypt. Yes, for the most part we understand that relatively important things are happening, but it is beyond that. In those countries alone, the current situations are huge.
To put it in the simplest terms, a complete restructuring of the government is occurring; the preceding oppressive governments that held power for several decades are disintegrating.
In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, the previous head of state, stepped down and resigned his power since protests first started earlier this year. The Libyan government, headed by Muammar Gaddafi, is currently receiving immense amounts of pressure from rebel armies who hope to create similar change to that in Egypt.
These two instances, or any of such caliber, would be unimaginably important to us here in the United States if they were happening to us.
Well in this case, American politicians have to express concern as American interests are affected by these uprisings, but the general population has a way of dusting it off of their shoulders.
Sure there isn’t much the average person can do, but I’d hope it would at least provoke people to consider their own situation at home.
Let’s be honest, there is plenty wrong with American society and politics, and only some care enough to be proactive about it (i.e. Wisconsin protests against legislation directed towards collective bargaining).
But this is not a call for domestic uprising, and frankly, it would take a whole lot to instill such a drastic and passionate response from the American people.
Rather, I have hope that people crack out of their shells and open up to the on-goings constantly happening.
As a part of the generation whom, before we know it, will be making decisions and experiencing the repercussions from global affairs, I recognize that we have to start caring; it really isn’t an option.
Fortunately, there are people who care quite a bit, and I can’t appropriately express how grateful I am to be surrounded by individuals that encourage the concern (thanks Brophy).
Ryan Michels ’11 is one of those inspiring students around campus that, whether or not you agree with his political beliefs, is an extremely informed and respectable individual who really does care.
As our generation needs to start recognizing, Michels understands that the people, especially our generation, need to become informed and involved.
“Abuses of power and authority thrive off of an indifferent population,” Michels said. “When the transgressions of the powerful finally affect you, it is already too late to stop them.”
If we don’t start doing something, even if that something is reading the news, actively discussing with issues peers or joining activist clubs around campus, we will be forced to begin caring as a result of unavoidably relevant issues.
“Healthy and sound societies have direct participation in the activities and affairs of their governments and economies,” Michels said.
An informed and sympathetic generation, after all, is what is going to promote and cause real, profound change.