Forgetting events in the real world

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Sally Krutzig, Contributing Writer

 

While these students were galvanized over Vietnam, UDers often forget there are wars going on today. –Photo courtesy of WIkimedia Commons
While these students were galvanized over Vietnam, UDers often forget there are wars going on today.
–Photo courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

The Trojan War took place over 2,500 years ago.

The Syrian Civil War is happening as you read this.

Aristotle wrote his “Politics” in 350 B.C.

The United Nations is debating drone ethics right now.

Here at the University of Dallas, we are thoroughly educated in the academic tradition. Students can tell you all about Locke’s natural law and explain the events that led to the decline of the Roman Empire. Yet when I interviewed UD students about today’s politics and current events, they often blanked on Trayvon Martin’s name, thought events in Syria “had something to do with bombs” or “thought they saw something on Facebook” about the recent tragedy in Kenya.

Perhaps it is not the job of our university to teach us about today’s world, but it is certainly the duty of every person to learn about it.

Staying aware of what is happening is important. We are going to inherit this world someday, along with all of its debts and problems. Yet one of the biggest challenges facing our nation is the apathy of its citizens. People, especially the younger generation, simply don’t care anymore.

At UD, I’ve noticed a deep concern with issues concerning our Catholic identity, such as abortion or homosexuality. Oftentimes, students will talk long into the night about works such as Aristotle’s “Ethics.” Yet many couldn’t care less when it comes to issues like gun control and missile launches, which have the power to change – or even end – the world. Students no longer bother to identify the moral lines of today. They would rather defend their stance on Virgil’s role in the Divine Comedy.

There was once a time when college students seemed to be the nation’s loudest voices. Gone are the days when students chained themselves to fences and faced the National Guard just to ensure the world knew where they stood on their country’s war. Now the days of blind eyes and self-imposed ignorance are upon us.

The most common reason students cite for their lack of awareness is that they lack the time to educate themselves. And indeed, between the JPo articles and physics equations in which UD students are often absorbed, it seems that there are simply not enough hours in a day. Reading The New York Times, browsing Fox News or analyzing The Washington Post is oftentimes a luxury students can’t afford.

Yet there are easier ways to stay in touch with the world. Reading a news app on a phone takes no longer than those 10 minutes between classes, so take a Facebook break to read today’s headlines. Sign up for emails from a current events website. Listen to the news as you get ready in the morning.

Students, take that first step in fighting America’s apathy. Above all, care: Care that people can lose their jobs – even their lives – based on decisions made in Congress. Just care. The rest will follow.

1 COMMENT

  1. Nothing wrong with keeping a pulse on current events. But there will be plenty of time to catch up on current events later. The time you have now (and will probably never have again) is for academic scholarship. UD students ought to be scholars first, then political actors. First learn WHY marriage is a comprehensive union of one man and woman. First learn WHY physical location and stage of development are morally arbitrary factors of who is, and is not, a human being. First learn WHY all human beings have intrinsic dignity. Study these issues, learn the arguments, and then enter the fray. The rest will follow.

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