For a lot of Americans (and most students), politics and the news become irrelevant and annoying more often than they inform or enlighten. The constant mud-slinging and name-calling only serve to divide us further and the in-your-face, blatant agendas are more than anyone has time for.
So where does the average person turn? Humor, and they are fleeing in droves to Comedy Central, in particular.
We all have this innate desire to know what is going on, whether it’s who Paris Hilton is dating, what innocent people Mitt Romney put out of business or even just the guy who smells like cheese in the cubicle next to you. I mean, is he a fine wine and cheese connoisseur that frequents Napa Valley or does he just sit around in his underwear eating Cheetos after work?
But there are limits to our thirst for knowledge, and if we believe we are being lied to, we shut the TV off or change the channel. Finding out current events from comedians is “a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down” for many Americans and our politicians had better take note of it if they want to keep their jobs.
In a recent segment of “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” two of his “news” people interviewed attendees of the Democratic National Convention. The interviewers asked whom their party accepted and the standard answer was “everyone.”
When asked who should be excluded, the list swelled and responses ranged from “gun toting rednecks” all the way to the vile “tea-bagger” reference (from a very wrinkly elderly lady, no less). The hypocrisy on display was highlighted by Stewart, and when they realized what they were saying, it was like a light went on and it was priceless.
One interviewee actually said, “I would never call a redneck a name.”
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. *DISCLAIMER – The views and opinions expressed in this letter are not necessarily those of the University, the UVU Review and possibly even the author himself. Any endorsement of ideology or individuals is expressly those of the word processing system and the keyboard this message was typed on.
I was in attendance of Paul Ryan’s speech Wednesday night in Provo and I had plenty of time to reflect as I waited for nearly three hours for the event to actually begin. As a journalist, I try to remain unbiased, especially when it comes to my job.
And as polarizing as Paul Ryan has been politically, I felt very little of my personal feelings came in to play.
The excitement of such a prominent political figure came and went before the speech even began (probably around hour two of my wait).
So much of the political rhetoric is meant to divide us and to convince us that the other side is evil, when in reality, we are all a lot more alike than any of “the powers that be” want us to know. There will always be the far right and the far left, which means the middle ground should always have a healthy contingent. The current problem is that middle ground is evaporating in apathy.
The danger in that scenario is that when the middle class, and that’s the majority of America, lose interest, it’s the nut jobs on either side that decide what happens in our country.
When we feel alone we lose our will to fight, and that’s why we are lulled to sleep by this attempt to disparage someone with another viewpoint. As students and future leaders of this country, the tug-of-war that is waged for our vote can be too much to bear. We give up and choose the path of least resistance and pull the lever for the lesser of two evils.
I know CNN has become darn near unwatchable, as noted by the free-for-all their ratings have taken. I know ABC news may bring you to tears. But remember that you are not alone and a little knowledge can be a powerful thing. John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are a nice way to put a humorous spin on some of the ridiculous things that go on in our country, but also remember that a just a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, as well.
Laugh and enjoy this school year and do your homework, not just for class but for this upcoming election. The freedom to vote our conscience is one this world has never seen before.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” – Ronald Reagan