Generation apathy

Every morning, I go to class in the BUC building. I get dropped off and waddle with my mocha Frappuccino through the quad in front of FAMB. Every morning, I scope the students in the quad and I have yet to see one person without a phone plastered to the side of his or her carefully groomed head.

I know that it’s not easy feigning indifference among the blatant apathy of the U student body. I was amazed when I set my small, Hobbit-like freshman foot onto campus and noticed how uncaring everyone seemed.

Yet perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Two events of recent days have juxtaposed themselves at blatantly opposite ends of the activist spectrum, proposing to me that yes, students at the U actually do care about the rest of the world-just not that much.

The first of these events was the peace rally at the Union on March 30. Here, many different on campus groups united to promote pacifism. You’d think that groovy young college studs would be breaking down the violent barriers of our materialistic society to protest the evils of the world: war, tyranny, terrorism and oppression.

There were about 25 people listening to the speakers. I watched more than 100 students walk into the Union without batting an eyelash, probably in search of burritos and fry sauce.

I’m not going to dispute the importance of burritos and fry sauce. Weigh the scales: peace in Israel-burritos and fry sauce. Yeah, that’s a toss-up.

So, to you 25 converted U pacifists, I salute you for picking peace over your caloric needs.

Let us now go to incident number two, which was perhaps more intriguing. This specific incident was the rather large protest on March 31 between the College Republicans, the LGBT and both groups’ various supporters. As you probably know, it all began when the College Republicans decided to stage a heterosexual marriage to protest same-sex matrimony. Who knew brides could be so vicious?

Anyway, needless to say, the LGBT and other various concerned students found their way to the library to face off for the afternoon. Alas, there were no finger sandwiches. But the chants were rather catchy.

The point is that the naivete of the U students protesting was quite apparent.

The two sides faced each other as though they were battle lines, alternating shouts and eyeing the parading video cameras.

I’m not complaining about the protest. This gathering was the most impressive I have yet seen at the U regarding a political issue. In my mind, anything that can bring in student numbers is a cause well worth fighting for-or against.

In the words of one of my favorite professors, “There should be riots on a college campus. There should be protests. There should be activism.”

This seems obvious. Yes, there should be riots on campus, as long as no one gets hurt. Students should care about world issues-caring and fighting are what college campuses are known for. Yet the U seems stagnant when it comes to causes that really matters: peace in the Middle East, pollution, a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

I hate to sound like I’m preaching, but have the vast majority of students forgotten that what happens to others in the world affects their own lives, too?

Whether or not you agree with the right-wing or the left-wing approach, shouldn’t you stop to consider your own set of circumstances? How much power do you want your government to have? And isn’t that worth making a stand?

What if the government decided to impose a constitutional ban on burritos and fry sauce? Now that would get your attention.

My real point is that change only comes from a dynamic movement of people. Change, therefore, does NOT come from ignoring the issues because hey, your life is going pretty OK and the world doesn’t affect you.

The second we students completely stop caring is the second we become sitting ducks with muted voices.

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