Our View: Student Activism?

Last week’s dedication to Alcohol Awareness, as well as a day of wearing purple in honor of recent suicides as a result of homophobic abuse, raises the question of why students aren’t as involved in social and political activism as they have been in the past.

Political activism used to be a huge contributing factor to the development of the youth of America. College students were known for staging protests, questioning authority and taking action to make change.

For example, the anti-war movement of the 60’s in response to American involvement in Vietnam was a prominent issue confronted largely by the youth of our country. Students became a powerful and combative force as university campuses brought on a national debate over the war. They staged protests, rallies and sit-ins to raise awareness and draw attention, and their tactics were successful. As the movement’s ideals spread beyond college campuses, doubts about the war also began to appear within the administration itself. Students were heavily involved in politics and responded to decisions the government made.

Many students are totally oblivious to the social and political goings-on of America. A large percentage of students don’t vote, and don’t care. What is this growing infection of our youth? Why are so many students neutral on significant issues affecting our entire country? Why is there so much social and political ignorance within the walls of college lecture halls across the country?

Snookie from Jersey Shore is why. The I like turtles kid on Youtube is why. Ke$ha, Hot Tub Time Machine, the newest I-Phone, The North Face, Facebook-official relationships and Abercrombie & Fitch are the reasons why today’s students turn a deaf ear to pressing political issues and movements. Pop culture is the culprit of ignorance.

Being a well-informed, politically active citizen does not hinder the ability to do keg-stands and catch up on your favorite TV show. After all, the students of the 60’s were the proprietors of herbal recreation, yet they still managed to fight for their rights and the rights of their country. Will you fight for yours?

All it takes to understand current affairs is to be current. Take a few minutes away from pop-culture to watch the news, or read a newspaper. Define the things that are important to you and question why these issues aren’t being raised in the public eye the way they used to be. Question authority, step away from your tangible surroundings and understand that our generation can create change, and one day, we will be the ones on which our nation depends.