Why staying informed is so important

Shae Slaughter

The world we live in today is bursting with information. Our everyday lives are saturated with news stories, trending topics and the hottest celeb gossip 24/7. This “CNN effect” can be overwhelming, but what’s more important is its connection to greater knowledge within the world. It’s a reminder that we all have a duty to be informed. 

This flow of information, across all borders and boundaries, is a catalyst for change that needs to be utilized. It is undeniable that we have resources that our ancestors couldn’t have imagined. Still, we often see a lack of empathy—or, at the very least, ignorance—in conceptualizing problems throughout the world or other people’s problems in general. There is a huge disconnect between news and reality even though they should be one and the same.

In the U.S., we are often consumed with our own government or jobs or rights, but there is a lot beyond the walls that we keep attempting to build. A few Google searches could reveal the truth of the war in Yemen or Brexit or the slave trade in Libya. Some of these we hear more about than others, but still many of us neglect to give these topics enough attention simply because they don’t exist in our sight line. 

An even more perfect example of a disconnect and an information bubble that needs to burst exists in North Korea. A country full of sheltered citizens, North Korea continues to be ruled by the Kim dynasty. Defectors from the closed-off country will readily admit that information remains the greatest threat to the regime. But information is also important when we decide how to handle our interactions with the country. 

For months we have experienced escalating tensions between North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and our own president, Donald Trump. Kim Jong Un has long been considered to be an irrational leader, but what about the taunting doled out by our own president? To many people, the criticism of Kim Jong Un is troubling at the very least. However, there are just as many people who support this show of “strength” by Trump. 

No matter which side of the fence you land on, there is certain information that both sides should consider. First, the gravity of a nuclear war. Even if the U.S. is better equipped to fight a nuclear war, it doesn’t mean that we can escape unharmed. Nuclear weapons can be launched in a second, and though they take a little while to reach their target, they will eventually hit.

If this issue comes down to a guns-blazing fire fight, it means one thing: thousands of lives lost and even more people affected by the radiation these weapons will leave behind. It means death and destruction not only in North Korea, but also in the U.S. It means allowing one man to “push a button” that will incinerate countless innocent victims. North Korea is not its leader; it is merely a country of people who adamantly support a man in the same way that some people support God. Do they really deserve this kind of wrath?

All of this information is available should you choose to pursue it. Yet, for many people, choices regarding the launching of a nuclear weapon seem very cut and dry. However, this world isn’t a giant example of an “us-versus-them” scenario. We are all human beings, and there are troubles plaguing us all. Keeping an open mind and a thirst for knowledge can make all the difference when examining the world moving forward.