Don’t be oblivious, be informed

Stephanie Schoch

Politics: the word intimidates me. Not because I’m incapable of having an opinion or because I’m one of the most indecisive people you will ever meet, but because it is surrounded by argument and controversy. The loss of jobs, the oil spill, the war in Iraq – all of it is wrapped in a muddled state of confusion simply because there are people yelling at each other on TV about it. Blue or red, elephant or donkey, republican or democrat, there always seems to be something to fight about.

In their article “When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Institutions that Liberals may not Recognize”, Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham talk about what they call the “five foundations of morality”: Harm, fairness, group loyalty, respect for authority and purity. They indicate that liberals stick to only two of the principles – harm and fairness, while conservatives incorporate all five.

Both sides see very different views of the same topic. By taking something and looking at it from differing angles, there are often two very distinct ideas remaining. We’ve all seen the image that, looking at either one color or the other as the background, is either two people looking at each other or a vase (if you haven’t, you’re probably sitting there, dumbfounded).

Differing views surround us, but it’s what we choose to listen to that will ultimately affect us. By choosing one thing to believe and focusing on it, we often forgo paying attention to anything opposing our point of view in favor of things like wondering what will happen in the next season of Cougar Town or pondering the existence of life on Mars.

While arguing their points, people might actually realize that after all their opinions have been explained, still not everyone will agree. No matter what I say, my boyfriend will always refuse to hold a candy cigarette in his mouth for more than 20 seconds, and it will very rapidly disappear as he furtively chews.

It’s the same thing with politicians, and often their supporters. They are asked not to eat the candy, to listen to what the opposing party has to say before indulging; however, they are either already snatching it up, or pretending to listen while truly not paying attention, pining for sugar. Yes, I know, that was a weird metaphor, but you’re reading something from a freshmen perspective, remember?

Some people are so quick to engage in hype without doing background research. At one point, people thought that Obama was in the video for Tag Team’s “Whoomp There It Is.” However hilarious it would be, the rumor is not true. It is our job as citizens to become informed and intelligent about statistics, the ever-changing laws, and, most importantly, the general world around us.

There are students who have no idea who Casey Anthony is, nor do they know what the Fifth Amendment is – there is a difference between missing a story and being oblivious.

Research and knowledge is key in today’s society, and just because you’re a student and not working for CNN, that’s no excuse.
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