Political apathy: look at the issues

Jason Braff

As we all know, Quinnipiac University students are not the most interested bunch when it comes to politics. After all, we were ranked number two on Princeton Review’s “Election? What election?” list in its 2007 “Best 361 Colleges” book. It is apparent that the majority of students who attend this school are more or less un-interested in politics and important issues or they just prefer to hide the fact that they care. That’s not to say that no one on this campus cares about politics and issues, but a noticeable number don’t. I was one of these people until recently.

Before arriving at Quinnipiac in 2005 I would have definitely considered myself indifferent to politics. Oh, I cared, but just chose to not really pay attention to what was happening. I tried to get into it, especially after September 11, but I noticed that I would get very upset when reading and learning about what was going on in the world. The world is a scary and often messed up place. But as I have learned, that cannot stop one from caring or ignoring these problems. As college students we often have the luxury and ability of turning the other way and not paying the consequences for it. Is this healthy?

Don’t get me wrong. I have a long way to go to know anything about anything that is going on in politics, but I am trying. Although there are many aspects of politics that bore me to sleep, I try to read anything I can that sounds interesting to become aware. Recently my awareness has shifted towards the new faces emerging in the upcoming 2008 presidential election. I try to attend events that Quinnipiac offers, such as “Invisible Children,” to help expand my mind, and to get a clearer picture of the gigantic world surrounding me. I am trying to make an effort to become more interested in a world I have ignored almost my entire life just because it hurt my head to think about it.

This sudden change in my opinion has come for many reasons. For one, one of my best friends told me last month that he was entering the Marines. Suddenly the war in Iraq became more real than I could have ever imagined. Hearing him talk about the possibility of being shipped to Iraq sends chills down my spine. Second, the upcoming presidential election in 2008, whether you like it or not, is going to affect us all. Major change may be under way, and we all have a say in that change. Voting or not voting may be the difference between two very different scenarios for the next four years of our lives. Issues such as the war in Iraq, the tension building between the U.S. and Iran, global warming, gay rights, women’s rights, and our government’s treatment of the post-Katrina Gulf Coast, among others, are all topics that I think are interesting and worthwhile. However, that is just me. There are so many things going on in this world, in this country, in this state, in this town and in this school that should be paid attention to, and not ignored.

So, how do we begin? Start clean with a new slate, don’t automatically side with your family’s favorite political party or your friends’ beliefs and look at the issues. It is only then that you should form opinions, and help make a difference. I am not saying that you become a political buff, run for office or spark debates wherever you roam, I ask to just form an opinion. That is all. There is too much going on to close your eyes to. I hope that you will join me in at least trying to learn more about what’s going on in the world; it is never too late.