Students pass up politics for social networking

Sarah Lelonek

Daily routines vary from person to person. I wake up, shower, check my mail, sometimes look at, get my bag ready for class and then make the trek to Kent State.

Some people’s mornings are different. Some people shower at night, others actually eat breakfast and some check MySpace and Facebook instead of CNN.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a MySpace and Facebook, but sometimes I wonder if students are confusing what’s really important with social networking sites.

I feel like legislation could be passed to outlaw something crazy such as women’s right to vote and no one would notice until Election Day.

But I’m partly to blame. I wouldn’t read up on current events if I didn’t have to know them for quizzes. Even though I do read some events, I still wouldn’t say I’m knowledgeable in the least. I know enough about enough current events that I can do well on my next quiz, and that’s about it.

So what is it about news that drives students away? Why do Facebook and MySpace become more important than war and laws being passed?

Perhaps it’s that students don’t want to hear all the bad that is going on with the world. I know I’ve heard plenty of people complain that the news is only there to show the bad side of everything.

Or maybe it’s because the news isn’t as interesting as gossip and seeing what friends have done the night before.

Still, either option is not a real excuse. At least they’re not excuses next to what could happen if all Americans didn’t want to hear bad news and only wanted gossip.

Imagine what would happen if no one paid attention to the news: Legislation could be passed for various issues without complaint, wars could be started and funding for college and other things could be dropped.

Sure, these are just some extreme cases that probably wouldn’t happen. But the point is, they could.

The truth is, excuses are lame. We should want to know what’s going on out there, especially if it’s “bad.” We should want to be informed no matter how upsetting the news may be.

This is our country. We have the right to know what’s going on. I know it is said all the time, but people really did die for that right.

A big part of a democratic society is being informed enough to vote on issues. I feel as if people my age are forgetting that there’s more to voting than picking the next president.

With election time coming up in less than a week, I have to ask, do any of us know what’s going on in our hometowns?

I look at signs in people’s yards for judges, sheriffs and mayors, and I have no idea who any of the people are. Yet, I’m supposed to be voting on which on of them will run my town.

Sure, whoever is running Springfield Township’s school board may not be the most pressing of national matters, but it still does matter.

If we want to keep the United States in our hands as much as we can, things need to change.

I challenge students to take five or 10 minutes out of social networking time and go to their local newspaper’s Web site. Read a few articles or headlines on national, state and local news. Check out a few candidates for next week’s election.

Sure, we won’t be the most informed bunch, but at least we can say we know something.

Sarah Lelonek is a junior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]