May 28, 2024

Becoming a responsible citizen

This archived article was written by: Austin Palmer

Most of us were able to grow up in the United States surrounded by numerous comforts. Many of these comforts we take for granted. We have never experienced civil war in our lifetimes or gone to sleep hungry for long periods of time. The government, for the most part, has not abused our civil rights or subjected us to unreasonable demands. They try and take care of their people. Most of us have never been yanked from a car by a cop wielding a machine gun and subjected to embarrassing searches. We aren’t shot when we speak out against government officials. We don’t know how good we really have it.
As college students we often find ourselves complaining that the work load we receive is too great or that college is a waste of time and boring. We don’t stop and think about the billions of people who are unable to obtain even the slightest advantages in life that come from being able to read and write. If you think life is rough and nothing is going your way, stop and look at everything you have that you never worked to obtain. A government that is ran by the people, the freedom to become whatever you want, an opportunity to make a difference in society. We have had everything given to us that should make us excel in life. If we don’t take advantage of our situation, it is our fault.
We have become a society that relishes in the failure of those around us. The items of greatest importance seem to be focused on the disappointments and demise of various individuals. How pathetic have we become as a society when we gain pleasure when another individual is ruined? This is no more apparent than at election time when candidates with opposing viewpoints seek to defame their opponents by harping on every mistake they ever committed in life.
There is nothing more disgusting than witnessing or being a party to bigotry or intolerance. This happens every time we speak out in opposition to people or events that we don’t understand completely. It is always wise to get the facts before opening your mouth. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have opinions, but our opinions should be backed by sound proof and not hearsay and hatred. If we don’t know the facts, its better to keep our mouths shut than to meddle in affairs we don’t understand. Did having sex with Monica Lewinsky make Bill Clinton a bad president? Do mistakes in Arnold Schwartzanegar’s life make him ineligible and unfit as a candidate for governor? We are constantly bombarded by articles and speeches that seek to condemn individuals who have made even the slightest mistakes. Why don’t we look for the good in those around us instead of waiting for them to screw up so we can kick them while they are down?
It is our responsibility to educate ourselves. As we begin to listen more than we talk and think situations through without making rash decisions, we will grow and become stronger. It will be a great day when our desire to understand is more powerful than our need to destroy and find fault.