First off you should know I always loved the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss!” Why? Because if there is something bad going on and you don’t know about it then you don’t worry. For example, somebody drops your toothbrush in the toilet and you don’t know about it, you’ll just brush your teeth like any other day; ignorance is bliss. Or somebody went to the bathroom and didn’t wash their hands after and proceeded to touch every doorknob on campus (Don’t think I don’t see you sir!) but ignorance is bliss. And now that I’ve fully paranoid and grossed everyone out about their toothbrush and doorknobs, I want to discuss why ignorance can no longer be bliss in today’s society.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not nearly as informed as I should be, but I make an effort to listen or read the news daily to find out what is happening in the world or close to home. Why am I making a big issue about this? Because many students go off to college and have the time of their lives hanging with friends and putting these current events as far as possible from their minds.
But here’s a news flash: CURRENT EVENTS DON’T STOP! They’re current for a reason and just because you put them out of your mind doesn’t stop them from happening and effecting your lives. So let’s take a look at a few things we can’t afford to ignore anymore.
Racism and Gender Inequality
We’re almost 50 years past the Civil Rights Movement and yet incidents of racial violence and hate are still happening in our nation. Within the past year alone we have seen incidents at college campuses such as the University of Missouri and the University of Wisconsin along with the unnecessary use of force by police on several occasions against colored people.
The same goes for gender inequality. From the entertainment industry and sporting world to regular business professions the gender pay gap still persists. To me this doesn’t fundamentally make sense; women outnumber men in college attendance and are quickly becoming the most educated workers but even if they have similar levels of education men are still more likely make more.
We are supposed to be one of the most advanced and evolved nations on this planet and yet we find ourselves still failing to open our eyes to the reality of these situations and act to change them. We can’t brush these issues under the rug anymore because if we continue to do just that, we’ll halt all progress made and start heading backward.
These issues play directly into the other reason we need to stay up-to-date on current events: the impending election and remaining primaries.
We have, arguably, one of the most important elections for President of the United States approaching in November and many primary elections still remaining. This is one issue nobody should ever take lightly because who is elected will be running our country for the next four years, but the problem remains that many people are under informed and don’t get out to vote.
My friend Jarjieh shared this great article a couple weeks ago about “How non-voters blew it” and it discusses how Republican turnout has been the highest in primaries since the 1980s, but only 17% of eligible voters have turned out. If all eligible voters would have turned out to vote, the candidates in the race for nomination could look a lot different from what they do now. (I just want to point out, before I make my next statement, I don’t care whether you’re a democrat, republican, socialist, independent, or whatever, your political leanings are your own business, not mine.) And I have to agree with Jarjieh when he said, “If you think you can just ‘sit this one out’ or vote for Mickey Mouse, think again. You might be letting hatred and bigotry win.”
We are a progressive country and if we don’t vote we could be taking yet another step in the wrong direction. But in order to vote, one MUST be informed. It’s true, many people do ultimately pick the candidate they would rather sit down and have a beer with, but is that helping our country? We need informed citizens selecting the candidate best fit to run this country or fear further exacerbation of the racism and gender inequality still prevalent in our society.
There are many, many more problems that can be discussed and should no longer be ignored, but the point I want to make is we can no longer sit back and let the “adults” handle it. As we college students come of age it’s now our duty to voice our concerns and help resolve conflicts and problems. If your state still hasn’t had its primary election yet, take this time to do your research and when they day comes make your voice heard. Ignorance shall no longer be bliss until we can learn to be as informed as possible and help move the world to the more equal Eden we have only dreamed of in the past.