Editorial: What’s Our Thing?
It’s a cold and windy Saturday morning. While most Staples students doze in bed, people armed with signs, shouts, and spirit head downtown to exercise their First Amendment rights.
For decades, they’ve worn down their voices, flagging down pedestrians while rallying against wars fromVietnam to Iraq.
These protestors are 80-years-old.
What happens when they die? Who will take their place on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge?
The ’60s had the Civil Rights Movement. The ’70s had Vietnam. The ’80s had No Nukes.
What’s our thing?
What are we, as students, passionate about? Westport is a liberal, affluent community. Yet we seem to be intrinsically unmotivated to do anything that requires any significant effort.
It’s hard for us to relate to national issues. We don’t see child hunger on a daily basis. We don’t see gang violence as we walk down Main Street. We don’t see poor public schooling in the halls of Staples.
We live the American Dream. But most of America doesn’t.
While we’re sheltered behind our white picket fences and perfectly manicured lawns, we sit and stare at our iPhone texts, Facebook notifications, and Twitter feeds. We are cocooned in a virtual world of ease.
We do try.
We change our profile pictures to cartoon characters to stop child abuse. We retweet 140-character blurbs urging people to donate $10 to cancer research. We “like” pages to bring down warlords like Joseph Kony.
But did anyone actually “Cover the Night?” No.
These fleeting five seconds of altruism make us feel better about ourselves, but they’re not actually constructive.
We aren’t actually stopping Joseph Kony or eliminating child abuse or curing cancer simply by tapping on a touchscreen.
As Staples students, it seems that we only physically step in to help others when our own interests are in jeopardy. Even this occurs rarely, if ever.
Sure, we successfully picketed the cut of Staples Players and Collab in 2009, but we failed to voice our opinions when Arena was cut a year later.
Of course, students were outraged after the fact, but no one did anything to remedy the situation.
It’s pathetic that the most recent display of Staples students standing up for what they believe in was nearly three years ago.
Sometimes, the obstacle is that we are reluctant to share how we truly feel. We’ve become so politically correct, so afraid of breaking social norms, that we’ve forgotten how to be political.
It’s trendy to post a link. But there’s a big difference between 100 “likes” on a Facebook page and 100 people protesting on a bridge.
Find your bridge.