Criticize Your Government

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend an hour of my day listening to Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones upon her visit to our school. Very few people knew she was coming until few hours before the speech was schedualed, and it was a surprise to many. After it was announced that we would be listening to the congresswoman talk at about 10 am, everyone in my homeroom has some wise-ass comment to make. The thing that I found most amazing however, was how few people actually had any idea who she was... I heard people call her everything from a state senator, to city councilwoman, to Ohio represenative. People were asking if she was a Democrat or a Republican, what she looked like, and why she was here.

Granted, probably only a minority of the people at school are represented by her since they live in Cleveland's "thriving" subburbs, but it seemed odd that no one knew who the congressperson from their major city was. Of course, I'm not going to claim to know all of the representatives from the state of Ohio, but I'm at least aware of the representatives from Cleveland East, Cleveland West, Lorain, and Lake Country are and have a mild idea of how they stand on issues and vote in the congress.

The fact that so few people know so little makes for a humorous situation when they try to criticize the government, leaders, or policy. For example, the other day people were baffled at why the drinking age in the United States is 21 years old and not 18 like in other countries. They honestly believed it was based on maturity and they felt they were mature enough for it. They had absolutely no clue about the federal mandate handed down to the states during the construction of most of the interstate highways; mandating of course that states would recieved federal funding for interstate projects if they raised the legal drinking age to 21. The other day in English the question was asked who would be a possible candidate for the Republican ticket in 2008, someone proposed that Bill "First" might run, and only a handful of people knew who Bill "Frist" actually was. Another time someone was excited about the prospect of Hon. William Renquist having to step down as chief justice, because it meant that Bush could appoint a new "conservative" to the Supreme Court, clearly of course, this person had no idea how William Renquist swayed ideologically.

Maybe the problem is that no one reads the newspaper anymore... Maybe they just flip straight to the sports section and the funnies for a laugh at the day's Ziggy cartoon. Maybe the problem is that people rely on Action 19 News for reliable information, and thus end up knowing only of the latest Jay-Lo affair and dirty dining experience. Maybe everyone obsesses about their math, science, and theology classes and hasn't a care what goes on in the world... Whatever the case, at least I can leave high school knowing that even though I don't have the best grades or the best test scores, that I'm infinitely more knowlegable on issues that actually have significance in the world.

1 comments:

    I don't think anyone obsesses over theology homework, but I see your point.