Political Apathy

"You see Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care." ~Peter Gibbons, Office Space

This quote describes more than Peter's attitude toward his job. This quote represents the attitude milions of Americans have for politics, current events, and other real-life situations. The reality of this quote really hit me today when I was sitting in a business-type class at school. The professor spoke with an accent and challenged the class to guess what country she was from; someone threw out Lebanon, and she indicated they were very close geographically. The sad part is... most people had no idea where Labanon was or what other countries were near it. Serbia and Japan were thrown out as possible countries she could have been from; and most people hadn't a clue at all.

I normally wouldn't be surprised at people's ignorance; but I considered that I was sitting in one of the most elite universities in the country, among who are supposed to be some of the most intelligent people around... and still they had no concept of the Middle East. Dispite the fact that the United States is and has been involved in the Middle East for the last decade (most of these people's adult lives) they really didn't care enough to ever find out what was actually going on over there. And why should they ever have cared about it? Its not like the United States' relationship with Isreal or Saudi Arabia ever changed the way they went about with their lives... And its not like they ever saw the reality of the wars we've been involved in over there...

Everyday I start to think that intelligence and awareness are completely different concepts. Some of the smartest and hardest working people can be completely oblivious to their surroundings. And Peter is right... its not because they're lazy by any means; its that they have no reason to care. All things considered, I start to wonder whether its better to be intelligent, or to be aware, and I realize that they're not mutally exclusive... if you really want to be the best of the best, you definately need both.