Learn to watch the world spin so your head doesn't
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 00:09
Last week I started a new habit of picking up the newspaper every day on my way to class to find out what was happening in the world. One week into it, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that an American ambassador was murdered overseas.
On Sept. 11, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, who just earned his position in Libya back in June, was slain at the U.S. embassy in Libya along with three other Americans. He was the first ambassador to die in office since 1988.
I thought this was a huge deal until I realized that most of my peers had no idea what I was talking about when I brought up the ambassador’s death. Then I realized that I would have never known this man had died if I hadn’t picked up the paper because it does not directly affect my life in Pittsburgh.
Most people don’t pay attention to current national events, let alone international. Many people prefer to watch feel -good television and to read literature of their personal interest, all instead of picking up a newspaper or even surfing the internet for news. It is important to know about these events because even though it may not immediately affect us personally, they affect us as a nation, just like the election.
Unfortunately, more often than now, people do not pay attention to election issues as the time to election day gets closer. Some people don’t even vote because they have so little knowledge of politics.
According to the Census Bureau, “Citizens between the ages of 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout in the presidential election, reaching 49 percent in 2008, compared with 47 percent in 2004.” Even though the increase in young adult turnout is great, it cannot be ignored that most of the youth in our country are not fully aware of global issues. It is still a major problem.
Just because an event took place on the other side of the world does not mean that you should not pay attention to it. If we took global events and brought them down to a local scale, we would feel a lot of sympathy and a need to be aware of the same events that we overlook now.
For example, imagine the effects of announcing that Chris Stevens was murdered today down the street from campus instead of saying that Ambassador Stevens was killed overseas. Or if it was reported that a man with family and friends at the age of 52 was murdered instead of Ambassador Stevens being listed as one of the four killed during the assault on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
If people would watch or read the news with a more emotional eye, then maybe we would care more about what went on in the world around us.
Another good reason to pay attention to the world’s news is to be able to show your intellect to your peers. People will recognize that you are intelligent in different aspects, enough so that you can form your own opinions on global subjects, not just the local material. Being aware of all that goes on in the world has infinite benefits, from being aware of global material and seeing how they affect daily life to caring about other countries and their issues. That level of consciousness conveys to people that you have the ability to care for others on a global level, a most honorable trait.
The ambassador’s death does not affect our lives directly, but as a nation it does affect us. A man who had enough courage to become the ambassador to Libya, which has been undergoing revolution, died for our country. Paying attention to what goes on throughout the world may not be your first concern but it should be something you be careful to note. Take care of the most important things in life: your family, your school work, and your friends; the things that are important to you. However, before the end of your day, try and read one news article or watch a news show to try and catch up on the world past your city’s limits. You might find something in the news for you to be passionate about.
Georgie Flynn is a junior English and print journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.