Pop culture distracts from political issues

By: Chris Zimmer – Columnist, Sophomore

I had a lot of time on my hands over winter break. Despite working full time, recovering from the infamous wisdom teeth extraction, and spending the holidays with the family, I made sure I spent my free time staying informed with local, national and international news.

There were plenty of headlines over the holiday that caught the attention of the public. For starters, Phil Robertson’s infamous comments regarding homosexuality in his GQ interview almost led the patriarch of the duck call tycoon family to be kicked off the show, though he did receive negative feedback from a vast number of people. While many bashed
Robertson, there were plenty of supporters behind him, his faith and values.

However, media outlets have continued to make pop culture headlines the only headlines. While the mass majority of
Americans were busy picking sides and debating a traditional Southerner’s view on homosexuality, our elected representatives were busy passing the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.”

The most important part of the bill was the retention of the power to apprehend and detain Americans indefinitely without probable cause and without the right to a speedy trial. For a year our Constitutional rights have been taken away and there has been little to no outcry or protest.

Even worse, while thousands if not millions of Americans were distracted by the loud jeers and cheers for their favorite football teams during college bowl season, the well-known German newspaper der Spiegel made clear in its coverage on the activities of the National Security Agency that the agency swept up troves of personal information data belonging to American citizens and hacked into countless cellphones and computers during the peak days of Christmas shopping.

I believe that as a whole, we citizens of the United States should make it a “resolution” to not get so caught up in the hectic and busy lifestyles that so many of us live. Take time to consider the bigger picture and ask the question, what is going on out in the real world?

As a student and a worker, it’s hard for me to dive into what some would call “boring” or “grown up” habits like reading the news; and not just what’s on cable television.

By reading foreign news outlets such as the BBC, der Spiegel and Al Jazeera English, my eyes have opened to a larger view of what’s really happening.

In a time where we are a few clicks away on our computers, and a few swipes on our smart phones from breaking news and endless information, I hope all UD students, as well as everyone in this country, can make 2014 a year of political awareness.

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