By Tim Collins
There seems to be a movement sweeping over young people all over America. It isn’t political or even social. It’s apathy. It seems as though a large segment of the young Americans are nothing but apathetic when it comes to the world around them. Why is it that young Americans just don’t seem to care about anything but themselves these days?
Republicans raised the retirement age to 70 recently, it will take effect for Gen Xers and younger. The babyboomers were spared. Why? Statistically speaking, the babyboomers make up large segment of politically active Americans. The Republicans knew that if the age increase were to affect babyboomers, they would risk political suicide.
Even as movements like Occupy Wall Street grow in popularity, it seems that many younger Americans are content to just watch the Jersey Shore or American Idol. Even more shocking is that the numbers of Americans voting for their next American Idol often trump those who turn out to elect the next president.
The younger generations are sitting idly by as more and more of their rights are being stripped away by the power elite. Many aren’t even aware that they are losing their future. A recent trip to a college campus to raise attention to heavy coal pollution was met with total apathy. While some students stopped to talk, most just said that it wasn’t their problem. Some even made signs mocking the reason I was there.
I stopped one of the students mocking the idea of heavy coal pollution to ask him what his problem was. He said that he was healthy, so there was no reason for him to worry about the pollution. I told him about a town across the state that lost their water supply due to heavy coal pollution and the fact that they couldn’t even bathe in the water. He just shrugged his shoulders and said to me, that’s there.
Later that evening I embarked on some research. I went through the Neilson Ratings for the past couple of years to see what was most watched in American homes. The top shows were American Idol, NCIS, The Superbowl, World Series, etc. To my amazement, there was no news on the top of the list. Were American’s being brainwashed by the media? It seemed an awful lot like it.
All you have to do if you want to see the dumbing down of America is watch Jay Walking on the Tonight Show. Jay Leno has asked questions about presidents, world events, etc almost always to be greeted with blank stares and wrong answers. I am aware that they only show the dumb people, because it makes for a funny bit. What’s sad is when people are shown a picture of the president and they have no idea who he is.
Some of the most popular shows with younger Americans are Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, American Idol, among others. Many of these shows are “ME” centered. The participants only care about themselves and no one else. This constant barrage of “ME” culture is leading to a massive case of apathy. Young Americans are too busy living in the now to worry about their tomorrow. They are being taught that it is “normal” to just want to get drunk and work on your tan.
The corporate media are succeeding in brainwashing the future of America. The youth are doing more and questioning less. We are being conditioned by the media that we view to not question authority. After 9/11, President Bush said that Americans should not tolerate or entertain any conspiracies about the events of the day. Those who asked questions were called nothing more than conspiracy theorists. It became the way to shut up anybody who might have had good questions, just call it a conspiracy theory.
When the Patriot Act was signed into law the media promoted it as being a good thing. The idea was to play up the “patriot” in the title. Fox News and other conservative pundits began touting it as essential in the war on terror. The left feigned disgust and after a few weeks, the story was gone from the media.
The media have our brains fine tuned to the attention span of a gnat. Political pundits always change course, but claim that they never did. Rush Limbaugh famously boasted that if Obama care passed, he would move to Costa Rica. When Obama care passed and a liberal caller broached the subject, Rush back peddled and rewrote history. He claimed that he never said he would move to Costa Rica, but would want to if Obama care passed. Limbaugh’s listeners believed every word that Rush said, even those that heard him say that he would move to Costa Rica.
Rush Limbaugh is an example of a media personality who has full control over his audience. Limbaugh is one of the highest rated radio shows in America, and his listeners hang on his every word. New agencies can have the same power over their viewers. Fox News is the highest rated cable news channel in America. A large segment of Americans form their views based on the stories they see on Fox News. Fox News has been caught multiple times taking quotes out of context and mischaracterizing the truth. Fox News’ rebuttal is that the people who point out their lies are paid by liberals and shouldn’t be trusts. Fox News viewers never question.
The television has come to be the thing that shapes our world views, morals, and opinions of what normal is. Far too often American media has played the role of presenter of one sided viewpoints. Americans are told that all Muslims are terrorists, bin Laden is really dead, Bush won the election fair and square, and Obama is a socialist, Marxist, from Kenya.
The media does its best to distract people from what’s really happening. Even the news has become a place to throw in celebrity gossip as Obama signs an Executive Order with no attention. The corporate media thinks for us. They tell us what is normal and when we should be outraged.
Television simply shapes our opinions of people, politicians, and morals. Need proof? Look at Bill Clinton’s appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show or his town hall meeting on MTV. Compare that to George H.W. Bush’s awkward interview on MTV where he seemed clueless about any form of modern music. Clinton hooked the youth vote because of those appearances.
There is hope for the future of America as more of the youth is cutting away from the television and the corporate media. They are searching for real news, an alternative to the stuff their parents watch.
There is an awakening happening among the youth. Some are beginning to ACTUALLY ask questions. They are beginning to not take everything at face value and opening their minds to new viewpoints and opinions. It’s driving the corporations that own the media nuts and making them try to clamp down on internet freedoms. The media is getting scared, that they might be reduced to the same fate as the newspaper industry.
We all have to hope that the youth keep waking up and start caring about the world around them, in the future tense, not just the present.