Thursday, November 6, 2008

Do we still have to see her?

I know how that sounds. But one of the things I was looking forward to the most on November fifth was not having to hear what coffee cup knowledge Palin was spewing, what designer clothes she was wearing, which up-do she was sporting. If you need to know why, check out this clip from huffingtonpost.com:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/05/palin-didnt-know-africa-i_n_141653.html. For some reason the entire link isn't showing up, but if you go to huffingtonpost.com, click on the navigation bar tab for "Sarah Palin", it should be the first video that comes up. Wow. All I can say is wow. We all know O'Reilly defends her because she gives him a woodie. Or maybe he's just turned on by a gun toting, beauty pageant contestant who likes moose stew? Sounds about right for Bill-O.

Yeah, and dinosaurs and humans were on the earth at the same time just like on the Flintstones.

So, to avoid a litany of complaint (from this point forward), today I want to reflect on the youth vote and the amazing turnout. The first election I voted in was Clinton's first term. I was in undergrad. In the haze of my underage hubris I believed he might win or lose depending on my vote. He won, and I know my ballot didn't matter too much in deeply blue Massachusetts. Yet, I am basking in the fantasy that my vote (in newly blue Indiana) did help make a difference. Obama won my county by only 7,290 votes. Obama won the state by 26,163 cast ballots-- that's fewer people than the university I attend and at which I taught.

I had a student in one of my freshman classes last year who was from just outside Manhattan. One class day, our discussion focused on the memorial at the WTC site, and some students started talking about the war in Iraq. I didn't point out the fact that these two things are mutually exclusive because that would have started a whole new debate. Anyway, this young woman of whom I write was sitting in the front row; she was usually engaged in class discussions, but on that particular day, she looked uncomfortable. In fact, more than a few students looked uncomfortable. In a lull in the discussion, I asked the class, "Is this a bad topic for our discussion? Should we be talking about something else?" Sally (name changed to protect her innocence) reluctantly spoke up: "I don't care about the war. I know that's not a popular position, but I just don't." I was trying to hide my surprise, when she then said, "Yeah, I lived outside Manhattan the day the towers fell. I didn't care then either. I didn't know anyone who was there, and I don't know anyone who is in Iraq."

Out of sight, out of mind is what I wanted to say.

Now, I am a teacher that firmly believes in NOT pushing my views on my younglings. Never had I needed to fight the urge so strongly than at that moment. Luckily, I can think on my feet (most of the time) and was able to divert my focus to the class and not my own reaction. I simply asked, "Does anyone else feel like Sally?" More than a dozen hands slowly raised. I admit, my heart sank. Another young woman said, "I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one. I mean, it's like bad to not care about the war and stuff." (Again from another engaged and engaging student.) Some others volunteered that they didn't care about politics or world affairs in general. Many nods of assent to those comments.

I didn't teach this fall for the first time in five years-- alas, my funding ran out but I am still completing the worst paper I've ever written (i.e., my dissertation). I understand from the news that the youth vote was critical in deciding this election. I can't help but think that some small part of me sees why those students resisted thinking or feeling anything about our country and the state of world affairs. I might have felt that way on November fifth if Obama hadn't won. I don't need to be reminded of that potential outcome everytime I still see Palin on camera. One way I suppose to avoid my gag reflex is to watch Fox as much as I normally do--rarely, just for a giggle. I guess I should take a clue from my freshman foils and just mute the TV and close my eyes everytime Palin gets airtime.

Out of sight, out of mind. I'll let you know how it goes.

1 comments:

Seeing Eye Chick November 8, 2008 at 6:09 PM  

That has always horrified me. People who truly believe that these world changing issues dont affect them directly. Then one day, when it does directly affect them, they will act as if this were a totally random event, and will be unable to connect the dots inbetween.

Stupid is as Stupid Does.

I dealt with students like that over the issue of Sexual Harassment, little chickie poohs with their pushup bras riding on the freedoms won for them by their elders--whome they were convinced had never had sex, or been harassed, being the old bags that we are--and older.

sigh!

I could say so much more but it would only get spittle and froth on your blog. I think that I must admire you for not popping a vein right there all over them.

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP