My generation needs to get it together. The problems we face as a country are many, and serious. This is no time to be obsessed with professional sports or reality TV. Absence of mind and understanding applies to all generations to a degree, but the millennial generation controls the future. We are in this mess together, but the perseverance of America rests on individual discipline, responsibility, action and awareness.
Don’t take it from me that millennials, generally speaking, are inept and brain dead without basic understandings about U.S. civics, politics, American history and heritage. Just see an easy-make “gotcha” video on a college campus. Not so long ago at Texas Tech University, college students were asked to name which side won the Civil War. Crickets. Many of them didn’t know the two sides, and they certainly didn’t know which years the war was fought, even worse, which century. Of course, when asked what show Snooki appears on, everyone knew “Jersey Shore.” And when questioned who Brad Pitt is married to, all answered Angelina Jolie. You can see this tragic video on Salon.com
In another example, George Mason University students were asked on videotape to identify a photo of the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Almost everyone struck out, but when shown a picture of Kim Kardashian, almost everybody hit a home run. Naturally, these clips went viral via TheDailySignal.com. Being “politically correct” is a bad problem if you ask me, but being “politically challenged” at such rudimentary levels is utterly terrifying.
The above points of reference are just two of countless cases where young people prove themselves to be clueless about things that matter. It should be noted, though, that the idiocy is never exclusive to any race or gender. And evidently, the ignorance applies the same to seniors as it does freshmen.
In all fairness, it can be argued that full blame cannot be pinned on the backs of the individuals who know little and close to nothing about related matters of real substance. The federal government is definitely at fault with public education. Dissenters typically have trouble defending current literacy and dropout rates. K-12 learning is a failure, so much so that neither political party or president has been able to make it better in the twenty-first century. From the George W. Bush No Child Left Behind disaster, to President Barack Obama’s Common Core nightmare. The facts support the Founders’ belief to leave education to private entities, not central government. After all, states and local communities, parents, guardians and others with vested interests in their kids, know better how to educate them than bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., do. I digress. Making the case against the Department of Education is simple to do, but young adults should be responsible enough to teach themselves what they consciously haven’t learned already.
No passes should be given to millennials who can’t explain the causes leading to American independence, or the economic circumstances that enabled the Industrial Revolution. Used to, these were questions asked on elementary exams, of which, many degree holders and professional graduates couldn’t pass today. Keeping informed and remaining vigilant are essential requirements for We The People to sustain freedom, prosperity, and democratic government. Formal edification alone is not enough in this regard. When the majority of citizens are more wise about entertainment news and social trends than real affairs and background lessons of our own country, we’re faced with an unacceptable, yet inevitable catastrophe. From reading this, briefly forget your own political persuasion and contemporary beliefs. Recognize that unless our peers wake up to real life and start studying what has already been overlooked, we can expect the future of our nation to continue in one direction: downward.
Sawyer Smith is a graduate student of journalism from Dexter, Mo. He is a reporter for the Lariat.