Pay Attention or Pay the Price: the Importance of Staying Informed
During last year’s presidential election, many students became incredibly involved in politics. Regardless of political affiliation, many within the student body immersed themselves in the political sphere like never before.
The hope was that their intense political sentiments – whether it be contentment or disappointment – would translate into a continued interest in what was going on in the world around them. Now, a little under a year since President Trump’s election, do they still care?
Though many students define themselves as people who care about current events, a large percentage also find it tiring to constantly check the news that they consider so frequently negative.
“I have such low expectations for the world right now. I don’t want to pay attention to it,” Anna Simmons (‘20) said, alluding to the issue.
Other students, however, find that they actually pay more attention to the news when it discusses something that they find incredibly upsetting.
“When something is more outrageous, people in general pay more attention to it,” said Chaz Saferstein (‘20).
Considering the chaos and unprecedented events that followed the presidential election, it is no surprise that politics attracted an audience it previously had not. We’ve also seen disturbing events attracting an audience more recently, such as the protests in Charlottesville, in which many people began paying attention to the current events they found to be upsetting.
Other students find that their attention to the news stayed the same before and after the election, regardless of what was going on in the world. Whether that meant that they were incredibly interested in news before the election, or that they were oblivious from the start, their habits often remained the same. For some it was very intentional, and for others hearing about politics was unavoidable in their school and home lives due to the interest of classmates and relatives.
One common trend within the student body, regardless of how much attention was paid to the media, was that many agreed on the importance of it. Despite the majority of Packer students being unable to vote, the value of being aware of current events is tremendous.
“If people are keeping up with current events and understand the way government works, they’ll be more willing to vote and take part in the action in a way they can’t if they’re uninformed,” said Reese Kennedy (‘18) who will be turning 18 soon, along with many of his classmates.