By A.J. Calabrese
A few weeks ago, my mom asked me why I was so cynical all the time. I couldnât help but wonder if our president had anything to do with it. I let it roll around in my mind for awhile. It couldnât be any of the topical things, really: the economy, global warming, wars. Iâve deleted these things from my subconscience. Thinking about them too much would turn me into a crazy person.
Maybe it was the news. Thereâs no
way there were ever this many in-your-face news stations before Bushâs presidency. News tickers have been around since Sept. 11, but have stuck around long past their welcome, not unlike an annoying uncle at a family reunion. Using them for 24/7 purposes is absurd, and some stories are so unnecessarily rolled along the bottom of the screen that they could easily be self-parodies.
The other day on C
NN, three stories scrolled across the screen, all of them consequently related to Bushâs dog biting a reporterâs finger.
Is there really more of a demand for this? Has our world as we know it really become so surreal and absurd in the last eight years that people now demand to watch the news for
entertainment? Maybe that was it, I thought, and then I stopped and wondered why anyone would ever want to think about that kind of stuff. A few hours later my dad asked me why I was so cynical all the time.
Are we all pessimists? Our
generation has grown up with much more dismal perceptions than those of the past. Weâre riding the crest of the wave created by the Perfect Storm. The economy is like it was in the 1930s. We have modern day communists: terrorists, an image which has been grossly blown out of proportion just like it was in the â50s. We have civil rights issues reminiscent of the â60s because people arenât exactly sure whether or not homosexuals deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. And I thought this kind of stuff had been dealt with already. How could all the principles our parents and their parentsâ generations strived for be compromised for this issue? Then add stuff unique to modern times: global warming, AIDS.
The worldâs been left on our
doorstep in a cradle with a guilt note attached to it. But will we even be more equipped to handle it than those who wrote the note? I guess that right there is the ultimate question. What will we, the children of the new millennium, be like when weâre older?
Will we be timid, shocked, so
fed up with modern paranoia that we try to remove ourselves from it altogether? Will we become vigilantes, devoid of faith in anything higher than ourselves? After the election on Tuesday, I got a Facebook invitation from someone Iâd never met before to a group called “Canada Anyone?” I wasnât annoyed. If I ever actually considered joining Facebook groups as a substantial way of expressing my beliefs, Iâm sure I wouldâve been a member if my presidential team hadnât won. I just thought it was funny, knowing the political and social opinions of those in the group, that if they did move to Canada, theyâd find a lot more “socialism” there to fret about than in the new America set to come.
For everyone, even future Canadian citizens if they want to heed the call, I hope this column makes you reflect on the past eight years, because the
outgoing regime has shaped all of our lives whether we wanted it to or not.
But stay hopeful. We have a new president on the way, whose campaign slogan strikes that very chord. Itâs a simple slogan, and I think thatâs a good fit; the only way weâll be able
to retain hope will be to keep things simple. And after weâve fixed those simple things, I hope people will feel safe enough to want to see the world, rather than spy on it, watching it through a plasma keyhole while its images are only complicated beyond recognition, plastered with meaningless facts and news stories voyeuristically and tactfully assorted by matters of interest.
I hate talking politics, and thereâs a good chance Iâll cringe at this when the paper comes out. But Iâm making an exception this one time, just like
the former non-voters who knew if there was just one time to speak out, this was absolutely it. I really do hope America has its image restored, both to its own citizens and citizens of other countries. And I hope I never get so cynical that I pick up and move to Canada, because I feel like I could like it here.