Friday, October 20, 2006

It's the water!

Yesterday I spent the morning at the local university. It was the second day of a "Teach-In on the Iraq War" which featured a number of speakers.

While there, I picked up a copy of the school's newspaper. And I won't mention the name of the university specifically, other than to say it's a branch of the University of Texas system here in El Paso. This I say in preface to the article I read inside on page 8 of that campus paper.

With the upcoming elections, the Student Government Association scheduled a "Tap the Vote" debate program in an on-campus auditorium. It was to feature candidates running for office; to better inform students of their choices before going to the polls.

Sadly, however, neither of the candidates scheduled to participate showed up! But my shock quickly faded when I read that was okay. See, only one student not required to be there showed up!

Ironically, the interested student is a citizen of Mexico! As he explained, "I cannot vote because I am not a U.S. citizen, but I'm here because for the next two years El Paso will be my home and it is important that I know what is happening because future policies will affect me."

Apparently, the student didn't realize things are different here in the U.S. This isn't Mexico and we don't much give a fat rat's ass about politics or their impact on our lives.

But as I reflected upon this, I tempered my amazement at this story. Maybe, I thought, student (and candidate) apathy shouldn't be that appalling because:
  • it's what counts the votes what counts. The outcome has already been determined.
  • it doesn't matter who's elected, once in office a kind of conductive deafness sets in. Conductive deafness occurs when sound waves (like those from voters) are prevented from reaching the inner ear. Causes can be several: ear wax, fluid in the ear canal, the seizing up of the tiny bones inside the ear or, as most prevalent in politicians, special interest lobbyists blocking out the voice of one's constituents. The only sounds reaching the brain become those of money "jingle-jangling" or "ka-chinging."
  • most students are poor, hence, they have no influence, thus candidates think, "Screw 'em." (And they usually do.)
  • both parties are the really the same. (Regardless of outcome, students will be screwed.)
  • democracy is dead. (In America it was still born.)
  • or maybe it's just the lithium, the chemical that helps to control mania like hyperactivity, rushed speech and bad judgments, aggression and anger, that is, indeed, too prevalent in El Paso's drinking water.


azgoddess said...

wow - the universtiy i work at

the kiddies are very active -- i went to see michael moore to one of the largets crowds he had on tour a few years ago...

dada said...

az: I envy your university. Just up the road in Albuquerque apathy appears dead also. Had the fortune to be there in the spring of '03 when (I have no idea what was going on) streets around the university were barracaded off from traffic, helmeted/hooded officers on giant steeds ruled the roads, an occasional small group of students (I assume) jay-ran 'cross the streets in front of oncoming traffic evading the law while the sweet hint of tear gas tickled the nostrils of all. It was such a festive time and I don't even know what the occasion was.

Here, in El Paso, we can't get Amy Goodman to town. Michael Moore was a major coup! Congratulations.

D.K. Raed said...

I just don't understand student apathy. Been reading excerpts from Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004". Posted a few gems (and a GWB limerick!) at Meldonna's. But this seemed appropriate to your post here, dada. It's HST reminding us of protesting in the mid-60's to mid-70's:

"We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were all warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river. That river is still running. All we have to do is get out & vote while it's still legal, and we will wash THESE crooked warmongers out of the White House, too."

(with a sob in my heart) ~~ D.K.