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.