Hello, and welcome to another round of Higl’s Squiggles’ game, “picture this.”
Today, we take you to a suburban house with a white picket fence, lush green yard and a family of four. It’s 5:30 p.m., and the mom, dad and two kids are seated at the dinner table, ready to engage in an intellectual conversation.
Tonight’s topic: Is Kim Kardashian’s derrière fake or real? Ready, set, go.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not spark a heated discussion about the Real Housewives of New Jersey?
Okay, let’s move on to scenario number two.
It’s 5:30 p.m. Dad’s still at work. Mom’s out shoe shopping. Offspring number one is hiding in his room playing video games and eating leftover Chipotle. And, offspring number two is plopped in front of the television watching “Entertainment Tonight” and eating Chinese carryout.
Do these situations sound far-fetched to you? I’m going to bet my bottom-dollar they don’t.
Now, let’s go to scenario number three. It’s 5:30 p.m. For the sake of setting the scene, let’s throw the white picket fence and lush green yard back into the picture. The family of four is sitting at the table about to eat a home-cooked meal. Mom tells the kids to put away their smartphones.
Dad begins the conversation, commenting on Obama’s initiative to raise taxes on the wealthy in an effort to help middle class Americans. Offspring number one raises an insightful argument, citing something he read in The New York Times. Offspring number two refutes offspring number one’s claim, providing evidence from an audio segment she heard on the BBC. Mom throws her opinion in the mix, and voila, we’ve uncovered the recipe for a thrilling dinner conversation.
So, show of hands, how many of you loyal readers engage in situation three on a regular basis? I could be wrong (and I occasionally am), but probably not many of you.
A recent Gallup Poll showed that many Americans were unaware of what was happening on their own soil.
Specifically, many people under 40 years old rarely tune in to a political talk show, pick up a daily newspaper or watch the nightly news.
Yet, young Americans are obsessed with celebrity gossip, reality television and the works.
Before you rip this paper to shreds and feed it to the voracious JCU squirrels for an afternoon snack, I’m not saying there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. We all have our guilty pleasures.
However, it’s a sad reality that many people don’t know who their governor or the U.S. Secretary of State are. Nor do many know or care about what’s happening on Capitol Hill.
Why should we care? Well, for starters, it directly affects us. Your student loan future, your safety, security and career path could and will likely be dramatically influenced by current events and political action.
How about who gets cut on “The Bachelor?” Surprisingly, not so much.
I grew up in a household where my morning ritual consisted of my parents shoving a cup of coffee and a copy of The Plain Dealer in my face. If I didn’t know what the main stories were, let’s just say that dinner was a tad uncomfortable.
And let’s circle back to the whole dinner scenario. I was raised in a house where family dinners were the highlight of the day. We’d sit down, television off, with a home-cooked meal and have a conversation about what in the world is going on in the news. This would last us at least a solid hour.
Perhaps this is why I’m a second-semester senior with foolish aspirations of entering into the wonderful world of journalism.
Please don’t be alarmed. I’m not saying you need to raise your children to be journalists. You can breath easy. I’m just saying we need to strive to become well-informed citizens participating in this crazy democracy of ours.
So, be a rebel. Ask a friend at the dinner table what they think of the Charlie Hebdo situation. Make dinner for your parents next time you go home, tell them to put away their smartphone, and talk about the 2016 presidential election.
Warning: stay away from any bloodbaths that may be caused by extreme partisan views.
But don’t fear. You’re already on the right track. Why? Because you’re holding a copy of an award-winning newspaper in your hands right now. Enjoy.