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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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The revolution, most certainly, won’t be televised

It began with an obnoxious University of Florida student. A student who, while exercising his right of free speech, “disturbs the peace” at a John Kerry rally. The police, while performing their duty to remove said student, used what can arguably be referred to as “excessive force.” He cried out for help but no one came to his aid.

Almost immediately afterwards, the popular comedic “news corres-pundit” Stephen Colbert, addresses the fact that even though this particular event occurred in the presence of many of his peers, no one even flinched. He called us lazy. He called us children who resort to writing about their frustrations instead of being proactive. He was right.

The consequent episode featured Colbert reading excerpts from e-mails and blogs written by fellow college students who denounced Colbert for chastising young America as a whole. The only thing accomplished was proving his point.

For the first time in history, the 20-something age group is being considered as “extended adolescence” instead of adulthood. And we, as members of the same generation, have grown complacent with this fact. As we watch our society deteriorate around us, we log onto our blogs, onto Facebook and YouTube, and bear witness to the atrocities carried out in our name and do nothing.

We are products of a society that values personal success over community coherence, and we’ve done them proud. We languish in our commercial prizes: In our iPods, our Coach purses, and wallow in the comfort of our alcohol. We trust that because the United States of America is the most powerful nation in the world, that we will be absolved from any responsibility regarding the horrific treatment of our fellow humans.

When asked about the state of current affairs, one college student said, “Why should we reach out to Darfur when they’re just hashing out their own civil war? It isn’t our responsibility, is it?” Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

Even though we see what is happening around us, it has become commonplace to ignore current events simply because they are not national problems. To most Americans, proximity is everything.

I say it is our responsibility. It is up to us to make sure our world is fit to live in, not only for us and our children, but also for our neighbors, which, with the advances in technology, has expanded to include the global community.

Now more than ever our nation is dependent on others to conserve our way of life, and yet we continually take this for granted. We assume the status quo will be maintained as long as we follow the road our government has laid out for us, regardless of any unethical methods chosen by those in power.

The real question is: why do we follow the word and examples of people who obviously act in their own fiscal interest as opposed to the greater good of humanity? After all, what is a few billion dollars when compared to thousands of human lives?

We consistently and blindly follow the members of our government simply because they are supposed to know better. Do they? Are we not capable of knowing as much about human suffering as they?

The bottom line is these things are happening. There is a genocide occurring in Darfur that the televised press is refusing to play because it’s bad for national morale. There are hundreds of women and children slaughtered daily because foreign intervention is denied to them. Worldwide, thousands of people are dying of starvation and violence. The evidence is only a few clicks away.

In Myanmar, or Burma as it is more commonly known, the population has recently banned together to depose the totalitarian government that has been known (and recorded by undercover journalists; enter “Burma” in the YouTube search field) to butcher its citizens, torch whole villages and torture those seeking democracy.

Burma is a country in which its citizens are taking their fates in their own hands and struggling for their human rights. They are staging a revolution that begins with an idea and ends in non-violent action. In this we should follow the Burmese example: A people united for the common good, regardless of superficial characteristics like sex or religion.

This idea is not exclusive to a small group of liberals. It is being addressed by religious leaders such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has proposed “A Spiritual Revolution” in his book “Ethics for the New Millennium.” An idea that is so interesting it is almost tempting to carry out.

Why not? Why not stage an ethical revolution where we come together to fight (pardon my idealism) the evil of the world with weapons of understanding and compassion instead of bullets and knives? Why not do something with our lives and stand up for what we believe in for once?

We are greater together than they give us credit for! Let us prove our elders wrong in their false conception of our laziness, of our lack of passion and morality. Let us be the generation everyone remembers. Let us fight for the rights and lives of others. For equality and empathy, “with liberty and justice for all.” Viva la Revolution!

Leanne Rodriguez writes for FSView and Florida Flambeau, the student publications at Florida State University.

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