The Vermont Cynic

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We as a generation are soon to inherit this country. We have to do better. We have to care more.

We have to ask questions. Its successes and failures from scientific innovations and booming business along with our problems of massive student debt, marriage inequality and urban gentrification will be ours.

We’ll be responsible for changing our society and the world as a whole, for better or worse. We just may not be informed enough to do so.

How can we expect to make sound decisions when we cannot even finish watching coeds roasting hash in their dorm rooms on a Snapchat story let alone endure the State of the Union Address from the leader of the free world?

When was the last time you read a book for pleasure? How about when you went through a whole meal without checking your phone? And what about taking a picture that wasn’t a selfie?

The media is both a product of the times and one of the people. Not only does the media dictate what we should care about but we reinforce that by buying in.

When we trend #DeflateGate rather than #HeforShe, effectively placing higher importance on depressurized pig skins than gender equity, we send messages to others and ourselves. 

No longer is it acceptable for us to accept what we’ve been offered — that is deplorable partisan nonsense and sensationalized hyperboles.

Stories of our authoritative figures are reduced to six-second Vine-length clips of finicky gaffes.

Coverage of international news is often biased and lacks context promoting little more than religious intolerance and cultural racism.

When we make entertainers the epitome of our society, like the Kardashians and Miley Cyrus, instead of those who are actively working to improve our lives–teachers, police officers, doctors etc.–what aspirations do we collectively put forth?

We can demand better from the media and we can make our own news. The advent of social media has changed our access to information and our abilities to connect with one another.

When young people in particular come together amazing things can happen.

The support for the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn, raising money for ALS research with the ice bucket challenge and even stopping traffic with protests combatting the dehumanization of people of color in the wake of the non-indictment of Darrell Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri are proof of our power.

We have to change the narratives we believe. We must search for the truth and gain diverse perspectives.

We have to check our biases and let our curiosity run wild. We have to want more, better and more authentic information.

We have to know that all Muslims are not terrorists, but also that those who embody their religion in those extreme ways are nonetheless practicing their beliefs.

We must understand that Africa is a continent with more than starving kids, undrinkable water supplies and forgettable brown peoples–it has rich cultures, countless dialects and natural beauty.

We ought to realize that we admire cancer survivors without treating them as helpless gimmicked inspirations but rather people doing what they must to live.

There is no such thing as objective journalism. Even this piece is nothing more than my opinions.

We have to want to know about the world around us, the places in it, and the peoples that make it up genuinely because it all matters.

Fill out those Buzzfeed listicles and share those Onion pieces, but listen to NPR, read the New York Times and browse Vice News. Follow celebrities on Twitter, but click hashtags to see what people are saying.

Believe your well-learned professors, but check their sources. Ask questions.

Why are you being told this? Who is benefitting from this? Whose voices are you not hearing?

We have to know that questions give us unlimited control to find what we’re looking for.

Counter-storytelling is what we do when we share the multiple sides of a story.

Newspapers are more than just black and white; they are the spaces between what’s missing.

We’re tasked with learning as much about this life as we can. I implore you to take it upon yourself to read, watch, listen and engage.

The future is coming. Will we be ready?

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
Stay informed and diligent