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Apathetic youth should wake up

“The Real World.” Articles in magazines about “how to score a man in seven days.”  Dumbed down children’s television programs. A general lack of interest in reading. Texting instead of the traditional phone call. Paris Hilton’s “My New BFF.” 
The future of America is beginning to frighten me, and I hope I am not alone.
It is said the youth of America are more apathetic than ever, but I disagree. Our generation could not be more interested in reality television, Perez Hilton’s blog, drinking each other under the table and anything and everything to do with sex.
It is what our generation is not interested in that concerns me, such as the Obama administration’s plans for America or how our current economy is continuing to plummet.
Long gone are the days of protesters, news headlines that read world news instead of movie stars’ relationship issues and face-to-face communication. 
We are in a day and age where people care more about Paula Abdul quitting “American Idol” than our involvement in Iraq or our health care plan. People’s television sets are tuned into MTV’s “Room Raiders” rather than CNN News. Magazines have replaced novels and even worse, people live religiously by the advice these magazines give.
They consistently watch shows such as “The Real World” and apply it to the real real world. Self-respect and high morals are almost obsolete.  
While watching TV one night, a commercial appeared that showed Jay Leno asking a young girl a simple and what should have been easy question: “Who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?”
The girl was clueless. He then asks another question: Who lives in a Pineapple under the Sea? She replied, “Oh, SpongeBob!”
I’m sure many of you have seen this commercial, and I hope people do not think this is funny or cute, but rather appalling that a person’s knowledge is becoming limited to cartoons and reality shows on television, shady columns in magazines and the entire menu on McDonalds, because he or she has never learned how to cook real food. 
After the commercial aired, I realized we are running out of time to stop Americans from becoming ignorant and completely apathetic to the world changing around us.
Change must start now, and it must start with our generation. 
You might now be saying to yourself, what can I do to make any difference? I’m just one person. I don’t matter.
But you’re wrong.
Every small decision that is made today gets placed in America’s larger picture. What if everyone finally realized that Paris Hilton is never going to get a new best friend because all of her contestants are just as shady, drama-filled and spotlight-crazed as she is, and they stopped watching her show? 
What if speaking your mind for what you believed in wasn’t criticized but encouraged? What if one day America saw protesters fill the streets again in efforts to change for the better? Imagine the impact that could hit America if one person were to stand up and shout “no.”
So I beg of you, turn off that reality show (it’s not reality anyway, they have scripts to follow!) and turn on the news – hell, turn on “The Soup!“ Make reading an acceptable pastime again.
Get off Facebook and join a club that interests you, where you can interact with people face-to-face again instead of behind a screen. Turn on your brain and become informed. Never let ignorance be an excuse. 
To quote the group Flobots, “We are building up a new world. Do not sit idly by. Do not remain neutral. There is a war going on for your mind. If you are thinking, you are winning.”
Do not let apathy destroy America. Start the insurgency. Be the change. 
Megan Loos is a senior psychology major from Schaumburg. She is the Scout photo editor. 
Direct comments, questions and other responses to mloos@mail.bradley.edu.