After yesterday's interview with Joshua Foer on the political orientation of college students (see yesterday's entry), we received an interesting email from a listener.
I graduated from college five years ago and am a little irritated by the expectation of many people in my parents' generation that college students should be vanguard of liberal protest movements in this country. I'm a pretty liberal guy, but I think this idea that it's traditional and only right for college students to hugely activist is just plain wrong. As far as I know, the only period in which that was the case was the 60s and 70s, and the issues facing our country were hugely different from the ones we face today. Rather than complain about how apathetic college students are these days, people should accept and engage their ideas on their own terms. The constant comparison to past generations gets us nowhere.
So we followed up today with a call-in today for students on whether they agreed with the sentiments expressed by our emailer.
Click below to read a selection of comments from listeners who emailed during the show.
I am a relatively recent college graduate, and i believe that "activism" evolves, as does everything else. i am a little frustrated with this concept that being active requires membership to an organization or participation with a mob. my biggest beef is with the women of my parents' generation, who seem to feel that women of my generation are not paying our dues by burning brassieres and publicly challenging the establishment. i consider myself a feminist, and an active one at that, though i didn't attend the rally in washington and i don't make a habit of wearing t-shirts with cheeky propoganda. i work in an industry rife with machismo and gender obstructions, every day i make it clear that i will not use sexual currency to buy success or compromise my values, and i do not--as many "activists" do--have the luxury of working among like-minded people. but i feel that my presence among those i disagree with tempers some of their prejudices, which is my small contribution to progress.
The difference between college students now and then that allows current
college students today to be less affected by current events is the lack of a draft. Perhaps we should bring it back so they can feel a little more involved.