Apathy: Our nation’s greatest threat

Kyle Russell, IV Leader columnist

“I don’t care” —  these three little words pack such a great punch.
It is a drug, a plague if you will, that seems to be infecting the minds of people all over the world. Whether it’s “I don’t care if I go to class today”, “I don’t care about my grades”, or “I don’t care whether I  finish school”, the “I don’t cares” start out small and quickly grow into a much larger beast. Let’s dissect this topic into several examples to give you an idea of just how bad that apathy really is hurting us.
As a growing nation (in more than one way) we all look for our next tax write off as we stuff our faces with enough food to feed half a village. But that’s all alright because we are doing everything that we possibly can to help out those who are in need right?
So what percentage of our government’s annual spending (your tax dollars) do you think goes to aiding those who are in need? 10 percent?  7 percent? 5 percent?  How about just under a single percent. Now let’s ask one of those children who die every 8 seconds due to a lack of nutrition and clean water if we are really doing everything that we can possibly do. Think about this when we as a nation are more preoccupied by hording as many Twinkies as we can get our hands on.
It’s not only the United States that has a lack luster foreign aid policy either.  After Superstorm Sandy recently smashed its way across the eastern coastline how many other countries did you see jumping out of their seats to help us out in our time of need? The United States was ultimately left fighting through this disaster on our own, or was it?
There were several countries that offered help but the U.S. government picked and chose the offers that they would accept. So now we have pride taking the place of humanity. Shortly after,  people started going back to what was left of what they called home, and to their surprise, they were left with notices on their houses.
To sum them up the notices, their property was considered unsafe and if they did not fix them up before Nov. 30 or be in the process of doing so, then their homes were going to be torn down. If no action or notification was taken by them at all, then they could face up to $2,000 fines per week.  What a slap in the faces of those who already had lost so much. Where is the caring for this nation’s people now?
A few weeks after Superstorm Sandy struck, Americans would hit the voting booths to decide who would be our president for the next four years. Voting is a right that most citizens should find pride in doing. This year I saw many “I Voted” stickers on students’ shirts and to those who took the time out of their day to vote, I must congratulate you. For the others who didn’t vote I have to ask why you didn’t vote.
After asking two non-voters about their reasoning for not voting I received two very similar answers. The first was “I really don’t care who gets in” (maybe they should be reading this column) and the second was “I don’t do politics.” Really?
Are we getting to the point where we don’t care who will make the decisions that affect our lives? Even though my candidate did not come out victorious, I am still happy with Americans. The reason for this is that finally people took a stand and made their voices heard for what they believe in. However, out of all of those who voted, who actually did care? Who took the time to examine every part of both candidates’ backgrounds? Who took the time to research the claims that were made?
Were you one of the voters who went with who the media told you to vote for or possibly your family or friends told you was the best candidate? Either way, we need to be responsible in our actions and make well informed decisions based on our own research.
Fast forward a month and after just having celebrated Thanksgiving, I must say that I find it surprising that families can be saying grace at the table together and be grateful for the good things in their lives and then 12 hours later they are out beating someone half to death with a baseball bat as they pry the last 60-inch TV from someone’s cold, dead fingers. There were several reports of local fights alone.  The real kicker this year was a shooting at retail giant Wal-Mart in Tallahassee that injured two people, over a parking space. Apparently there is a price that can be put on someone’s life if it the discount is high enough.
So if you fall into any of these categories above and have read this far into this column, do yourself and others a favor and administer yourself self a few hundred milligrams of give-a-damn.
If it sounds like I am just trying to be cynical, you have missed my purpose. There is plenty of good in the hearts of people and sometimes it just takes a friendly reminder of our past mistakes to better us in our future. It’s the people who make the difference in the world not the governments. It’s the people who donate their hard earned money and goods to help out those who are starving. It’s the people who take in that person who has lost everything in the wake of disaster. It’s the people who restore positivity to a morally decaying world.
Take one small step in the right direction. Watch the world become a much better place.