Recently in The Aquinas there has recently been an ongoing debate between cynicism and hope for our generation. This argument is rooted in an absolutist mindset: that we are either purely with or purely without purpose and sanctity with generalized statistics in favor of one or the other. To allow negativity to conquer our minds is as ignorant and deplorable as wrapping ourselves in a flag and proclaiming greatness based on past events and military might. This absolutist mindset is a weakness that is easy to fall into by either ignorance or self-defeat; however, struggle and imperfection has, does and will exist in humanity for as long as our race continues. We should not turn to ignorance or apathy but rather embrace this part of our humanity, for our reaction to adversity will define our greatness as a generation.
Here at The University we cannot simply solve issues – such as our nation’s shrinking freedom of press, ever-increasing police state or negligent use of military force that often kills multitudes of unarmed women and children for every real target in the ironic pursuit of “security” and “freedom.” And it is true that many students have apathetic regards to the community around them or the privileges they already have. We all have those friends or acquaintances who complain all week of having to, God forbid, do any work before they can lie around watching Netflix or get trashed on the weekend. But there are also many exemplary individuals on this campus who we should strive to emulate, people who devote themselves to self-improvement and bettering the community around them. These are individuals who actively engage in community service to improve our city, the political activists who fight daily to preserve our freedoms and the kind hearts who understand that a simple smile can change someone’s entire day. The sacrifices of these individuals cannot and should not be tarnished by the inaction or negative action of others.
We should emulate these people in our daily lives. There are a great many things we can absolutely fix within our community. The growing issue of sexual assault on this campus is one such example. To look out for or to protect a vulnerable woman is not “misogynistic” or “feminist.” It is common decency. It is important to remember our actions always create a reaction. We have the power through our actions to lead an entire generation into any direction we want, one person at a time. I challenge this University’s student body to not allow itself to fall into ignorance or complacency, but to always stand at the forefront of human struggle for a better tomorrow.
Nov. 13, 2014