Journalism-- it is what we say we are doing on this website, right? I don't mean to bash anyone, but a listicle? Sure, they make you feel good for a while, but that next week you need another one to get your fix on new followers. If you find fulfillment in your friends and your Aunt Edna knowing whom you think the hottest males in movies were this year (Ryan Gosling, am I right?) that is fine.
More worrying, it feels like a majority of my generation now gets their news from Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert. Don't get me wrong-- they have their place and they make great points, but getting all of your news from a satire is just lazy. We as a country used to get our news from journalists and anchors. People like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather come to mind.
Sadly, our generation refuses to weed out people we do not need to hear. Just look at Tomi Lahren's videos, which have 10 million views. I realize most of them are laughing at her anger, but that laughter obviously didn't translate at the polls.
Our generation now makes up the largest percent of the population in this country and yet Donald Trump is still president. I have been described in the North Country as being a "Bleeding Heart Liberal" and, while I lean to the left, I would not completely identify as a Democrat. I identify as a person ruled by common sense, especially when it comes to being governed. Like many Republicans, I do believe the government is too big in certain areas.
However, just like Democrats, I believe that common sense gun laws are the only way for our country to be safer. That's right, I said safer… not safe. No one is ever truly safe. 32,675 people died in car crashes in 2014, and that number went up in 2015, according to the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That is 89 lives per day, or about one every 15 minutes. That means in a standard 45-50-minute college lecture, three more people have died in car crashes. Would a concealed weapon help them? Anyone that guarantees you total safety is either trying to sell you something or is flat out lying. People can be safer by being informed and getting news from not only Trevor Noah but credible news sources as well.
There is a huge block in the way of America becoming informed of its own issues and it has to do with journalism as a whole. Journalism, as we know it today, is a popularity contest with content being driven by how many likes and shares it gets. Do you think Tomi Lahren has that nice set because no one watches? While people rage on and spin their wheels in the muck, we forget to ask the real questions. Why has no one talked to Trump about his failure to divest from his company? We forget that our prospective Attorney General has repeatedly been accused of racism. Donald Trump and his pussy- grabbing “locker room talk” completely overshadowed his worrying lack of real policy. The new iPhone may impact your life in a second, but it takes a spot behind Donald Trump having the power to impact your life for generations to come. He could have the power to appoint not only one, but two Supreme Court justices.
The only way to keep Washington in check is a coordinated effort from media outlets and journalists everywhere to inform the people. We need to send a message to not only Donald Trump, but to the whole world that we as a society will not sit blindly in the sidelines. Americans must make a conscious decision to become more involved and in turn hold our politicians to a higher standard.
That higher standard starts with journalism the electorate can trust and a rededication to the issues that matter by the media. For our own sake, our children's sake and frankly our country's sake, we need to change how we get our news. One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, wrote, "A well-informed electorate is a prerequisite for democracy." Jefferson knew from the start that corruption would be inevitable, but trusted in the power of the press to inform the people of the corruption.
In a couple of years, we will have to ask ourselves if we are comfortable caring more about the iPhone in our hand, or the fact that defunding Planned Parenthood has led to more teen pregnancies due to not having the resources for contraceptives. We as a society have to weigh whether our own instant gratification is worth ignoring why Russia was allowed to hack into our government and affect the very democracy we love. We need to tap into that resolve that won us WWI, WWII, and put men on the moon. Journalism is a start and politicians can always be held to a higher standard whether Republican, Democrat, Independent, young or old. If we are to reach the lofty goals and expectations we have set for ourselves, we also must raise ourselves up as a society to set an example for the politicians and journalists.