I personally was never the type that wanted to spend the bulk of my time reading about what was grinding the gears of people I almost never meet in person. If anything all that mattered was what directly affected my day to day routine, which does not include finding out how many people agree that a picture is cool or that the online status of someone else is funny.*
Still, that was no where near enough to satisfy my desire to feel like I was a part of something that mattered. That meant putting my time and effort towards something more consequential. I wanted to have a say in something that actually mattered to us as a society. Not just the style of glitter comments on someone’s Myspace page.
Of all the things that actually matter to society as a whole, the process by which the winners of a popularity contest dictate the details of your personal and public life ranks pretty high. By that I refer of course to government and the people that perpetuate it through whatever system of rule happens to be in place. When I first took a look at how government works, questioning the necessity of such a thing never came to mind.
I remember a class project I took part in (well over a decade ago) in which we had to decide who we would rather vote for. Would we rather devote our say to putting George W. Bush in office or Al Gore? In retrospect I think the project was a little unfair since it not only marginalized third party candidates, it never even acknowledged them.
Even higher education today seems to carry that tradition nice and strong. You would think they might take the importance of “diversity” a bit more seriously.
Not knowing nearly as much about politics, American affairs, or current events in general as I do today, I decided I would cast my “vote” (a slip of paper with someone’s name on it that we put in a box at the front of the room) to George Walker Bush. He was the older guy and thus that meant he would handle the job better. Oh how sophisticated my reasoning was!
*There, I just summed up half of Facebook in that sentence alone.