Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeOpinionsKeep Your Nose on Your Own Continent, Please

Keep Your Nose on Your Own Continent, Please

Think local, not global.

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People need to learn to mind their own business.

It’s a delicate topic, of course. Where is the line drawn? In my overblown opinion, that line should be set within the range of your ‘monkeysphere’— the invisible space that defines how many people you can fully understand and sympathize with.

Yes, I can care about American politics; policy changes in America affect Canadian policy all the time, and I’m a Canadian citizen. But what about Occupy Central, the big Hong Kong protest? This is a fight for democracy—as westerners we should be donning our debate pants and sharpening our muskets for this. The same could be said about many Middle-Eastern conflicts, where every Tom, Dick, and Harry love to spread buzzwords they hear from their favourite talking heads.

Just because it’s an issue that affects you in some way doesn’t mean you need to dedicate your days to tweeting breathlessly about it. Unless you have some personal reason to care for it, like your close aunt’s one of the disappeared political protestors of whatever regime, you should leave most of the fighting to those who do have that connection.

This is a difficult point to isolate. Why can’t I fight for what I believe in, even if it doesn’t affect me, you may ask.

You can do whatever you want. This isn’t me telling you that you are only allowed to care about problems you’ve experienced. In fact, it’s a flipped version of that; I say you can only truly care about problems once you’ve experienced them.

The big danger here is distraction from the things that we do have responsibilities to express opinions about. There is so much noise in the media. The Westboro Baptist Church exists to enrage everyone. North Korea is the pinnacle of nationalized trolling; they’ll say anything to anyone if they can rustle some jimmies. The media machine spurts out journalistic articles by the dozen about anything that will generate a few clicks.

I’ve heard shady rumours of Halifax’s own seedy back-room dealings, but you’ll rarely catch a blip of anything so immediate and close to home. There’s too much filler vying for attention. When you’re campaigning for your Facebook-trending cause celebre, try to think of all the other issues not given the same publicity.

People have a pretty shoddy attention span. Remember when Russia annexed Crimea months ago? Maybe—it dominated the news and everyone had something to say about it. You probably don’t remember many local news stories happening from that time though. We’re constantly being bombarded by the issues that happen elsewhere in the world, so much that we lose sight of problems closer to home.

The last DSU election had a 10% turnout rate. I’d like to lay a portion of the blame for that on the fact that people stop caring about local issues when international news is covered so much more intensely by our media. It’s easy to form passionate opinions about events in the Ukraine and Hong Kong when nobody will talk about anything else. We lose sight of the trees for the forest, which isn’t good considering some of those trees are right next to us.

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