Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Importance of Being Informed

Tonight President Obama made an address to Congress, for all who are unaware. Now I have lived long enough to learn first hand that the big three (politics, religion, and sex) should never be talked about in polite company. Fortunately for most I still value being polite. So that being said I would never give my personal assessment of the address. However, I do think it is more than important that people watched it, regardless of what your political affiliation may be. Why? Well, I could probably ramble off quite just a few dozen, but they could all be summarized by just one broad reason: to be informed. Just as this 14-year old girl pictured to the right, Ty'Sheoma Bethea, is. She was President Obama and the First Lady's guest at tonight's Congressional Speech. At 14 she is probably more informed about the world than most anyone my age I know, and probably most adults.

While it has only been 35 days, now is as good of a time as any to start realizing that this man is our President. He is now in charge of creating laws that will affect each and every one of us. Yes, I am serious. With that in mind, we should probably tune in every now and then to what he has to say. You know just to see if a $727 billion stimulus bill passed or if we are going to start sending more troops to Afghanistan. [By the way, both of these things did happen.]

It's not just the President though that we have to listen to. Like I said, it's never polite to indulge in political conversation, and that is not my intent by any means. It's everyone around us. From the girl at the sales counter, to ESPN's Peter Gammons when interviewing Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, to the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. No, the girl who you were in a group project with who is best friends with the girl who is dating the guy you stare at while at the gym, does not count as a valid informer. Not usually at least. These other people though all have something to say that can teach us a thing or two. Possibly even three or four things if you listen long and intently enough. Things that could possibly inform us. And most importantly, things that could inspire us.

That is what our country and the rest of the world needs most from us right now anyway. To be inspired. In almost every facet of life most of us need to be inspired. We need to spend a little more than we've recently been spending (or at least more so in the right places), we need to service more than we've been servicing, and we need to learn more than we've been learning. I can assure you it feels a lot better than buying in too much to the talks of dire situations.

It is truly alarming to me sometimes how little people know about what's going on in the world around them. This isn't to say we should know about every little thing. That would be called information overload, whose consequences cut into valuable "Project Runway" marathons. Once in awhile though it would be nice to talk about something other than if I think Nick Lachey's career will ever have a legitimate comeback (by the way, no not in this lifetime, we won't see that).
One of my favorite ad campaigns out right now is Pepsi's whose slogan is "Every generation has a chance to refresh itself." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCDNaP11hwM It's true, this generation has a lot of refreshing to do. Not just with some of the clothing trends we've introduced either, though many of those do have to be booted to the curb fast, starting with the metallic tights.

Now refreshing might be a strange concept to some of us, especially those who try to get by with Febreezing four day straight worn clothes, and have been wearing hats on their heads for reasons other than blocking the sun. I assure you though it's not a hard concept to learn. It's just as easy as clicking that little "refresh" button on the top of your web browser. In fact it's basically just like that. Information is all around us, and it's constantly updating. Therefore it's quite easy just to look at the bottom line on CNN for 30 seconds while your channel surfing, or actually open that e-mail and scan it before you delete it. Some of these things we filter out might just pertain to us. Like Ty'Sheoma, some of these things might just spark enough interest to refresh.

Truth: It is easy to to become disheartened by the "bad" news that is seemingly piling up at a constant speed, thus causing us to think there is nothing good out there for us right now.
Dare: Find something out there that sparks just even a little excitement in you and use and abuse it (not Chris Brown style, just be proactive with it).

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