The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Thought You Knew: Only Apathetic Lose Chance to be Heard

3 min read

I’m not entirely unconvinced that, shortly after graduation, I’ll meet a charming sociopath who will brainwash me into joining his cult. I only bring this up so someone can be aware of this potential issue and stop me before I buy the required matching Nikes.

It’s not that I’m any more gullible or prone to cult mentality than the next person, but I’ve found that it’s super easy to get sucked into a pattern of agreeing with whomever you’re around, instead of actively engaging and forcing yourself to develop your own opinions.

Basically, when given the option between apathy and anything else, I’ve spent the past four years choosing apathy.

Not caring about anything had so many benefits.

You can never lose an argument, for example, if nothing matters enough to fight about. Plus, you get the last laugh at how ridiculous people can be when they let themselves get too emotionally invested in a debate.

But, in the words of that old bro Alexander Hamilton, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”

Smart, right? That pretty much sums up my fear of joining a cult later in life.

Oddly enough, in high school I was way into politics, or as much as privileged, idealistic little monsters with no grasp on reality can be.
It was really fun to be on an extreme side of the party line—I never had to consider how I actually felt about things.

Because I associated so strongly with one group on a few key issues, I figured I agreed across the board. I was also granted instant access to a whole group of like-minded friends by getting involved in political clubs, which, I’m convinced is half the reason many people claim to have an interest in politics to begin with.

After a few months of college as a prospective Poli-Sci major, I realized that my interest in politics weakened each time I had to endure two equally uninformed extremists arguing for argument’s sake and promptly switched to an English degree.

At the same time, the classes I took forced me to actually learn about more than the few hot topics that always get brought up, and I realized that my beliefs didn’t really lie where I thought they did.

The social implications of a person’s politics were what lead to my ultimate disinterest in the subject. The assertion that political, religious and economic opinions are best kept to ourselves, especially around strangers or people whose beliefs you know differ from your own, is so on point.

It’s just tacky to debate foreign policy over brunch.

The easiest thing to do was to drop the whole politics thing and not worry about my real opinions.

I can’t really account for my renewed interest over the past few months. It probably has to do with the fact that I need to keep up with current events for many of my classes and—hold on, because this level of insight might actually blow your minds—when you read the newspaper daily, you start to develop feelings about things, whether you want to or not.

You remember feelings, right?

The only person negatively affected by my apathy was myself. Haters still hated, ballers still balled, hopers still hoped and tea partiers still tea partied. Or whatever.

What I mean is, no one else stopped caring, so, if anything, my lack of a voice only contributed to my oppositions’ voice getting louder.

I know I’ll never be the most informed or the most passionate about every issue (probably any issue), but asking myself to care about them isn’t asking too much.