Recently, one of my politics professors surprised me by playing a song I hadn’t heard since high school, “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer.
I wondered where this was headed as he played the song and passed out the lyrics.
In the song John Mayer seems to be asking our generation why we are still simply “waiting on the world to change.” At the end of the song, our professor asked us what we thought about Mayer commenting on the common perception of our generation as apathetic.
This discussion presented itself at a very interesting time. It came on the heels of the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. It also came after the conclusion of two of the hugest political forums in American politics, the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
“And when you trust your television / what you get is what you got / cause when they own the information / oh they can bend it all they want,” Mayer’s voice echoed in my head.
I reflected on the two national conventions, remembering the highlights of Paul Ryan’s mendacious yet hypnotizing speech, and of Mitt Romney’s convincing me that, hey, he’s a human being after all (though I still like to think of him as a corporate robo-cop).
I can’t forget Obama’s reminder that “hope” is all we need…again. And I remember Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton’s dynamic speeches, where the first lady actually connected with viewers, and where Clinton delivered numbers and captured the philosophical differences between the Obama and Romney camps brilliantly.
I also thought of the anniversary of Occupy, recalling the excitement I felt when the movement hit the nation. The idea that the little guy was fighting back made me feel like our generation wasn’t apathetic after all. A year later the reaction I often see is, “‘Occupy’ what?” The movement seems to have been drowned out by the mainstream press and by a lack of centralized leadership.
In all my time on Twitter, Facebook, slacking in the gym, cafe conversations, and late night strolls down Geary Boulevard, I don’t ever recall a noticeable interest from “my generation” on either the political conventions or on the Occupy anniversary. Does anyone care? Are we apathetic? Are we “waiting on the world to change?”
I tend to think here at USF that is not the case. I believe we are in tune with how important this next election will be in our lives; we desire to have a voice, but I am not so sure that our generation as a whole is. So let’s try a little bit harder to spark the conversation and to truly “change the world from here.”