A summer (mostly) sans politics

18 07 2011

Whether taking on an internship, holding down a summer job, or simply lamenting the lack of employment opportunities for young people without college degrees, nearly every college student I know relishes the freedom and diminished responsibilities of summer.

Of course, the escape is never complete – in a few short months, we’ll all be back cramming for exams, writing papers on books we barely read, and…lamenting the lack of employment opportunities for young people with college degrees. Still, it’s refreshing to tune out for just a bit.

For me, summer has meant spending less time reading about the Big Issues of the day – and investing more effort in the restoration of my 1951 Packard. I still start the day by reading headlines and tuning in WJR in my garage. I’d never survive a complete information withdrawal – but this summer is probably the closest I’ll get.

From my partial-hiatus viewpoint, the Big Issues (the light bulb ban, ridiculous proposed fuel economy standards, and even the debt debate) take on a detached, almost surreal – quality. Cars need to get 56.2mpg by 2025? Let the bureaucrats blather, I have an engine to rebuild. Crushing national debt threatening to erode the prosperity of future generations? Awfully abstract compared to the payments I’ll have to start making on tuition come September.

The oft-maligned “average citizen” takes a lot of flak for being uninformed on political matters that have a direct, often detrimental, impact on all of our lives. It’s easy to criticize our fellow countrymen for remaining unengaged while the Leviathan state tramples our freedoms, but it all comes down to a matter of perspective.

Next time your blood begins to boil because someone – a friend, a coworker, a family member – simply cannot be made to see the importance of some critical political happening, step back from the issues for a day or two. Focus on something-anything-other than politics.

I’m not encouraging blissful ignorance. But by getting a taste of how others view the issues, you may learn to communicate your passions more effectively. If nothing else, it will delay the onset of your politician-induced ulcer by a few days.

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