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Wake up, America: Thoughts on the country's priorities

SPRINGVILLE — This week, the United States and NATO are looking at the possibility of taking action against Syria, after last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack ordered by Syria government leader Bashar al-Assad. According to U.S. officials, this was the worst chemical weapons attack since former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein launched poison gas that killed thousands of Kurds in 1988.

The U.S. has moved warships armed with missiles into the area, after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry consulted allies about a potential imminent response by the U.S., NATO and local leaders. By the time this edition goes to print, those forces may have struck.

Egypt continues to be in a state of unrest so severe, the word seems insufficient. The Rim Fire is ravaging California, a fire so savage that it may even threaten sequoia trees, a species that depends on fire to spread its seeds. Maj. Nidal Hassan has been sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shootings.

And what’s everyone talking about on social media, this week? Miley Cyrus’ controversial “twerking” at the Video Music Awards on MTV, last Sunday.

Wake up, America.

Now, I was as excited about the sort-of surprise NSYNC VMA appearance as anyone, and I spend plenty of time looking at pictures of kittens online, too. But as a country, we need to get our priorities straight. It’s safe to get outraged about a half-naked girl

“dancing,” in what might have been an act of cultural appropriation and might have been just plain bad dancing, but not at the risk of ignoring legitimate, important events. Where’s the outrage about Syria? About Egypt? I’m disappointed in how we’re directing our anger. We can do better.

The Internet allows us to educate ourselves and others, as much as it allows us to find ways to remain collectively or individually ignorant. We owe it to each other, as a society, to use the resources available to us to read, to react, to care. We owe it to each other to take a second out of our “25 Cutest Photos of Sloths” to learn and talk about what’s going on in our world, even our little corner of it, not just what Miley Cyrus’ backside is doing.


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