This I Believe

Sarah - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Entered on March 27, 2007

Yesterday a fellow teenager and friend offered her choice for President. I quickly asked “why?” Shocked, she stated a marginalized and generic answer and when I pushed her to explain, she admitted she had heard her parents talking.

Today we live in a fast-paced world with technology at our fingertips and where we are bombarded with over 3000 adds a day. We are more connected than we ever have been, and yet we find ourselves in a bit of a quandary- we seem to know less about the world around us. If you ask someone my age to point out Iraq on a map, there is about a 67% chance they’ll get it wrong. And if you think that’s just too far away- ask them to identify New York, only half can. And if you ask another who Newt Gingrich or Chuck Hagel or Joe Biden is, the response will probably be “WHO???”

For this I believe: I believe in the power of knowledge and the necessity of forming a unique opinion. The perhaps cliché saying that we, the children, are the future is quite simply true: we hold the power to change the world. But how can anyone run a nation and have a share in this democratic government if he does not take the time to rest, learn, and form our own opinions? How can anyone vote if he does not know what we stand for and who the candidates are? I can’t. We shouldn’t.

I believe it is our responsibility as a human and as a citizen to continue to grow and learn. We wouldn’t go to a football game without knowing who we’re rooting for, just as we shouldn’t vote or state an opinion without knowing the facts. I can say I’m against the death penalty, but what merit does it hold other than a series of words, sound waves and particles, if I do not know why? I turn to such authors as Fitzgerald who brings to light the value of an object: for an object is merely an object; we make it have meaning. I attach this same ideology to words. Words are merely sounds; we make them hold meaning and value. Being a tape player is simply producing sounds and nothing more.

I believe we should all search for our own opinions and beliefs. They can be found in the oddest places, experiences, and words. Our parents are wonderful guides, but should not be the only tool.

I believe we should take advantage of our global society and tune in. We have a choice, not just the standard newspaper or even the radio. There are now 24-hour news stations and constantly updated websites. I challenge myself, family and friends, young and old, to search, see what they can find. And I ask them to only then, form their opinions. We have the ability to make words have significance and change the world with our rhetoric. For this, I believe.