A Cultural Shift

On Sunday, I watched the Super Bowl in my dorm’s common room with 30 of my dorm mates. When faced with this massive enthusiasm for the football game, I took issue with this scene in my dorm. Rewind to about two weeks before the Super Bowl, on a Tuesday night around nine o’clock: on that night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address. For the United States, it was quite possibly one of the most important speeches of the year. The State of the Union was not only a summary of the previous year and a plan for the year to come, but also an important campaigning device for the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Unfortunately, the audience turnouts for the two events weren’t even similar. About 30 people out of the 36 in the dorm gathered to watch the Super Bowl. A sparse seven of us bothered to watch the State of the Union. It seems inappropriate that American youths do not seem to take an interest in their country. During the Super Bowl, despite the frequent stops in play and the multiple commercials, all eyes were glued to the television screen; no one wanted to miss the next big play, crazy Doritos advertisement or lascivious commercial. The attendees of the State of the Union address wandered in, wandered out, stared at their nails, made some instant noodles and then daydreamed while Obama’s voice could be heard in the background. It was as if the outcome of the Super Bowl would have more of an affect on my dorm mates’ lives than the future actions and policies of the President of the United States. Is the State of the Union really so boring that people cannot possibly bear to watch it? Compared to the three-and-a-half-hour Super Bowl, the State of the Union was short–only about 45 minutes. I’m not suggesting that people should not watch the Super Bowl or other big sporting events. But considering that we attend a school that has produced so many politicians, including two who have delivered State of the Union Addresses themselves, it would be beneficial to see more students take a real interest in the state of their country. Devontae Freeland is a Junior from Metuchen, NJ.