McDonald dismisses apathy

Professor delivers Constitution Day lecture, saying young people are fed up with system

Karl Densmore, Lamp staff

Professor Chris McDonald was eager to give his rebuttal to the stereotypes that are commonly held among the public that college-aged youth are politically ignorant and careless.

“I don’t think young people are disinterested in politics. The question is if they are ignorant and disinterested, or if they are feeling fed up with it,” McDonald said.

He elaborated further saying, “Modern-day democracy is procedural and political. The frustration people have with politics is can easily become frustration with democracy.”

McDonald delivered a two-hour long lecture in the Trutter Center on democracy in the current political climate as part of the Constitution Day activities. Held the day after Constitution Day, on Sept. 18, McDonald addressed a wide range of topics from the Founding Fathers’ views on democracy to the current effects of today’s news coverage of political happenings.

One of the topics covered in the lecture was the current attitude of youth towards politics. The audience consisted of 10 people, many of whom were professors. The lecture was promoted on both the school website and in the Lincoln Land Community College A.Lincoln Commons. The question of “What is the popular attitude held by youth on the topic of politics?” was explored throughout the discussion.

McDonald emphasized in his lecture that it is not that young people are necessarily disinterested in democracy, rather that they are frustrated in the procedural and political system. To investigate further, the Lamp interviewed multiple students on campus to find out various perspectives on the political system.

“I would say that I agree with the stereotype to a certain extent,” said Joseph Ratch. “I believe that there are some people of our generation who are very knowledgeable on politics. I also believe that there are many who will not do research on something political, and they will take whatever they see on Facebook or Buzzfeed and believe it without doing any research. I also believe that when someone sees something regarding politics that they should look at multiple sources so that they don’t get stuck with a strictly liberal or conservative bias.”

Another perspective on the question was presented by Hannah Frazier.

“I don’t think it’s true,” Frazier said. “Take gun violence, for example. Thousands of teens and young adults were protesting for that. Same thing with Trump, and all the allegations regarding him and other people in power. I’ve seen tons of people, especially online voicing their opinions. I think the media is allowing people of our age to get more information than ever before.”

A common theme between them was the idea that media is changing political discourse among young people, echoing McDonald’s statements during his discussion on Constitution Day.

Karl Densmore can be reached at [email protected]