Informed citizenship begins with keeping up with the news

​​It often feels like so much is going on in the world that it is nearly impossible to keep up with all the “breaking news”. But is staying up to date really worth the trouble?

Opinion

​​It often feels like so much is going on in the world that it is nearly impossible to keep up with all the “breaking news”. But is staying up to date really worth the trouble? Some people say it causes stress, while others simply don’t have the time or the care to follow up on things that don’t affect them. However, such an attitude can prevent accountability and allow history to repeat itself. This is why it is imperative that people continue to keep up with the news.

As the next generation, this responsibility falls to us. We have to be vigilant for everyone and every issue.

Clearly, this responsibility can be an incredibly stressful one. Nobody likes to know that their personal future, as well as the future of their country, is being compromised. And once someone’s in a doomsday mindset, it’s difficult to get out of a loop of constant negativity, which can impact mental health and a person’s overall life. However, while this is a valid argument, it doesn’t account for the fact that if people are not aware of what is going on, they cannot fix the very problems that are making them stressed.  

Even in a city like Berkeley, where political conflicts and misinformation scandals seem unlikely, it is still imperative to follow the news. Well-educated citizens are simply more capable of voicing their thoughts about key issues and pioneering meaningful change. Such is seen with regard to issues like that of People’s Park, where remaining an informed citizen is critical to staying involved.

Another example is the matter of Donald Trump, who had no regard for the people. He tried to push countless racist and homophobic policies while making a laughingstock out of the entire nation. However, while he was doing all of this, the American people watched, and when they didn’t like what they saw, they spoke up. All across the country, people took to the streets in the thousands to protest bills and executive orders like the Muslim Travel Ban. 

When the time came in 2020, people united in droves to vote him out of office. This was only possible because people knew what was happening. 

Only because people saw and understood what Trump was doing were they able to decide that he went against their values, and it was time to vote him out. As the next generation of voters begin to decide the direction in which this country will go, keeping up with the news is important as a way to elect individuals who will act in our best interest regarding current issues. 

However, Trump didn’t stop there. When the election results were being certified, Trump incited a coup, claiming that the election was “fraudulent”, simply because he lost.

His followers came out in full support of him, invading Capitol Hill. Yet after the event, Republicans tried to play it down. The reason people were able to speak out against their lies was because they saw the news and were able to decide for themselves what the facts were. Calling Trump out was the public’s way of holding him accountable and letting him know where they drew the line. 

There is no denying that mental health is important, but people shouldn’t be complicit in injustice due to ignorance. Take breaks and know your limits, but make use of other healthy ways to relieve stress, such as talking to peers or family. In this ever evolving and stressful world, knowledge and peace come hand in hand.