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Apathetic Apple: Students focus more on iPods than politics

January 24, 2012

After opening its first store only 11 years ago, Apple might soon hold the same value as the more than 200-year-old White House.

Although the White House is estimated to be worth $4,752 per square foot, Apple is catching up with an average value of $4,709 worth of merchandise per square foot in its stores, according to real estate website Zillow.

Despite the grand line of history carried in the residence of our nation’s most influential men, a store full of manufactured metal has nearly the same worth as the halls walked by centuries of revolutionaries.

The fact that Apple soon might trump this value after spending little more than a decade making its own history further illustrates society’s growing obsession with technology and shrinking interest in politics.

It seems as though our generation doesn’t have much to say about politics — a change that has been expedited within our lifetime.

When I look at my generation, I don’t see kids inciting riots or holding peace marches very often. I don’t see the same level of tenacity and drive when it comes to bringing about change that my parents often have described to me of their generation. I simply see students like me on the bus, getting lost in the music of their iPods or texting away on their iPhones.

I admit it can be hard to follow happenings in politics that do not seem to apply directly to me and my future. My parents cannot say the same.

As a child, my mother’s life and the lives of many kids her age revolved around politics. My grandfather was in the U.S. Air Force for the duration of the Vietnam War — every time he moved stations, the family followed. Her life essentially was controlled by the politics of the draft, and my grandfather’s life was put at risk as well.

Both of my parents also lived in Detroit during the race riots of 1967, and my father had to leave his childhood home in Corktown because of it.

Although the U.S. has its share of issues today, it’s not common to see people’s lives driven by politics. Young people find little reason to relate to such issues. But what many of them can relate to is the desire to have the latest technology.

Speaking as a college student, I’ve found myself and my peers constantly looking for more ways to indulge our own laziness — something which companies such as Apple are more than happy to facilitate. Despite the informational benefits such technological advantages have brought, they also have brought about plenty of vices, making users increasingly obsessed with the portrayal of their lives and the lives of others via social media. And although some young people do fight for change, such as those involved in the Occupy movement, it still seems as though most people my age would rather entertain themselves posting pictures on Facebook than going out and prompting action on societal issues.

Compared to past generations who aimed to make life better, it seems this generation only aims to make it easier.

But easier does not always mean better. If we constantly look for the easy way out, we are not growing or progressing. Instead of benefitting from short-term entertainment by investing our life savings in Apple’s products, perhaps we should invest our time and energy in causes on Capitol Hill. And instead of making our cell phones our personal slaves, perhaps we should slave away at making some change for ourselves.

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