Jason Crews Essay #2

If we pay attention to what is going on around us you notice that social and political incidents affect us on a day to day basis, but some of those incidents more crucial than others. I can remember being impacted by the Oklahoma City bombings when I was in seventh grade, impacted by the shootings in Columbine when I was in eleventh grade, and affected by the tragedies on September 11, 2001. Although none of those events directly touched me or anyone I knew, the social and political ramifications resonated throughout the country. I don’t think anyone could say they weren’t touched is some way. The bombing in Oklahoma City helped open my eyes to the significance of current events in the world. Suddenly I was interested in learning the why of the event, and not just the what. Once I learned the why I became interested in learning how the event effected society as a whole and how people responded. As the case developed and suspects were arrested I found it interesting the polarizing affect the mention of the death penalty had on society. I was emotionally detached about the shootings in Columbine as a Jr. in high school, but more than another political event it did indirectly effect me. The next day after the shootings I was entering my high school, and a security guard approached me and asked me what I was carrying. At the time I was bringing my trumpet to school for band, and told him so, and he asked if he could look inside the case. I allowed him, because I had nothing to hide, but I immediately noticed how easily the powers that be eliminated the trust they held for the students and replaced it with suspension. I had never been in trouble before, but that didn’t seem to matter. Politically, society was looking for someone to blame. Since the perpetrators

1

Jason Crews Essay #2

had killed themselves the finger couldn’t be pointed at them. It was interesting to see where those fingers pointed. First they pointed at the gun makers, and then they pointed at the ammunition manufactures, and finally the parents. This is what first made me realize that society wants to blame everything and everyone but themselves. It was far too difficult to look at society and identify their contributions to the tragic event. The tragedies of September 11, 2001 are fresh enough for us to remember. Like the other two events I wasn’t directly affected by the attacks, but like the rest of America I was effected by the political fallout. Politicians raced to “protect us” by extending the powers of the president. Then they began take away our civil liberties. It has been interesting to observe society’s reaction to those changes since the attack. A vast majority of people in this country were staunch supporters of those efforts, but as time as gone on public opinion has change rather dramatically. We, as individuals, are in little position to affect change in society. I believe it takes the joint effort and actions of many individual over a long time to really change anything. Take slavery for an example. While slavery has been illegal for over 100 years we still battle racism in our country. Those changes didn’t happen overnight, and one person wasn’t responsible for the changes. Over time many people worked together to change the pervasive idea that one group of people could be, and was, inferior to any other group of people. I believe that society should be as free as our founding forefathers had envisioned it, and rather than restricting that freedom, society should look inward for solutions to the problems that ail it. We should try to determine why people are using drugs, not putting them
2

Jason Crews Essay #2

in jail for life. We should try to determine what makes people chose to kill, not take away their right to play violent games. The extent of my participation in local government is limited to voting in local elections. I find most local issues to be tedious and trite. The local news coverage of those issues is a great reflection of the triteness. I find some of the state issues to be more pressing however. Issues like illegal emigration and taxes. The national level is where I project most of my focus. I believe the power the government possesses and how it chooses to project that power both locally and abroad is a very important issue. I am interested in the lengths that the federal government will go to in order to regulate local issues like education and food services. I am interested in the federal regulation of business and the economy, and, finally, interested in how the government treats the arts in relation to science. I try to influence theses issues in what ways I can by voting and the occasional letter written to the appropriate representative. Although the thought has crossed my mind, I have never participated in the election campaign of any of those representatives. I haven’t visited a museum or library in quite some time. However I do enjoy some of the other services the government provides. Such as, the numerous festivals the cities sponsor. I also enjoy hiking and visiting the national forests and parks. Due to personal financial situation I don’t donate a lot of money to charity. Once I get back on financially stable grounds I fully intend to begin donating to charity. I am somewhat disconcerted by the overhead cost associated with many of the popular charities today. United Way, for example, only spends about twenty cents on the dollar on actually charity. The
3

Jason Crews Essay #2

remaining amount is spent on overhead. If I donate a dollar I want the vast majority of that dollar to go to the cause, not the administration. This is the first summer that I haven’t spent a significant amount of time volunteering teaching at a local drum corps. My school schedule doesn’t allow me as much time as I need to volunteer as much as I would like. I enjoy traveling, but I haven’t had the opportunity to do so in quite some time. During my travels I normally spend the time being a tourist and doing touristy things. I don’t spend much time thinking about politics and social attitudes while acting in that capacity.

4