We Are with Strong Minds and Fragile Hearts


Well, I’m doing it! Surviving Washington DC’s record-breaking summer heat one day at a time. I really should document my experiences here, but if I may, I’d like to digress for a while.

Prior to arriving, every single person I spoke with warned me of the extreme heat and humidity over on the East Coast. However, the weather is actually not as bad as people said it would be. I guess that was to be expected though since we all have a tendency to go to extremes when we’re trying to make a point.

But, it just got me thinking. Thinking about how this tendency to over exaggerate can become a problem, especially in light of the media’s tendency to blow things way out of proportion just to grab our attention.

I’ve heard the word “desensitization” thrown around a lot, and I suppose it’s applicable to my generation because of our high tolerance levels for violent and risqué material. This generalization usually leads others to assume that we are unaware of our surroundings and that we live in a “bubble”; in other words, many argue that my generation is overprotected because we have been overexposed (how ironic).

I have to wonder though, did if it ever occurred to anyone that our “desensitization” to the world around us is a defense mechanism? That maybe we don’t react as strongly to modern cinema and literature because it hits too close to home? That perhaps, we aren’t as easily moved by natural disasters and catastrophes not because we are heartless, but because we know that our hearts are in fact, fragile?

I certainly can’t speak for all of my peers, but in my opinion, it’s ridiculous to ask a bunch of teenagers and 20-year-olds to read diary entries from Holocaust survivors, listen to old radio broadcasts about the Cuban Missile Crisis, watch gory movies about Pearl Harbor, and still cry when someone gets shot on the news. Don’t get me wrong, my heart shatters when I hear of genuinely good people suffering through difficult times, but at some point, it becomes harder and harder to pick up the pieces.

Over the years, America has made an effort to build itself up as an untouchable nation, an idea which has been able to circulate across the country through the media, which has grown exponentially and provided us with many opportunities to stay in tune with the world around us. But with the advancement of technology and the alleged improvement of communication, we are instantly attacked by dozens of media sources from all directions when a virus breaks out, a murderer is discovered, or a national security threat is revealed. So, even though the 21st century may not be facing a significantly higher number of wars — locally and globally, emotionally and physically — it certainly seems as though we are living in one of the most dangerous times this world has ever known.

Take the Scott and Lacey Peterson case. I remember hearing about the murder of Lacey Peterson and her unborn child by her so-called husband 10 years ago. The case received 24/7 coverage until I actually got so sick of hearing about the details of the trial that I found myself flipping the channel the minute the name “Peterson” came up. And now, a decade later, it’s back on the news because Scott’s lawyer thinks the case against his client is weak and that the ruling should be overturned, according to the Los Angeles Times.

My point is that it’s getting to be too much — all of these dramatized updates, briefs, sound bites, front-page stories, breaking news pieces, and world events that pour into my news feed every second. I care very much for the welfare of the global community, but at times, when all my peers and I are exposed to is heartbreak, tragedy, and death, the future can look pretty bleak. Hearing one depressing story after the other instinctively makes students like me tune out because we can’t stand by helplessly and soak in the intensity of these atrocities without risking becoming emotional scarred for life.

They call us “tomorrow’s leaders” and they tell us that we are the future. So isn’t it about time for our predecessors to start passing the torch from their generation to ours before they fling it into the air out of exhaustion and leave us to clean up the mess?

I have so many thoughts on the subject that I could go on for days. But that’s all I feel comfortable saying right now given my limited experience with the matter.

For now, here’s a snapshot of the amazing time I’m having in our nation’s capital. For more detailed posts about my time in Washington DC, feel free to check out my other blog: Speak Up and Reach Out.