Am I a complete moron? Let’s look at the facts: Almost every day the death toll rises in the Holy Land — nothing new in the seemingly unending war. Foster care in America is so dreadful that NBC recently reported that 740 kids in Los Angeles County are simply missing. Our prison system is a disaster that disproportionately punishes blacks and does little or nothing to curb recidivism. There’s Saddam Hussein, health care, constant strife in Africa, education, the conflict in Chechnya, and homelessness. And these catastrophes are merely the beginning.
Yet I continue to be an optimist, I continue to hope. I continue to believe that things will get better. Why shouldn’t our generation be the one that ends poverty and ethnic strife? Pretty naive of me, huh?
So am I a complete moron?
I sure hope not. But the important question, then, is this: what can we do? Of course I can’t solve all the problems, but who can? I’ve thought big and I’ve thought small, and I’ve come to a rather simple conclusion. You (yes, you) are our best hope. And that’s why this column is — or ought to be — a call to action. Both at Yale and elsewhere, I have met scores of very intelligent people who really care about the world. You care about local, national and international issues. You are a hard worker and you have good problem-solving skills. So join me. Please. I’d like to announce the creation of a new organization, a simple group with no leadership structure, meetings or membership dues (or, for that matter, even membership lists). But this organization, I hope, can change the world.
Members of the group promise one simple thing: They will care.
Always. Pretty easy, huh? But maybe not. Caring means you have to read the newspaper. Caring means you have to vote. Caring means you have to think about how to fix problems both in your community and in the wider world. Caring means you have to move beyond just thinking and actually come up with a plan of action that you execute. I have to work on all this stuff, too — it’s hard.
You’re smart, though. You can do it. I’m going to start with education, but some of you, go be good and responsible doctors. Or go bring ethics and compassion to business. Or go be a dedicated politician and really care about your constituents and every single person on this earth. Or whatever.
This new group is nonpartisan and, in a way, noncontroversial. Yet in your attempt to live up to its mission, you likely will find tons of controversy. But you just have to educate yourself on issues, listen to debate and choose what you think is the most effective way to make the world a happier, more livable, less violent place.
Oh, one other thing: The group is called Informed People Against Not Caring.
I know that everyone can be a valuable member of this group — people care on Wall Street, in the Peace Corps and within the walls of Yale. So while not everyone can get a job on Wall Street this year, I-bankers and everyone else can all be IPANCers.
Join IPANC. Care. Make a real difference not just by talking about how screwed up the world is but by getting your hands dirty and working tirelessly to fix things. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll make me feel like I’m not such a moron.
Matthew Matera is a senior in Trumbull College. He is a former news editor of the Yale Daily News.