The encroaching descent of darkness

Vanessa Pralle

Brrr! The darkness and cold are rapidly closing in on us as we head into the Christmas season. I’m not just referring to the dwindling daylight hours or how any remnant of your mocha summer skin has been replaced by ashen white and oxygen-deprived blue skin. No, the kind of cold and darkness plaguing us right now manifests itself in ignorance, arrogance and indifference.

While we can cloak ourselves in an assortment of mittens, long underwear, thick, wooly socks that itch hairy legs, jackets, scarves and, for those of us who are truly image-unconscious, ear muffs to keep out the cold, we cannot escape the blackened drape of anti-intellectualism rapidly descending upon us. It is inescapable, much like how the change of seasons inevitably numbs fingers, toes and noses, not to mention making the notion of skipping class all the more inviting next semester.

This darkness blinds us to the ignorance of the Vatican who, in response to the recently surfaced sexual abuse scandals, is issuing a screening process to weed out “intrinsically disordered” homosexual priests. Instead of recognizing and addressing the heart of the problem pertaining to the vows of celibacy and how it deters straight men from entering the seminary (believed to be approximately 25 percent gay priests in America), the wealthiest land-owner in the world scapegoats the “perverted” priests who plague the Church’s reputation.

An interesting fact is that celibacy was not an original vow taken by priests, instead it evolved as a remedy to ensure Church property would stay Church property. Prior to 1139 when the Second Lateran Council mandated the vow of chastity, priests and popes were getting hitched for 1,100 years.

Likewise, when President Bush turns a cold shoulder on his fellow Americans by refusing to admit the ludicrous reasons for war in Iraq, thousands of our lost peers and their grief-stricken families are left in the dark. Even as fellow Republicans start to question the $224 billion already spent to force democracy upon people who are increasingly disgusted with us (in one poll, 80 percent of Iraqi people want us out), Bush allows his over-inflated ego to continue feeding Americans lies saturated with “getting those terrorist killers” propaganda as though a video game where the enemy is bound to pop out for us to shoot any minute.

The last and perhaps most damaging kind of darkness is our apathy and indifference to the affairs around us. I don’t mean Hollywood love affairs, because we do stay abreast of those, but those issues that will influence our lives and those of our children. How we plead ignorance on issues like who will be nominated for the Supreme Court or something as basic as what’s going on in Iraq, is indication that we are completely cold and numbed to life outside of ourselves.

Until one of the soldiers becomes a cousin, an uncle or even a brother, we choose to stay disinterested, which is astounding considering we’re in a media-inundated society with televisions sprouting up in public bathrooms and news access on cell phones. Or how a top student government official doesn’t even know what affirmative action is, or what his stance is on its use. The more disassociated we become, the worst the frostbite will be later on.

As a member of a predominantly conservative, Catholic and increasingly apathetic institution, I hope we all bundle up this winter.