So far in 2005, MSU students have already seen unspectacular inaugurations of two presidents, although Lou Anna K. Simon’s installment arguably means more than George W. Bush’s in terms of changes. Looking ahead, we already know some things that will happen in the world. Every year brings some surprises, but certainties always remain.
For example, it seems fairly safe to assume that May’s premiere of the final “Star Wars” movie, and its anticipated mutilation of Hayden Christensen’s body, will be one of the year’s most anticipated events. The American soccer team’s qualification for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the cancellation of another NHL season are equally probable, but few will take notice. Similarly, certain international political events are already set in stone, spawning some of the most important news we will ignore in 2005:
Aside from further car bombings and struggles against insurgents, Iraq will have its promised democratic election. Such an event, of course, is nothing new to the Iraqis, but this time Saddam Hussein will not receive more than 99 percent of the vote. The election is supposed to take place in a couple of days, but logistical problems threaten to postpone it. An important factor in legitimizing America’s presence in the country, it could be a considerable embarrassment if things go wrong. Regardless of the outcome, quibbles on the subject between conservatives and critics at home and abroad are certain to bore us to tears before long.
[american] However, a lot of students will not have the chance to get bored, as they won’t be paying attention. Some don’t even know there’s an election coming up.
“I get sick of hearing the same thing over and over; it’s pretty depressing,” telecommunications senior Nicholas Kowalski said. “I know I should [follow the election], but I almost make a point to try and not follow it because I’ll get frustrated and mad.”
In February, Bush will cross the Atlantic to Brussels, Belgium, for a meeting with the leaders of the European Union. Expected discussion topics include America’s plans for post-war Iraq and a still functioning part of Bush’s Axis of Evil: Iran.
“I have heard they are the next target after Iraq,” Kowalski said.
Iran has been hostile toward the U.S. – which it labeled “The Great Satan” – since its 1979 revolution, but some students are still unclear about the basis for the animosity.
“Perhaps something about nuclear weapons or the threat that they have them,” accounting senior Jeffrey Drew said.
The United Kingdom will host the G8 summit in Scotland this summer. Ronald Reagan’s death overshadowed 2004’s meeting in domestic news coverage, prompting Europeans to question American priorities. Hopefully, no ex-presidents will die in July, when the environment and climate changes will be on the agenda for the world’s most powerful leaders. Look forward to seeing Bush balk as the Kyoto protocol is shoved in front of him once again. Also, enjoy the violent protests and arrests the G8 entails, as demonstrators travel long distances and across borders to show their displeasure with international politics. Web sites are already dedicated to organizing the dissenters.
Drew, however, will not be following the summit. Why?
“Because I’ve never heard of it,” he laughs, “and I don’t really care… I’m a terrible American.”
Drew and Kowalski assert their busy schedules keep them from reading newspapers or watching newscasts.
“If I get busy working 20 to 40 hours a week and doing school work, I don’t have a lot of time to watch the news,” Kowalski said.
“Being a business student,” Drew said, “I find it hard to keep up with a lot of politics. I’m more concerned about keeping up with financial issues. If I were to keep up with current events, I think I’d be overwhelmed.”
The importance of these events is arguable. They will not stop East Asian tsunamis or Michigan snowstorms. They will not affect campus rapes or tuition rates. When it comes down to it, Iraqi elections and political meetings have hardly any bearing on MSU life, as zoology junior Cristen Mushong expresses in her reasoning behind ignoring international affairs.
“They have no impact on me,” she said. “Whatever happens is not going to have a direct effect on my life. Plus, let’s face it: I’m American. I don’t have to know anything.”

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