Common Ground: Apologies and admonishments

Nick Bratcher

Three and a half years of college have flown past me.

And now I find myself sitting in front of a computer screen with one last shot at saying something meaningful to a body of students I’ve likely upset, angered, pleased, excited or — what I fear is most likely — just plain bored with my irrelevance to your life.

Well, if I had to sum up all my messages into one, I’d spend these inches of precious newspaper space apologizing to and admonishing you guys, my readers.

I apologize for feigning like I’ve ever been an expert at anything.

The truth is, I am probably unqualified to have been writing this column all semester.

There are certainly more moral figures around campus — smarter, wittier and better suited to be telling you what to do with your lives.

Until I looked it up before I wrote my first column, I couldn’t even have pointed to Syria on a map.

I still don’t know the first thing about the Affordable Care Act or why we can’t just pay for Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security with the money that grows on trees. You’re telling me that we’ve got watch-phones but no money trees? I ain’t buying it.

I still hope my fraternity gets a “good” pairing for Homecoming next year, I still laugh at Tweets that are surely racist when my friends retweet them and I am the epitome of a burnout who cares entirely too much about what others think of him.

I could stand to take some of my own advice, and for that, I humbly admit that all my words are quite worthless if their weight relies on my perfection.

But I hope this broken vessel has delivered something very important to you.

I hope you’ve seen the world as slightly more complex — one in which the biggest problem may just be staring us in the mirror.

Syria was just declared one of two major hotbeds of ongoing human rights violations by Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her annual report.

Sexual orientation is still being used as an excuse to persecute people, here in the U.S. and abroad, in all lines of religious faiths or lack thereof.

The U.S. still possesses a crazy amount of debt, but I guess that’s nothing new.

College kids still can’t get a job, unless you’re an engineer or have a crazy ridiculous resume. So I don’t see that vulnerability being a real possibility outside of an act of God.

And I watched millions of Americans not just mentally skip Thanksgiving but physically skip the holiday in favor of Christmas bargains, going out on Thanksgiving Day to shop instead of spending the day being truly thankful.

We’re living in a world that isn’t quite right.

Injustice is a ground that’s more common than most of us would prefer. I never needed to be an expert to point that out.

But the clock is ticking for all of us, both for our time on the Hill and beyond.