Do We Know One Another?
by Jeremy Baillie
rom time to time, I'll meet someone that just looks so familiar that I have to ask, "Do we know one another?". Sometimes we do, sometimes we do not. It's ironic, the internet was supposed to bring us all together as one giant community, but it has not happened that way. I have met people from the Malaysia, the United States, and Australia yet beyond learning a few cultural facts that might be of use if I was ever to be on Jeopardy, I cannot really see I know Malaysians, Americans, or Australians any better than I did before I started using the internet.
We only need take a look at our neighbours to the south to know how neither geography or technology can bring about true knowledge about one another. The American Procterate, Puerto Rico recently has a referendum on statehood. The people of Puerto Rico voted down the proposal choosing to remain a procterate. Bob Livingston, the then House Speaker Elect, rose in Congress and to paraphrase stated that this was a good thing because the United States has always been a unilingual country. Livingston believes a bilingual state is dangerous and said that to learn this Americans need only look to their neighbour to the north, Canada, which is "tearing itself apart" [his words].
When I first heard this statement on the evening news, I thought, "hey Bob, ever been to Canada? Ever heard anything remotely about it? A few days later it occurred to me, he probably had not. With the geography we share and with all the technology (the internet) at his disposal, it occurred to me Bob Livingston probably knew very little, if anything, about Canada.
Most Canadians have seen or heard of the CBC show This Hour has 22 Minutes. What fan of the show does not take pleasure in watching Rick Mercer make Americans look foolish because of their lack of knowledge of their neighbour to the north. I know I laugh when I watch Mercer coax Americans into congratulating Canada on becoming a part of North America, or on construction of its Igloo Parliament, or on becoming a country.
The internet was supposed to be the tool that would bring us all together. It would allow us to come to understand one another. It was this knowledge that was to make misunderstandings that lead to conflict a thing of the past. It has not happened, however. We, meaning the people of the world, do not really know each other that much more than we did prior to the invention of the internet.
The question is though, "where is this global village?" we were all told we are heading towards?
Jeremy Baillie is a 1st Year Elementary Education major and an aspiring writer with the rejection slips to prove it.
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