You are Kate, a junior at Stanford University, CA. You are passionate about political science, history, and government. You have always known you wanted to be a lawyer; you're from New York City and both your parents are Harvard-educated lawyers. So, you're pre-law and majoring in political science at Stanford. As a 6th-generation American, you feel very comfortable with American government and being politically involved. Since high school, you've been particularly passionate about women's rights and feminism. In college, you began getting actively involved in Planned Parenthood and regularly attend their advocacy meetings.
You wake up in the morning, bright and early, at 6 AM. You're headed to San Francisco for an extremely important advocacy meeting Planned Parenthood is holding. You remember that you invited your best friend from freshman/sophomore year, Karen, to come with you. Karen has been harder and harder to reach of late. But you hope she'll remember to make it out. You're supposed to meet her at 7 AM ... you stand outside her dorm, impatiently, at 7:10 AM, and still see no sign of Karen. You call her -- once, twice .... five times. No response. She must be asleep. You sigh in disappointment ... it's been so hard getting Karen to care about being politically involved or serving her country. Why don't American citizens appreciate how privileged they are and perform their civic duties?
You leave for SF to attend the [[meeting]], on your own. You walk out of the meeting with mixed emotions. On one hand, the meeting was great because the discussion covered everything from providing abortions to underresourced women to how we might promote healthy sexual behaviors among teenagers. You can't wait for law school!
On the other hand, the previous fundraising manager left weeks ago and no one else has the experience necessary to manage that. Other Planned Parenthood locations were relying on continued contributions from our branch, and that's exactly why we needed Karen there. She has so much experience fundraising that she was just the right person for the job. You are so disappointed in her and at the same time frustrated. You sometimes feel that she only cares about herself.
You begin to wonder to yourself "did she care about the fact that I told her that people's entire lives can be affected by the lack of Planned Parenthood?" Someone can die in an unsafe abortion or be forced to raise a child they did not intend to. That's two whole lives affected.
But, you have class at 11 AM and need to dash back to campus. You put on music to clear your head and you jump on a bullet Caltrain and stride in, punctually, at 11 AM.
[[Walk into class]].You attentively listen to Prof. Smith in your class, "Queer community and politics." This is one of your favorite topics and professors. You are excited when Prof. Smith groups the class into circles to discuss last night's reading. You'd told Karen about this class, and look around, seeing if maybe she woke up in time to make class. You don't see her.
You're actually glad that you don't see her. Angry thoughts come crashing into your head because she missed the meeting and other Planned Parenthood locations can close because she couldn't make it out today. But you're in class and can't let the thoughts distract you. You put those thoughts in a box and store them away.
You start discussing the reading with your group. You hear the door open and close, and look up: it's Karen! She's late. As usual. And looking so distracted ...
You think about waving, but Karen looks so unfocused that you feel a little irritated and remember that she's missed almost every Planned Parenthood meeting you invite her to. Not to mention that she's not even interested in being politically involved, for example, voting in the upcoming election, despite how easy you make it for her to know everything she needs to know. Again, "shut out those thoughts" you tell yourself. You continue to remain engaged in your [[discussion]]. Class ends, and you take a look at your calendar. You have coffee scheduled with Karen at 3:30PM.
You ask yourself, "Should I even go?" You begin wondering if you should stop being her friend. You're definitely getting tired of how apathetic she is. You're tired of how much she only cares about herself. And you're tired of her bailing on you.
You decide to go to the coffee and see what happens. You have other work to do so it's best to save those thoughts for later, if you even want to bring them back up again at all.
You pull out your textbook for another class on American government you're in and decide that it will be your [[afternoon reading]]. You're so absorbed in reading about how the Constitution was written and the complexities behind how this important document was crafted. You are always in awe of how much foresight the Founding Fathers had. You feel lucky to be an American citizen. You feel yourself getting a little sleepy ... it was an early morning. It's time for coffee. You remember you're supposed to be meeting Karen -- you check your watch and see the time is 3:30PM. Where is Karen? She was supposed to be here by now. You begin feeling increasingly upset ... Karen has ditched you too many times...
[[next]]After 15 minutes of waiting, you decide you'll carry on without Karen. You get up to go stand in line and hear a heavy panting behind you ...
You turn around and see Karen. Something snaps within you. How can someone be so unreliable? And so politically disinterested? Instead of holding your words back, this time, you tell Karen what you think. You tell her the facts: she never holds up her end of the stick; you support her at all of her events; she never comes to even one of yours; she claims she needed help knowing how to vote, and you spent several hours of your time teaching her the ropes. Yet, despite everything, here she stands -- late, uninformed, and now, telling you that she missed the voting registration deadline again. You try listening to her. Karen tells you how overwhelmed she is; how much homework she has; how scrambled her days are; how being pre-med is so difficult; how being a first-generation American is hard. You tell her that being pre-law, you have a heavy load too. And, you're there to help her through being a first-generation American, unfamiliar with the political process!
"Karen -- " you tell her, "I'm sorry, but you are the definition of political apathy. I know you have a lot going on in your life, but this is too much." You proceed to end your friendship with her; your paths have diverged too much. You just don't understand why American voters, like Karen, are so thoroughly apathetic.