Our nation’s campuses are on edge. In the past few days, hundreds of thousands of students across the nation have united, seeking to reverse an injustice. The unrest even made the front page of yesterday’s edition of The Washington Post.

Angela Cesere
Christopher Zbrozek

Except – what we’re up in arms about is the News Feed feature added to Facebook.com this week.

This is the best our generation can do for social protest? Sure, the growth of the protest Facebook group, Students against Facebook News Feed group, is impressive. As of press time, over 738,000 of us have joined the group. The administrators of The Largest Facebook Group Ever have announced that they’ll soon be the second-largest group on Facebook. We’ve even co-opted the language and tactics of more traditional protests – “The Facebookers united will never be divided!” wrote one user, proposing a boycott.

But still – Facebook? Our nation is trapped in a war we shouldn’t have started in a country we can’t pacify. Our president is so set on ignoring laws he doesn’t like and grabbing power for the executive branch that he makes Richard Nixon look like a staunch supporter of checks and balances. We continue on with our unsustainable addiction to oil as though burning through the world’s supply of fossil fuels is a mission from God.

And – our generation finally finds a cause, and it’s saving Facebook. Our parents, who called for slightly more important things like civil rights and ending a senseless war in Vietnam, would be ashamed of us – if they were only tech-savvy enough to know what Facebook is.

I’ve often wondered why our generation isn’t more vocal. Conditions certainly seem ripe for protest. Like in the ’60s, the country is evenly divided into bitterly partisan camps. Like in the ’60s, our nation is stuck in an unpopular war that we won’t abandon for fear of letting the bad guys win. Like in the ’60s, political opponents no longer see the point of dialogue with their ideological enemies.

And yet, even in the supposedly far-left enclave of Ann Arbor, there aren’t many hints of discontent beyond snarky bumper stickers and the occasional “Impeach Bush” yard sign. If there’s an anti-war movement at the University, it’s news to me. The group that sprouted on here campus to protest the Iraq War, Anti War Action!, withered almost as quickly as did hope for a functional, secular Iraqi democracy. Outside of a few SOLE kids and a handful of environmentalists, you might not even know that there are activists here.

Occasionally, someone old enough to remember what campuses were like in the ’60s asks me why my generation isn’t out in the streets trying to stop all this nonsense. I always struggle to give a satisfactory answer. Maybe Karl Rove is so good at spinning reality that he can make any protest look futile. Maybe today’s college students, preoccupied with building the perfect r

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