Opinion | Time to tune in to international news

It is important to keep up to date with news, but in the US international news is sometimes neglected

A historic French election occurred with razor thin margins between incumbent Emmanuel Macron and challenger Marine Le Pen on April 24.

These names might sound familiar — they were the same two candidates who ran in the 2017 French election. However, going against the traditional US view of the incumbent advantage, the margins of this election were much closer than those of the 2017 elections.

Thankfully, history repeated itself and pronounced Macron the victor, which was a great comfort to many French citizens due to the controversy surrounding Marine Le Pen.

During this tight race for the French election, the nation of more than 65 million individuals were on the edge of their seats. As is typical during significant national events, most countries of the world were spectating, but there was one notable country not quite paying attention.

That is, the US

Sure, many people who are very involved in politics, or people like me who are dual citizens and have a greater stake in this election, were tuning in. But the vast majority of the population was completely unaware of this event, and this is not unusual behavior in the US

In the US, many citizens only seem interested with what’s happening here, in this country. There is a strange feeling that what is happening in other places does not concern us, which could not be further from the truth. Actions taken in other countries have a ripple effect that can be felt back in the US, on the economy or to our foreign policy.

While this might feel like the norm for US citizens, it is not the norm internationally. In other countries, citizens have vested interest in foreign news and are much more aware of the goings-on around the world. Out of 37 countries surveyed, an estimated 48 percent of citizens were closely following politics in the US — much higher than US citizens following foreign news.

In the US, it is typical to show interest in central Europe and Latin America, but typically, that is as far as our interest spans.

As college students, we have heard again and again the saying, “Be the change you want to see in this world.” This is a time when we can put it into action.

Just taking a few minutes every day to keep up to date on international news would be a huge step in changing the way we view international events. Some easy ways to do this is listening to a podcast, such as Global News Podcast, or reading daily updates from Al Jazeera or the BBC.

On top of this, incorporating some of this news into your daily conversations to help inform your peers would also be another important milestone. The more people are involved and engaged with international news, the more the gap of lack of information is filled.

Overall, being an informed citizen is more than knowing about what’s happening in the US No one expects you to constantly be aware of everything happening in the world but knowing about major events is essential when it comes time to vote or form an opinion on other places in the world.

A few minutes a day can change your whole perspective of the world, and there’s no better time to start than now.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

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