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Big Aspirations Shot Down by Small Thinking

This story is about some students from a high school in Pomona, California who--taking several cues from their President and mentors--produced, directed and were featured in a movie about what life is like for the "economically disadvantaged" during a bad economy.  It may demonstrate what happens to us when we find ourselves beyond any ability to grasp irony.  Note this part of the story:

Before being involved with the video Jennifer Gil's only goal was to get through high school, get a job and make money.

"I had no big plans, no big aspirations," Jennifer said. "Making the video, and seeing everything that's happened since then because of it, has changed me. Now more things matter to me."

Jennifer has a simple message for the symposium.

"If people want to make change they have to act," said Jennifer, who hopes to be the first Latin American president. "Gandhi said, `Be the change you want to see in the world.' That's how I want to live."

She also wants to address education.

"Everybody wants us to go to college, but with all the cuts, how are we supposed to do that?" Jennifer asked.  [Emphasis mine]

Who can refrain from applauding the self-starting sentiment Ms. Gil seems to advocate and the trajectory of her story seems to vindicate?  If you want big things in your life, make them.  Do them.  Find them.  Just so.  Bravo for her.   But doesn't the second part of her comments (i.e., the whiny part about budget cuts making college impossible) seem to undercut everything her experience and her noble philosophy ought to have taught her?

To be fair, Ms. Gil is a very young woman and this kind of intellectual inconsistency is not at all surprising in the young.  But it appears to be something that is encouraged by their mentors, those now offering them accolades (including the President) and by the very content of the film that they produced.  Another student involved in the production of the film told members of the California Assembly, "We are not the same. We want to do things that make a difference and we will not just sit by and watch while this whole economy thing gets worse."  No.  They won't sit by.  But why not, instead of agitating on behalf policies that will get other people to do something about the poverty they face, simply work and produce and strive (as, clearly they have demonstrated an amazing capacity to do).  Why not "be the change you want to see" in your own world?   I'm just sayin' . . .

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