Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why George Will thinks you should care - ignorance isn't bliss

Over the last few weeks I've started to wonder...do people really care what is going on with our country?  Or should they care?  Do they pay attention to political trends? Should they?  It seems like the whether you pay attention or not the ball of change is going to keep rolling down that steep hill.  I have always liked Washington Post columnist George F. Will.  I think I liked him because he was a baseball fan and I have never really focused on his politics. I thought it was cool that here was this guy who appears on all the Sunday morning political round table shows, writes a syndicated column, but is a baseball fan.  He can talk as deeply about baseball as he does about ethanol subsidies or Medicare.  Recently he touched on the issue of why we should care when it comes to politics. In his January column he reminded me that we do need to pay attention and yes we should all care about what is going on in our country.  He also reminds us that for the most part Americans can have their head buried deep in the sand.  Will argues that by being more aware we aren't as susceptible to propaganda, deceptions, and misinformation. 
"Voters cannot hold officials responsible if they do not know what government is doing, or which parts of government are doing what. Given that 20 percent thinks the sun revolves around the Earth, it is unsurprising that a majority is unable to locate major states such as New York on a map. Usually only 30 percent of Americans can name their two senators. The average American expends more time becoming informed about choosing a car than choosing a candidate. But, then, the consequences of the former choice are immediate and discernible."
It might be easy to ignore what is going on in the political world but something we can usually agree on is our assessments of our President's performance.  If you want to get a good argument started just get a couple people together to talk about how our chief executive is doing in office.  This argument can spread like wildfire during the dry months.  Everyone has an opinion even though they are likely very poorly informed or possibly didn't even vote.
 
"Political ignorance helps explain Americans’ perpetual disappointment with politicians generally, and presidents especially, to whom voters unrealistically attribute abilities to control events. The elections of 1932 and 1980 dramatically illustrated how voters primarily control politicians — by “retrospective voting,” refusing to reelect them."
 
It might not be a bad idea to actually pay attention to what is happening on the political landscape.  Now more than ever the information is out there but weeding through that information can almost be overwhelming.  Maybe that is why people choose to just bury their head in the sand.  You don't have to be glued to Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN to learn more but it wouldn't hurt to pay a little bit better attention.  Here is a good start http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-the-price-of-political-ignorance/2014/01/01/7dbe2936-7311-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html
 

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