brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Thoughtless Voters

I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio where she was discussing the lack of awareness with respect to current events from the American public with a couple of guests. Even when given accurate information as to what has happened or what is happening, the American public clings to conjecture, superstition, and just plain wrong assumptions. Two examples given on the show were people’s insistence to this day that Saddam Hussein was instrumental in planning the attack on September 11, 2001 that brought down the World Trade Center and the insistence that Barack Obama is really a Muslim practitioner even though he attended Trinity United Christian Church for the past twenty years. To add insult to injury, not only is Mr. Obama a Muslim, he’s a Muslim with a Christian pastor who hates America.

American’s are more likely to pick a presidential candidate because of the political affiliation of their granddaddy than on any political, social, or economic issue facing America today. Once on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, a video clip was shown where Mr. Leno took to the streets and was asking people questions to gauge American’s ability to follow current events. Mr. Leno asked one woman who was the President of the United States. The ditsy brunette laughed, tossed her hair, raised her hands up as if to say whoa, and said that she doesn’t get into politics.

One of the guest suggested the public that voters should be tested to make sure that they understand the issues that the country is facing before being allowed to vote. Instinctively alarm bells started to go off in my head. A voting test? Who would develop, administer, and score the test? Who would decide who gets to vote and who doesn’t? Is there not even a greater danger in such a test being used to manipulate the political landscape against the public’s will?

Besides, like most issues that face the country, the education of the individual voter is made a matter of personal responsibility instead of a matter of social responsibility. Whether or not individual Americans are educated enough to vote is a problem that cannot be resolved by the development of some test. The real test will be the direction we choose as a collective to take our country. When our political candidates dumb down to the level of the lowest political denominator, when they appeal to our vanity and make every promise under the sun to appeal to our greed, it is no wonder that we find ourselves in the current mess we are in.

When we pick the politician that says he or she can balance the budget, give us all tax cuts, increase public services, and win all of our military conflicts, we the people should have the common sense to say that something is afoot and we are being sold a suspect bill of goods. When we allow ourselves to pick our political candidates based on the color of their skin, their gender, or whether or not they wear a lapel pin in the shape of the American flag, then we truly have failed to take note of the real issues that we face. When we the people make the choice to deny our selves access to social services simply because some of us are fortunate enough to have the resources to provide for own healthcare, have jobs where we don’t have to worry about earning a living wage, have resources to provide a quality education for our family, have the ability to save for retirement, or have been fortunate enough to avoid losing their house in the mortgage meltdown, we run the risk of denying ourselves when our fortunes take a turn for the worst and we find ourselves in need or one of our loved ones.

It would be wonderful if our community did enough to provide for everyone so that everyone could afford the things we need to assure a quality, healthy life. But we don’t. One of the main tenets of hyper capitalism is the idea that those who have are entitled to take advantage of those who have not. In America, it is more important that we have a society where it is more important to protect the multibillion dollar profits of the multinational than to protect the health of the individual. It is more important that we give the community tax breaks than provide adequate schooling for our children. It is more important that America has a military force that can destroy all life on the planet in a couple of hours rather than have an energy policy that recognizes global warming as one of the biggest dangers to the planet.

We allow our multinationals to come into our homes via the television, radio, cable, internet, newspaper, and whatever, with all the resources to influence our behavior however they see fit. Our courts now say that the multinational is an entity with the same rights as people. And the only conscience a multinational has is the one that is driven by profits first and social responsibility only when it is absolutely unavoidable. More people now know more about Ronald McDonald or Jack In The Box than they do about their congressional representatives.

With so many of our tax dollars being diverted away from doing anything socially responsible like educating our children it is no surprise that America will continue its gentle slide into intellectual obscurity. When our political leaders reinforce the notion that it isn’t about what we can do to help each as a collective but what we can do to maximize our individual materialism then we don’t deserve to look down our nose at our neighbor when we feel they don’t get it. As long as we don’t take an interest in our neighbor’s welfare we don’t have the right to hold them to some standards.

Friday, June 20, 2008 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Life, Republicans, Thoughts

4 Comments »

  1. BrotherP,

    It should have been obvious to people that the voters are a collective of idiots after they voted for a fellow idiot who had a “swagger” and to hell with his policies. Or how he ran his governor state into the ground. Not to mention they did it a second time even after the fool had started us on this downhill slide, no tumble.

    Then they start crying about all the problems as if they have nothing to do with how they voted. They then turn around and decide I will vote the exact same way because “change is scary” isn’t it. I even heard a lady say that she couldn’t vote for a candidate that she knew nothing about. Then why doesn’t the idiot go and find out about ALL the candidates like an informed intelligent person would? Because that would entail energy expenditure and the knowledge that discounts those preconceived notions she is working on.

    It is ridiculous to say the least that you can sit in a car dealership waiting room and hear the banter of idiots as they talk about what they believe people should be thinking about as the main problems for voting for a candidate. And they were as stupid and simplistic as whether or not the person wants to save them 50 cents on 5 dollar a gallon gasoline that won’t be seen for months. But hey that is important isn’t it.

    Thanks

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Friday, June 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    It’s funny because I know people who said they voted for George Bush because they liked the way he stuck to his principles. The same principles that got us in fruitless wars, decimated the U.S. Constitution, created a business environment that will allow five dollars a gallon gas and four dollars a gallon milk, and the whole other myriad of problems the American people face today. There is a disconnect between how we responsibly vote for our political leadership and the political leadership that fails to lead us responsibly.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, June 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful blog. I think you’ve really hit an interesting point here when you say “the education of the individual voter is made a matter of personal responsibility instead of a matter of social responsibility.” Our society is very individualistic and our connections with each other are often tenuous at best and often confrontational. I wonder how we can find ways educate each other and make education really a social responsibility? The nice thing about blogs is that they can provide communities for learning without the top-down approach of the broadcast media, but I’m not sure this is enough.

    Comment by Betsy | Friday, June 20, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback Betsy,

    You are so correct when you say that our society is very individualistic. We are being programmed or manipulated to think this way. In order to have an economic system where people crave the latest and greatest, the population must have a mindset where we are competing on an individual basis with our neighbors for attention and status. What’s the point if no one notices or cares?

    The mainstream media is part of this system. Television broadcasters can’t sell commercial air time for the maximum dollar unless they compete with other broadcasters for the top show. So the broadcasters will help distribute this mentality to the public. The best way to combat it is to disconnect. But our system is built on all of us being connected. Like a moth to a flame we cannot resist the programming.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, June 20, 2008 | Reply


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