Thursday, December 24, 2009

Personal responsibility and ignorance in American politics

Of course I'm not thinking about the Tea Party movement when I say that large parts of the American public are politically ignorant. Would never do that. Anyways, when it comes down to our low, low, political literacy here in the U.S. it helps to look in the mirror. Conservatives are fond of talking about personal responsibility, but the personal responsibility I'm talking about comes through having grown up in a really well off country, on that for the majority of people alive today was the the quote 'leader of the free world'. Even though we have internal class divisions, and in the very current moment are facing an extremely bad economic crisis, as a whole we've been remarkably prosperous, so prosperous that it sort of twists the mind beyond credibility to say that social forces alone are responsible for a situation where lots of people, probably still people today, believed that Iraq and Al Qaeda worked together to commit 9/11, and that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction. I think that on the whole folks had plenty of opportunities to become aware of current events, aware of political issues, aware of history, but that they chose not to do so, and instead chose to munch chips and watch TV instead. We had all the fixins' to make us an edumacated nation but we chose not to do so. And now we complain about know it all elitists. Perhaps the people being called elites aren't really so much completely elite as they are just cognizant of the world in which they live. There's lots of room to go upward in sophistication compared with what you need to know to intelligently understand current events. So I guess the question is the eternal one--"What is to be done?" And I don't have the answer to that, but neither am I an elitist who is willing to just throw most of the American public overboard and give up on them.

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