Friday, August 12, 2011

The Heavy Hand of Willing Ignorance

So... I have a friend that was completely clueless about the rioting in London, because she doesn't ever see the news unless it's spoon-fed to her through friends on Facebook. I told her that she could check the headlines from her phone and it would take about 5 minutes. She responded with "I don't have time." REALLY? We have time to sit and watch full dvd's of t.v. shows and movies and time to sit out and tan, time to hang about with friends and families for hours on end, but we don't have FIVE MINUTES to find out what's going on the world? We don't have FIVE MINUTES to educate yourself and - I don't know - end our own ignorance? I wish we Americans would grow a pair and stop making excuses for our apathy and just say "I don't want to because I just don't care if it's not entertaining to me."

I've spent a lot of time pointing out who's at fault for our nation's debt crisis, foreign policy faux pas and such, but I'm beginning to see that - in it's essence - the real blame is a lot closer to home than I before thought. I can't blame the President, Congress, the House or anyone in the seats of power alone, for it's the apathetic voters of our nation that rely on everyone else to tell them what to think. It's the fact that we will gladly gain our opinions from the entertainers such as John Stewart and Saturday Night Live rather than spend some time reading up on "boring" policy reviews. We quietly muddled through history classes in high school and college, and that's all the history we possibly want to read.

We live in a society who's people pride themselves on side-stepping difficulties, and when we cannot ignore difficulties completely, we tend to throw important things a Proverbial Bone, providing as little of our attention as possible in effort to move on to more pleasurable opportunities. We love jovial television and hate heavy reading; we spend days following an inflammatory comment list on a political blog and refuse to look up public documents explaining how our government works; we exclaim brazen headlines in bold print and sign our names onto contracts without bothering to read the fine print.

I used to think that my generation didn't want to read up on political viewpoints simply because we were disillusioned by the elitist attitude of Washington. Now I see how the elitist attitude grew in Washington out of the people's disinterest. If someone ran for office by explaining policy plans and economic forecasts, he or she is widely ignored - but if someone can run with a fun catch-phrase and can turn a joke or two, and especially if an appearance can be made on late-night t.v. he or she wins by a landslide. The masses want their drug of non-thinking, and we want it now.

So we are now beginning to get what we wanted - a government that will do all the thinking for us. It will take as much money from us as it feels is necessary to hand out to the masses, to provide for people that don't work. And then those that are taking our money will flash a smile and make jokes, and give the American people a pat on the head for being such a "good" American people for giving hand-outs to people that abuse the system to their every advantage, all the while the economy sputters and dies. But we wanted this, right? We don't have to check the news, we don't need to know what's going on. There's a re-run of Glee on right now.

If we aren't going to change our actions, let's at least change our words. We need to stop saying "I don't have time," and say what we're really meaning: "I just don't care because it's not fun." That way when we're straining under the heavy hand of the people that run our country, we'll stop blaming them and realize it's our own lack participation, our own laziness and apathy, our own willing ignorance that put the heavy hand of totalitarian-styled leadership over us.

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