Thursday, August 13, 2009

Educate Yourself America. Ignorance is NOT an Excuse but Rather a Deadly Disease for Democracy.

It seems that everyday I go through the various stages of grief concerning the state of this country. I often find myself wanting to give up on this place and move to that great, "evil" bastion of liberalism--Europe but they aren't taking many people.

Go figure conservatives!! You paint Europe to be this horrible place where people should be flocking out of but it's the opposite. So many people want to get into these countries that they have become very strict in who they allow in. If they were such shit holes then they'd be letting anyone and everyone in out of hopes that new blood (immigrants) could boost their economy, etc.

Then again, I think of how much I love this country and that I don't want to see it over-run by these radicals. America was never supposed to be a tyranny where people shout down anyone who disagrees with them. Yes, everyone has their freedom to say whatever they want but I guess it's too much anymore to ask for civility and basic manners. I see all these older citizens trampling on someone else's right to speak at these town hall meetings.

I have to shake my head because they are the same generation who constantly bitch that we youngin's (anyone under 65) have no manners. The other issue is that we've become lazy and it has infiltrated our politics to where no one does good old fashioned research of their own anymore, which increases radicalism on both sides. Americans would rather someone else do research for them on political issues and then tell them what to think and do. This is sadly ironic considering we live in the information age where between Google and other internet resources at our fingertips, researching is easier than ever.

Case in point these people who attend town halls who are poorly informed, not very active in politics and less educated in general, which makes for very counter-productive discussions. I'm thinking right now of that lady who appeared at an Arlen Specter town hall who said she's 30 something and had never thought or cared much about politics before now. She said she didn't really care about it but then shows up at this town hall with probably 2 weeks worth of knowledge of American politics and information about the issues such as health care, which is all probably filtered through right-wing radio entertainers.

In an interview she was asked why she was so worried about her taxes going up when most people won't see an increase unless they make over $250,000 a year. She struggled with an answer but then blurted out that her husband handles all the finances, which includes their health care budget. So she probably just listens to whatever her husband feeds to her on money, health care and politics in general. It seems a lot of wives are that way, they let their husbands do the thinking for them when it comes to politics. Wouldn't you want to know for yourself what you believe and not just parrot whatever your husband says? What happened to women's rights, thinking for yourself and making up your own mind?

She went on to say in her comments at the town hall that she was afraid America was going to turn into a socialist country like Russia. Um, well I hate to say this lady but Russia is no longer a pure Socialist country, which wasn't even called Russia then but the USSR. It is technically a representative democracy like ourselves, however, with some social programs that we don't have. She makes it sound as if it's still a hard-line Communist state. I know not everyone is a history or political expert but some of this is basic information and if you don't the basics and spew whatever someone else told you then are you helping or hurting the democratic process? That's a rhetorical question by the way. I am a political junkie where not only is politics something I study but it's a passionate interest of mine--as is history, which is what I have my degree in.

What I am NOT, however, is an expert in engineering so you won't find me showing up at a debate on the physics principles of engineering. I wouldn't presume to know enough to be anything but a hindrance, an embarrassment to myself and an asshole who thinks he knows it all. Again, I'm not saying that you have to have a history or political science degree to discuss politics but have some basic understanding of the main issues if you're going to stand up in public and take up the time of our Senators, Representatives and your fellow citizens. If I don't feel I know enough about a subject I listen carefully and then go home and study up more on the issue and research the stuff said that raised red flags in my mind. I don't stand up and just spout off what little I know and expect anyone to take me seriously.

The people who are showing up to these town hall meetings on health care sound more like the type of voices you hear call into radio programs with half-baked ideas, information and understanding. They probably heard some right-wing ideologue tell them on the radio that grandma will die and the other Americans will have their bank accounts seized, all their money confiscated personally by Obama and children aborted if they get pregnant too many times unless they show up at these town halls and throw tantrums. The fact that they're gullible enough to believe what anyone says on the radio or at home without fact checking before making an ass of themselves tells you all you need to know about why a curiosity for information and having a good, solid education is so important. I love my wife and family but I even research stuff that they claim and state--you have to think for yourself or someone will do it for you and use you for their own agenda.

What many people don't realize is that learning should be a life-long process. Otherwise you end up being susceptible to these radio propagandists and are more likely to believe whatever they say because they are smooth talkers and since you don't have much of an education or life-long curiosity you have no frame of reference to check what they say against. Don't believe anything that I say on this blog just because I say so. In fact I hope that you double check my research. I don't want people slavishly following my opinions, views and ideas. That's not why I started this blog. As much as I firmly believe in Liberalism I'm not here to deceive and mislead people. I started this blog to get people to think--not even to think liberally though I do hope people better understand liberalism. No, I want people to come away more curious from reading my blog than ever. I want it to spur an avalanche of learning and thinking in the minds of my readers. Educate yourself, I can't say it enough and check several sources, which is something very important I learned from writing history papers. If I couldn't prove what I was saying in at least 3 different sources I was docked points.

It's frustrating that those of us who've been paying attention all along, studying the issue carefully for ourselves, weighing both sides, etc. have to compete with so many who clearly don't know enough to converse at the level necessary for solving the challenging issues that modern governments have to face. So once they exhaust their 2 weeks worth of "information" they resort to yelling and talking over their opponents. Of course I'm not saying people shouldn't have the right to speak regardless of their knowledge of an issue but it sure makes it hard to have an honest, realistic, rational discussion with people who probably didn't even know who their Senator or Representative was before they got one of those chain emails from their brother-in-law to show up at the town hall. These town halls aren't meant for amateur hour--they involve our countries greatest problems and require more preparation than jotting a few ideas down on a post-it note after listening to an hour of Glenn Beck fomenting the masses. The reason that many of these people who are clearly less informed are afraid of change so much is because not having all the information and education breeds fear because it is human instinct to fear the unknown.

The fact that so many ask these leading questions at these health care town halls but then shout down the Congressperson or Senator when they actually try to answer them tells me that they were never really interested in their answer to begin with. They just wanted a platform to blast their screeds from. When hearings and other business are conducted in the House or Senate they kick ANYONE out who disrupts them from hearing both sides--Left or right. So why doesn't security escort out those who aren't interested in discussing in a civil way? And the ones who ask their question of the Congressperson or Senator but don't want to hear their answer unless it jives with their agenda. This isn't the America I was raised to believe in.

I was always taught in school that one of the things that makes America so great is our civility in debating issues. Well, that has completely gone out the window. I must say that I'm quite shocked at how out of control people are on this subject of health care reform. I shouldn't be I guess. I know that there were going to be the oddballs here and there but I didn't count on mass hysteria, loss of rational behavior, loss of critical thinking and common sense. I thought we have more pride in our country than to behave this way in a public forum.

I have to admit that I feel quite let down, embarrassed and ashamed of America right now. Where does all this shouting and anger lead? I am really starting to worry about the sanity, stability, internal security and unity of this country. It would be such a shame and tragedy to see America fall again into a civil war of some sort. Yet I try to maintain my courage, strength, hope and energy to prevent any such disaster. I would hope that despite our disagreements that we don't let our country spiral out of control. The Republicans who so vehemently oppose this health care reform remind me of the dog that chases loudly after squirrels in the back-yard or park--barking, growling and snarling its teeth. However, when they actually catch a squirrel of rabbit they don't know what to do with it.

They seem so hell bent on destroying the public option and anything that Obama proposes that they haven't seemed to have bothered to think of a viable alternative than the status quo. I tell you though, nothing is more educational than first hand, personal experience of say getting cancer, losing your insurance and wondering how you're going to stay in your house, keep your family fed and stay alive--all at the same time. The school of hard knocks always wins and unfortunately it seems many more people will have to learn the hard-way how badly we need a public option. If this bill goes down to defeat I cringe at how many more people will have to suffer and yes, ultimately die because of this metastasizing, cancerous, attitude in America today of intellectually laziness. I hope it doesn't come to that, I really do but I realize that talking to many of these people is like talking to a two year old.

---End of Transmission---

No comments: