Public Political Understanding and Lack Thereof

By: Mikaelah

 

This year I have come to a conclusion on why most Americans hate our democratic government. For many it is not that our federal government has not given The People opportunities to voice their opinions, but rather

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.11.15 PMthat such opportunities are surrounded with such rhetoric and deliberate avoidances of a blunt truth that it makes it extremely difficult, or nearly impossible, for the common individual to engage as an active citizen. As seen in the comic strip to the right, a simple manipulation of words and phrasing, as commonly seen by politicians, can make any idea simple in concept very complex and hard to understand. This state of confusion causes people to either remain politically unengaged or to join the growing trend of anti-government protest and hate commonly seen in the media, such as that of the currently trending protest of the Eastern Oregon Militia.

 

Here are links to interesting blogs/ articles that demonstrate this anti-government trend:
Our Government is Just another Corporation
Our ‘government’ is just another corporation!
13 Things Government is Trying to Hide from You
http://www.salon.com/2013/08/22/13_things_the_government_is_trying_to_hide_from_you/

 

While I cannot fully say that it is The People’s fault that they feel unjustly treated by their government it is unfair to say that the ignorance of the country as a whole does not play a part in the deeply rooted American urge to feel unsatisfied with government. This ignorance should not, under any circumstances, thought to be a nicer synonym for the word stupidity. While my classes and teachers have repeatedly enforced the fact that I as a citizen have plenty of power to change the world around me, it seems like an impossible feat for many, including myself, and in turn inaccurately skews many people’s ideas of their own power as citizens. When you are repetitively told you can change the world, but “know” somehow that it’s infeasible, it makes the establishment as a whole look stronger than it is and makes you feel like your are small and insignificant. If The People’s rights continues to remain unexercised, whether by fear or unawareness, as is seen on the whole currently, in time this power may be taken away by big-scale corporations that use their money to silence the minorities that rival their philosophy. This abuse of power by political money bags causes mal-informed citizens to feel disfranchised and act out violently because they feel that any other actions would be unheard. As much as silent, peaceful protests are powerful and strong, violence always seems to grab the attention of media and press, even if said actions are only idle threats.

 

Only-Politicians-Know-The-True-Power-Of-Public-Funny-Political-PicturesOne undertone of American political anger is due to a misinterpretation of the idea of representation of the people. While yes there are representatives on city, county, and state governments it seems that individual ideas and philosophies are not actually being taken into account in government voting. I understand that our democracy is not truly democratic, but rather much more a republic because of our grand size and large population, so this in turn makes me wonder how we can represent the wide variety of contrasting ideas properly. Representatives are not actually accurately representing their people’s perspectives because the people commonly do not thoroughly understand the standing issues that are being voted on. It’s common for speculation and extreme biases to influence the actual message of a bill/act/law/etc. when shown to the public, so to expect a valid response from the public is stupid and idiotic. This means that representatives are voting on an inaccurate majority perception of an idea on a topic rather than the true thought of the groups he or she are supposed to represent. This allows a governing body, in many’s eyes, to mask their true political agendas and conceal their actions behind the ignorance of their voting body. This, what I believe, is one of the major causes behind hatred of elected officials, especially noticeable with President Obama.

 

As anger mounts and tensions rise, I enjoy seeing the visual demonstrations of such controveScreen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.40.37 PMrsy in political cartoons or blogs. Like I said in my title there is a widespread misunderstanding of the public’s understanding of politics. It seemed, and still seems to me, that one can either be a democrat or republican and the establishment of both bases is pulliing apart at the seams. Both have now turned into the extremes leaving The People to become extremists in their own rights or to fight for their own philosophies on their own. And it has been accepted that the publci doesn’t think they have any power to accomplish drastic political change, such as creating a strong third party, so such change will most likely never occur. I am curious how this polarization of parties will play out in this next presidential election of which we see candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Trump, Cruz, and Hilary.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 5.11.33 PM

 

 

Now that I am aware of this it is my job to let those around me be aware of this. But will I share this newly found opinion… probably not.

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