The growing disconnect in America, born of apathy
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
Elections, political debates, economic crises, national disasters — there is a lot of information to keep up with.
Here is the question though: Are we trying to? Are Americans keeping up with our government’s actions, or have we stopped caring?
There is a disconnect between citizens and the government here in America — a disconnect that is constantly growing.
This disconnect is most apparent in our age group. We have developed a reputation for not caring about politics. This could be because we are still fairly young, but we need to start figuring out what is going on in our country now, before we ingrain this apathy into our lives.
If you do not believe we are apathetic, think back to all the voting that happened a few weeks ago. Eight percent of the entire student body voted in the ASOSU elections. The whole voting process takes all of 60 seconds and only 2,000 students voted.
What is more, those students probably just voted for their friends. I doubt many people tried to find out what the candidates were focused on. If students are too lazy to read through a short article about ASOSU candidate platforms, or to spend 60 seconds voting for their friends, what makes you think they voted in the actual primaries for the U.S. election?
This laziness is a serious problem. We, as citizens of this country, have so much freedom. We have to follow laws, but our only real duty is to be informed Americans so as to better the country as a whole. We need to know about political issues, to have well-informed opinions.
Voting should be a chance to voice your opinion, not a chance to close your eyes and randomly check bubbles. With all the technology we have, it should be really easy to get access to news about politics and current events.
Watch the nightly news, read online news articles, subscribe to a newspaper or follow politicians on Twitter. There is no excuse for being uninformed, because whatever your media preference, you can find something news related.
Not only is there a large political disconnect, but there is a disconnect between Americans and our military. I got a chance to talk about this issue with my cousin last weekend.
He is in the military, and he feels that civilians do not really understand what he does. Americans have stopped paying attention to our military exploits, and to our reasons for employing our armed forces the way we do.
Also, he feels that the loudest people are usually the most misinformed. My cousin recently read an article calling for lowering pay for members of the military, but he only makes about $4 an hour on active duty. Ignorance like this is disrespectful to everyone who is serving in the military and could be easily avoided by a more careful evaluation of the facts. We cannot let the loudest people be the ones who are least informed.
We can support our troops by knowing what they are doing. In the same way we can support our government by being well-informed. There is a checks and balances system in our government, but the most important aspect of democracy is the people. If we are not informed, how can we stand up against those things that are wrong?
A few centuries ago, democracy was thought impossible, but our country made it work. The U.S. became the place it is today because generations of people have molded, shaped and voted for the laws we now have. They worked very hard and letting hundreds of years fall apart due to apathy is just sad.
We need to become informed — for the sake of our troops, our fellow Americans and everything our country stands for. There are so many ways to get informed, so stop saying you can be informed someday. We have a duty to know what is going on. Ignorance is not bliss, it is just easy.
Brayden Johnson is a freshman in pre-mechanical engineering. The opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.