It’s amazing how we vote for and support an important political candidate like our country’s leader based mainly on what they tell us in speeches, rallies, advertisements, social media, and debates. I’m guilty of this myself. Relying solely on this information is political ignorance.
This is especially surprising when a person becomes a volunteer for a candidate’s election or reelection campaign. And even more so if they are a paid campaign leader or, later, a member of his or her cabinet.
Definitions: political and ignorance
- Political is the way power is achieved and used in a country or society.
Source: Collins Dictionary (online)
- Ignorance is the lack of knowledge, understanding, or information about something.
Source: Cambridge Dictionary (online)
Another way we stay politically ignorant is by just following our family, friends, or another group in our political decisions. Even at the risk of ridicule, what’s wrong with being independent, researching, and coming to your own conclusions? You might just be the only one in your group who is doing this. Therefore, you might be the only one worthy of being a leader in your group on this topic.
Some of the most unreliable sources of information are found on social media pages, posts, and comments. And comments below stories at online news outlets. It has been widely reported by the intelligence community and investigative reporters that these pages, posts, and comments in democratic countries are heavily saturated by agents from extremist groups and enemy countries. In some nondemocratic countries that reportedly allow “uncensored” access to the internet, they are often heavily saturated by agents of the country’s leader.
Another powerful political influencer is mainstream news outlets. These “companies” sometimes seem to lean toward a particular candidate or party. They also appear to favor sensationalism to gain viewers, listeners, readers, and, most importantly, profits over impartial reporting. So they must be scrutinized as a group. And we must be highly selective.
Illegitimate domestic, foreign, and enemy country news organizations are particularly insidious and effective. They are effective because they do not adhere to any ethical or journalistic standards. They put out as many manipulative, misleading, and divisive “news” stories as possible to achieve their unprincipled and self-serving objectives.
I believe most professional journalists, especially those with college degrees or extensive experience in journalism, are honest and have virtuous motives. This is proven by their willingness to risk their lives by putting themselves in dangerous situations to keep the public informed.
I have the greatest amount of trust in America’s PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) news because it’s a nonprofit organization supported by donations. It has several excellent and informative news programs.
I have particular faith in documentaries and PBS’s Frontline and Politifact. Some documentaries and both of these organizations are nonprofit. The award-winning Frontline is a documentary series by real investigative “journalists,” not celebrities or friends of celebrities with zero or limited journalism experience like those you see on morning television “entertainment” news “shows.” In addition, independent documentaries are often available on top political candidates, party leaders, and other key players.
NBC’s Meet the Press (1947) and CBS’s 60 Minutes (1968) have earned reputations for integrity and quality. I agree. These programs appear to be a relatively solid source of information about candidates. However, keep in mind that these “shows” are for-profit endeavors.
These journalism brands are recommended: New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Politico, Associated Press, PBS, and NPR (National Public Radio). Their websites have little or no useless celebrity news; many are not drenched with ads.
The best way to learn about a candidate is to do your own research. With the internet, this can be done with minimal effort and time. So there are no excuses. Keep in mind that the political candidate you choose is a reflection of your character, your integrity, and your principles, whether you researched them or not.
If a candidate wins the election and is later the focus of a serious and extensive investigation like a congressional impeachment inquiry, it is imperative that citizens/voters watch and analyze the proceedings. And then look at interpretations from several reliable news sources — not just one. At the very least, each citizen/voter should review various news summaries about the proceedings. If the elected person is the president or other top official and he or she has a history of judicial investigations or congressional inquiries, every citizen must objectively and impartially scrutinize them. This means putting your country ahead of your self-interests.
So why are there so many politically ignorant people? Why do people refuse to do a little research and look at the best-known facts about their chosen candidate or indicted elected official? Especially when it’s so easy to do with the internet. I suspect that they don’t research because they do not want to know the truth for some self-serving reason or lack the insight, initiative, or integrity to do so. Or they may be so mesmerized by a candidate’s or elected official’s rhetoric and “promises” to fix their overlooked, disregarded, and unaddressed concerns, frustrations, and problems that they choose ignorance over intelligence.
Each person’s vote for and support of a particular political candidate is crucial. The act of voting is huge. It is a privilege, not an entitlement. It is the foundation of democracy. To say a single vote is unimportant is like saying a single life is unimportant. If you cannot see the value of voting, research or visit countries where voting is totally fixed, fraudulent, and therefore pointless.
We cannot ever forget about the totalitarian fascist takeovers by Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy just before WWII. To gain power, they did two things. (1) They promoted division and hate by pointing the blame for current problems on certain ethnicities, groups, and individuals. (2) They made big promises about giving their followers what they wanted. Hitler and Mussolini started off making good on “some” of their promises, further bolstering their power. You know how their stories ended and the mass destruction they left behind. Hilter, in particular.
Please do not give your vote and support to anyone blindly. That would be a disservice to you, your loved ones, your country, and your planet.
Quotes: political ignorance
- The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
- John F. Kennedy
- Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens.
- William Beveridge
- Political ignorance helps explain Americans’ perpetual disappointment with politicians generally, and presidents especially, to whom voters unrealistically attribute abilities to control events.
- George Will
I believe the best course for the United States is establishing term limits for Congress members. Prohibit lobbying, special interest groups, and super PACs. Limit campaign spending. And overhaul or eliminate the Electoral College.
It’s vitally important for the United States and all other countries to elect leaders and representatives with rock-solid integrity and advanced knowledge and skills for successfully meeting the requirements of their office. When a leader, like the U.S. president, is responsible for hundreds of millions of people and an influencer of billions of people worldwide, they should be held to the highest standards. Any justifications for anything less are borne out of political ignorance.
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