“The biggest bias in election coverage isn’t towards Republicans or Democrats or even towards conflict and sensationalism,” states Ezra Klein in his article, “The 9 most important facts about the 2014 election.”
Pause. Before we get to his surprising answer, how many of you know any important facts about the 2014 election? How many of you even know that there is a 2014 election?
He continues, saying, “It’s towards national elections rather than local elections. This is partly a question of resources: it’s a lot easier for a news organization to cover national politics than local politics. And part of it is that the media covers elections as the culmination of the bloodsport of American politics, and local elections don’t really count towards that.”
“Bloodsport” is a good word to describe politics in the U.S. It is like a seasonal spectator sport that polarizes people and makes them gravitate toward different teams. Maybe they choose whom to support based on their beliefs, but, more often than not, they follow their family or trivial whims, like how one team simply has a cooler mascot than another. The sport runs its cycle, disappears and then returns again three years later for yet another epic competition. Battles are fought, and then the monumental hype pulls a Houdini and evaporates into thin air. The country goes from stadiums of fans cheering passionately on the sidelines to nothing after a single game.
If people are really so loyal to their “teams,” why do they pull out their support when the game disappears from the spotlight? The issues don’t go away when the election is over, and neither do the players.
Every two years, Americans have the power to vote during the congressional elections in November, which this year means 35 positions in the Senate and all 435 in the House of Representatives. Additionally, there are 39 Gubernatorial Elections this November.
People in some countries fight entire revolutions in order to gain the opportunity to elect their government officials; yet, for some Americans, this privilege is seen as an inconvenience. Something they just can’t fit into their busy schedules.
Sufficient education on how to be an active member of a democracy is also contributing to the problem of apathy. When the elections are, what the key issues at stake are, what each nominee’s platform is, and how voters research accurate information about the nominees are all important matters that not enough citizens know how to answer.
It’s scary to realize how uninformed people are when they directly impact government policies. Citizens should know the general issues that are driving this country right now.
There are huge decisions at stake, one of the biggest being that the U.S. currently owes $17 trillion in debt. According to Hal Hawkins’s article, “What Does $17 Trillion Of Federal Debt Look Like?” our debt, if laid out in dollar bills, could get us to Saturn and back. Saturn is three planets away from Earth. Just take that in.
Our nation’s debt, and other problems like it, was created before we had a say in politics. These problems are going to exist long after the people who created them are gone. Yes, we didn’t make the decisions that got us to where we are now, but we can affect how our nation now handles those issues.
Lots of people go through life completely ignorant of political issues. Worse, some have opinionated, filtered ignorance — they acquire bits and pieces of information, and all the ensuing opinions, through friends, family and media. Their views on politics are such distorted versions of reality that it’s frightening.
This ignorance was exemplified on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last year, when the comedian interviewed pedestrians about Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act. Many were adamant in their disapproval of Obamacare but wholeheartedly supported the Affordable Care Act. But wait just a minute…Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing! And you should know that.
If you promote something, you should support it for actual reasons and not just superficial ones. The Republican and Democratic Parties are two broad categories into which many distinct individuals fall. Objectively research the issues and nominees, and then form your opinion.
Decisions must be made, and they have serious implications within our country and repercussions all over the world. If you live in the U.S. in 10 years, the elections taking place now will affect you. Even if you packed your bags this instant and moved to Tuvalu, a tiny island nation near Papua New Guinea, these elections would still affect you.
The difference is that if you moved to Tuvalu, you would not be able to vote here. So, since you do have the opportunity to vote and, knowing that these elections will affect you one way or another, at least make sure your opinion is factored into the outcome.