“I’m done,” he announced.
I nodded without paying much attention. If you ain’t there yet, you will learn as a sane woman that much of what men say is not worth listening to, so all that waiting with baited breath (what the hell does that really mean anyway?) has long passed me by and I automatically search for certain key words to hear before I engage fully in “listening” to my spouse.
“No more news for me. I don’t care. I don’t care what the Republicans do, I don’t care what Congress does or doesn’t do about anything. I’m done with it all. Today was it.”
This brought me to attention, since I just barely, through the usual fog of interfamily discourse, sensed a certain turning point in life issue here.
“What’s up?” I cautiously inquired.
“Fox is in a fit because the president has come out against Christie and Cuomo and their plans to quarantine aid workers returning from Ebola-stricken nations.” (actually he said something like Fox is having a fucking melt down because Obama said they were nuts for locking up people because they MIGHT be sick). Call it poetic license or anything else that suits ya, I’m writin’ it the way I wanna.
I nodded, since I would assume Fox to take no other position. The equation is simple enough. President says X, Fox says, FOR SHAME YOU BASTARD! Nothing new here.
“Ya see,” he says, “if Obama had been the one to quarantine these people, they would be screaming that he is locking up innocent Americans and depriving them of their rights, and FEMA camps, HELLO, just like we been tellin’ ya.”
“Yep, you are probably right,” I mused. That would be true too.
“Well, it’s the last straw, the camel’s back is broken. I’m no masochist. I’m 64 years old. What is this government going to do to me that I can’t live through at this point? Why pollute my mind and peace of mind with such crap? I read WorldNewsDaily every day, and watch the crazies throw poop at each other from inside their cages and call it entertainment. I read Townhall and Daily Caller, and Blaze for the same reason. I’m constantly overwhelmed by how stupid these people are, with few of them even capable of understanding the most basic of arguments on anything. Why they all take oxygen I’m sure, because not a one of them has sufficient brain cells to engage in breathing without help. So I’m done! This is pure torture to the human soul.”
I write about politics and I basically argue that it is a basic requirement of a citizen to be informed and to vote. So I was forced to confront the issue of whether it was really okay to be a low-information citizen or not. Certainly I argue that more knowledge is better, but I can sympathize with the concept that politicians as a rule today are a rather seamy sort of lying blood sucker. That said, can we expect anything better if we don’t participate?
One is faced clearly with a dilemma. On the one hand it is said that Tea Baggers are rather more “informed” than the average person about political issues. But on the other hand, plenty of reputable studies indicate that Fox watchers are by far the most misinformed of citizens. While it may seem that this is contradictory, it truly isn’t.
It’s quite one thing to know that a subject exists in the world, and quite another to know any truth about that subject. Case in point. Fox viewers (aka typical tea imbibers) know that we have no Surgeon General presently occupying the post. In that respect they may be among say only 30 percent of Americans in general. But if you were then to go further and ask, why don’t we have an SG, you would get from the Tea Fool that it is because Obama’s nominee wants to destroy our 2nd Amendment rights, and therefore the GOP has blocked his nomination.
That is patently false. The nominee has evinced an opinion that gun violence is a proper study of health care in America. There are a volume of doctors and other scientists in the field who agree with him. Congress has for several decades explicitly denied the the budgets of the SG or the CDC for that matter as to an studies on the subject. End result, the SG has zero ability to either “take away” anybody’s 2nd Amendment rights, or even to investigate the issue. Thus it cannot be a REASON to block his appointment.
Thus we can see that in some cases, it would be much better to have no information than purposeful disinformation of which Fox News and it’s ilk are so famous for.
As to the average person, I would suggest, that most are exceedingly low information citizens. While the most prominent “political” party is now “Independent”, that is just a label that means in essence, “I have not thought even enough about any issue to decide on a party.” At least the Green or Socialist, Libertarian, or even Anarchist has done that.
However, it cannot be said from this analysis that people shouldn’t vote unless they can present a modicum of basic knowledge (as some Fox commentators are now arguing). Although their targets are always the poor and brown skinned, there are I suppose some on the left that bemoan from time to time that people who are essentially Tea Party stupid are out there electing their political equivalents to state and federal office. On the whole, the low information voter does reach the right result, even though they may not know why.
Basically, by one’s twenties, one knows what kind of person one is. One is either a citizen of the world and sees us all in this together with the need to work together for the benefit of all, or one sees oneself as part of a tribe, whose only concern is with others of their kind. Most anybody with a few brain cells can tell which party is which based on that simple analysis.
So I have no fear that the Contrarian will falter in his allegiance to the basic principles he has always espoused and vote accordingly. He will continue to read the paper and no doubt will pick up more than enough from me to ensure that he is still wildly above the average when it comes to political knowledge.
And he points to a real issue for me. It is painful to do what I do. My heart is wrenched again and again at what I see as wonton disregard for the rights of others and a very real turning away from helping with basic issues of food, housing, education and health care as basic rights entitled to by all. It hurts deeply to watch the GOP demand that people have a job before they can eat when there are not enough jobs. It is all well and good to create a worldview, and a religious one to back up to that world, as a means to make you feel comfortable with who you really are. It’s quite another to foist that twisted worldview on the rest of us and demand we live by it too.
I am sick to death of so-called religious people (who are not in the least) misusing MY faith as means to justify their own selfish fears about the world and their own inadequacies. If you are unable to handle your homophobic fears that deep down if unleashed you too might harbor a “crush” on someone of the same sex, or once did, hey, deal with it. Don’t re-interpret texts in a sacred book so that you can feel okay in your repulsion at your own “tendencies”.
So I get the desire to dump it all in the nearest trash can and spend the remainder of one’s thinking life pursing things that make one happy and peaceful. I do. And I think that a person has the right to opt for that. And some days I do opt for it.
But politics is as are most things, a jealous lover. She calls me back. Perhaps one day too, I shall be able to resist her siren calls. But it is not today.