Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Political Bubble's 1%

I just realized that I'm part of the one percent. No, not the 1% that Occupy Wall Street is protesting against. I don't have old money or new money. I make a good living but I'm not wealthy. I don't work on Wall Street and I'm not a bank CEO. I'm talking about the 1% of Americans that are in tune with the country's politics on a day to day basis. The one percent in the political bubble.

I write on this blog as often as I can, some weeks more than others. But over the past few weeks my output has been lower than usual (lower than I'd like) because I've had to take on extra work to save some money for a new roof on my house. So some days I'm off to work and out of the house by 6:30am and don't get home until midnight, which means my usual blogging/reading/cable TV watching time is greatly diminished if not completely absent. And I have to tell you, I feel much less anxious and angry. It's kind of nice to not need to have an opinion or a reaction to Mitt Romney's latest flip flop or Herman Cain's idiotic arrogance or Rick Perry on medical marijuana. But still I knew about it. I tried to keep informed even though I wasn't laser focused on it for hours a day. I was an outlier, but I still considered myself one of the very few that knew what was going on

But I fear the problem we have as a nation, and I used to be part of the problem, is that 99% of us really don't care enough. 99% of the population won't see Rick Perry's strange performance. 99% of Americans don't know who Herman Cain is. 99% of Americans can guess on any of Mitt Romney's policy positions and get it right because he's held all of them. 99% didn't watch the last Republican debate, but on that one, really, can you blame them?

Of course, my 99% to 1% ratio is an exaggeration but you get the larger point. In a representative democracy, when 59% of registered voters didn't bother to make their voices heard in the 2010 midterm elections, it's not representational. The result was the Tea Party takeover in the House of Representatives. 41% voter turnout in 2010 means that 96 million people made decisions for 307 million of us. That needs to change.

Unfortunately, too many are blissfully ignorant when it comes to all things politics and wait until there are two candidates left to choose from before they'll flip a lever or mark an 'x' every four years. Then they go back home and wait until the next presidential election. Meanwhile, they don't hear about voter suppression, gerrymandering, the political scandal du jour, or any of the myriad of stories that happen with their own representatives in their own districts. They don't understand that in today's global economy, what happens in Greece affects us financially as a country. The 2008 presidential election had a bigger turnout than any in history, and still it was only 65% of registered voters. 146 million people - less than half the population.

Until we as a whole become more informed, and I'm talking about real information, basic stuff like Ronald Reagan really did raise taxes or President Obama really is an American born citizen, or even that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and did not have weapons of mass destruction, we are only destined for more of the same.

And on that note, I'll try to make a better attempt to keep up with events as they happen. But it's not a promise - daddy needs a new roof.

1 comment:

NowhereMan said...

We are always appalled by the stupid and corrupt politicians who arrogantly dismiss us because of the fact they know most people don't pay attention or are to busy or lazy to find out whats really going on.
I'm still amazed how they held the debt ceiling hostage and the media reported it like it was a cat fight between the parties instead of telling us just how fuckin crazy these members of congress are and just how the severe ramifications were to the country if we had defaulted.
While we are on the subject why don't they explain that the republicans are trying to suppress votes and why is it they don't have weekend voting instead of just one day which usually falls on a Tuesday?We are living in such strange times.