Thursday, Jan. 31 2013 11:58AM
Staying uninformed and hoping for the best
By Dan Hall
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. -Pericles (430 B.C.)
How, you ask, did it happen? How could a dully elected U.S. Congress pass legislation to allow our medical doctors to become potential government informers? (Yes, it is part of President Obama’s Executive Order “clarifying” Obamacare.)
Obama ordered that “…that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence.”
How could Obama support such an intrusion into patient/doctor relations? Maybe it was because those who passed and signed into law this 2,000-plus page bill did not read, discuss openly, or debate the details of this new law. Then, too, Executive Orders are not discussed in the “open air” of our public legislative arena.
As House Democrat Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi put it: “We must first pass the bill before we know what is in it.” Pelosi’s remark reminds me of Axel Foley’s final line in Beverly Hills Cop, “Just Trust Me (he, he, he, he).”
Rasmussen reports that two-thirds of American adults believe that the Second Amendment guarantees that people are able to protect themselves from government tyranny. The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” If the words, “not be infringed” mean anything, then neither the U.S. Congress nor Obama has the power to nullify or “infringe” on this guarantee of the Second Amendment. If you don’t like this Second Amendment, then the Constitution provides methods to change it legally. For those in federal elected office, it would be wise to remember that millions of your fellow citizens have sworn a solemn oath, “to protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America.”
However, staying politically uninformed lets you off the hook of having to analyze and do critical thinking about political issues. You say that you aren’t interested in “politics,” but you do occasionally vote? America’s millions of uninformed voters are too busy shopping, collecting government payments and texting to be bothered with having to think about politics.
Better to just go with the flow and get your opinions from your favorite celebrity, watch “The View,” and listen to broadcast network news for your information.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” One of the greatest threats in today’s America is the rise of impersonal fluff communications between citizens combined with the lowering of educational achievement. People are so afraid of saying something that might bring offense (or hurt business sales) that they don’t discuss the truly important political matters. Instead, they talk sports, the weather and anything non-controversial.
A second threat is that an educated citizenry is in decline. For example, just look at the graduation rates of our own two largest Missouri public school systems.
So, you ask, what can be done to reverse these trends? On a personal and business level, discuss (in a friendly way) current political issues. You might lose an acquaintance now and then, but, more often than not, you will gain understanding, and in the process, build a better friendship. In addition, you must read, truly listen to other viewpoints, and, yes, do the hard critical thinking required. Learn about the educational opportunities provided our students in the study of political science including the Missouri and United States Constitutions.
I believe, as did Jefferson, that to educate yourself on political issues is a citizenship responsibility. Only then, will you and I move from being “uninformed” to being educated citizens which is as Jefferson wrote: “–a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”