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Old 08-15-2010, 10:57 PM   #1
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the tragic cycle of political apathy

I know many people who tell me they are “not into politics”, either because they don’t understand the issues, they think today’s issues are too complex, or they don’t feel their vote matters. Other people are bored by politics or feel they don’t know enough about an issue or issues to make a stance one way or another - this is what many people I know told me back in ‘03 when I asked them their opinion about the US going to war in Iraq. This is tragic in my opinion. How do we “not care”? To me, it is like being on a trip with half a dozen of your friends and saying: “I don’t care what we do… you guys decide” and just letting everyone decide to go places you don’t want to go, eat at places you don’t want to eat, etc.

I think another big reason for apathy, maybe the biggest right now, is that people simply think the system is corrupt and politicians are only out for themselves and special interests so they give up.. sadly this breeds the cycle of apathy. Once intelligent, well meaning citizens stop caring and participating in the system with their vote and/or advocating for their beliefs or supporting good candidates for office the people start to loose their voice as the corporations and special interests (who have to much vested interest to not care) then gain more political power relative to every day people since some people have now stopped voting. This creates more disillusionment among voters and more people stop caring and the cycle feeds upon itself. I believe this is a large part of the reason why, generally speaking, there are rarely political candidates who have the peoples best interests in mind.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:38 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by pcfitz80 View Post
maybe the biggest right now, is that people simply think the system is corrupt and politicians are only out for themselves and special interests so they give up.. sadly this breeds the cycle of apathy.
Bingo. This is the nail on the head. And the sad part is, who really can argue with their reasoning? The system IS corrupt, politicians ARE out for themselves and special interests. It's not like people haven't given us enough reason to say, "Screw it, I'm done."

It still is strange to hear that statement, though, that "I don't care about politics". Every aspect of your life is affected by some political issue somewhere, no matter how big or small, how "hot-button" or "boring". Got kids who go to school? School board politics, and state education standards, factor in. Make money at a job? Don't you wonder where the hell your money's going? Live next to a family whose kid is going off to Iraq, and you're good neighbors with them? Don't you have an opinion on the issue? You may not do anything about your thoughts on an issue, no, and in that sense you don't obviously care, but surely you must have a view somewhere about something, you must care a little bit.

I personally refuse to be apathetic. I knew full well my joining up with a few other ragtag kids from my high school to do an anti-war protest wasn't going to stop the Bush administration from going to Iraq or make everyone in my town suddenly go, "Oh, okay, you're right after all!" and be on my side. But I did it anyway, just to make my voice heard, just so people out there who disagreed with the war knew they weren't alone. I still write letters or e-mails when necessary. Whether or not they get to the people they're meant for, and if they do, whether or not they get read and carefully noted, I don't know, but I still do it on the off chance someone gives enough of a damn. And I vote, because, first off, I want to honor all the women who fought to allow me the privilege, nay, the right, to do this, and second, because occasionally a good leader does come along, and I'd like to get people elected that I trust could honestly do a good job of at least trying to fix things.

And every once in a while, sometimes getting involved and sharing your view does lead to some positive change, and I figure it's better to try and succeed or fail than not try at all and leave things in a bad or worse shape. Everyone can do as they so wish, of course, but I really think by not getting involved in some way you're missing out. It seems pointless to bitch and moan if you're not going to do anything about what you're griping over.

Angela
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:30 PM   #3
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I would further suggest that in our heavily entertainment-oriented culture politics and "the issues" are simply too dry for most people's tastes. Many people seem to prefer to stay politically informed through entertaining mediums--"news" delivery services that play to the emotions, seek to shock and thrill, and are funny. In some cases that may not be a bad thing (the Daily Show can be quite good for example), but in others (Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michale Moore) it's a real problem. Furthermore, because we want our news to be entertaining, the issues that get the most press often aren't the most important--just the most entertaining.
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Old 08-18-2010, 02:24 PM   #4
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Bingo. This is the nail on the head. And the sad part is, who really can argue with their reasoning? The system IS corrupt, politicians ARE out for themselves and special interests. It's not like people haven't given us enough reason to say, "Screw it, I'm done."
true dat.
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