First things first: Let’s be clear, ignorant does not mean stupid. People often confuse the two. Ignorance is alack of knowledge, learning, information, etc. Stupid is a lack of normal intelligence.
Now that that’s settled, I am very much concerned with the ignorance of so many Americans. This may come from a minimum of interest, time, resources, or the inability to research, read, or access any media whatsoever. Maybe people don’t ever, ever use their computers to learn about issues or bother to open a newspaper.
And yes, I’m being a little facetious.
Maybe they do read, but fail to catch up on the news on a regular basis. Maybe they’re apathetic. Or lazy. Or gullible. Or afraid they won’t be able to process what they’re seeing and hearing. Or maybe they don’t understand what they’re hearing. Or perhaps their only source of news is Fox, which has proved itself to be a propaganda network, not a reliable source for hard news.
Whatever the reason, it saddens and infuriates me. We’re coming up on another presidential election, and people who will actually go to the polls and vote still don’t seem to understand, say, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Here’s a headline I just ran across:
The breakdown: 41% of those surveyed said the court should strike down the entire law, and another 27% said the justices should overturn only the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.
Do these people know what’s in the law or how it works, why the mandate is in there, or how lives will change if the law is repealed? Because other polls show that once they do, once it’s broken down and polled component by component (“Do you approve of the part where your kids get to stay on your plan until they turn 26?” or “Do you approve of the part where you can be covered despite your pre-existing medical conditions?”), suddenly it dawns on them that they kind of like it.
And how about the people in Wisconsin who voted against their own self-interests? What did they not know?
Or how about those relentless birthers? Or voters who just know that President Obama is a Muslim while criticizing his attending services at the largest church affiliated with the United Church of Christ (because they disapprove of the pastor)?
Unfortunately, there are some people who, despite easy access to all kinds of information, will still believe what they want to believe, will never be convinced otherwise, and will continue to thrive on oblivion and assumption instead of knowledge and instruction. Evidence schmevidence.
Democrats lose elections when voters are uninformed and/or misinformed, when they’re ignorant of the facts, of the full story, of who the candidates are, of how our election system works, of how to register to vote, of basic civics, etc.
And the saddest part of this is that Republicans like it that way. Low information voters are their primary targets.