I’m Surrounded By Morons

Remember that this week’s pull up is:

Do you think that your local community (your town, city, county) is appropriately informed about politics and government, or is not?

Considering my situation, I have three areas of concern to address.

The first is Pitt. I’ve never lived in P-town, never visited, and wouldn’t know. But since Goose lives there, and a few of you are as well, I feel at least partially obligated to put my thoughts down regarding you folks. Initially, I’m inclined to say that Pittfolk are into politics and reasonably informed. I say this because three membes of the UPC are from PA. All three are uncommonly knowledgable about both local and national politics. On top of this both Fester and Goose have been known to frequent the “drinking liberally” get togethers. This drinking liberally idea is something Ihaven’t encountered anywhere else where people who are active in politics actually get together, organize, and talk politics. So yeah, my first impression is that you guys got your stuff together.

But listening to a few of the comments from the original posting of the question, it sounds as though I could be wrong.

The next aread I have to address is California. Unfortunately California is California. Love the place, love the people, but they’re looney. What can I say. I’m looney too.

But the one that I really think that I have ground to speak from is right here in Hampton Roads Virginia. There are a lot of things that bother me about where I currently live. First, there’s a lot of Southern influence here in Virginia. As a result you see a lot of dumbing down of issues, and a lot of poor prioritizing.

When it comes to presidential elections, Va is not a swing state, and not a big state in regards to electoral votes, therefore not a lot of the extra ads and campaigning takes place here.

Another problem that faces Southern Virginia is that Hampton Roads is home to the largest Naval base in the world. It’s a big military town and as a result it’s highly susceptible to the kind of feux patriotic rhetoric that has become such a trademark of the right wing. You’re a liberal? You don’t support our troops and our sailors. You don’t like jet noise? You hate freedom. That kind of thing.

Looking at the radio stations in the area, you have a mix of some stations that intentionally play to the false patriotism crowd, and those stations that cater to the bible thumpers. The 700 club is aired within walking distance of my home. In other words, you have conservative rhetoric hitting you just about everywhere you go.

Throw in with all of that the fact that I think most Americans just don’t pay that much attention, and what you have is a population that is not only not very informed about politics, but the information that we do get is highly spun to benefit the right wing.

Sadly, though, I think the biggest problem that faces Virginia is the same problem that inflicts the rest of the country. People don’t care. There are too many factors that allow us not to care. Maybe it’s the electoral process that makes entire states insignificant. Or maybe it’s the dilution of the power of our votes. Maybe it’s the idea that of all the laws that our national and local legislations make, for so many of us, very few have a direct effect. Politicians on both sides are either actually corrupt or at least are widely seen that way, and it’s hard to relate to many of them since for any upper level elected office you essentially have to be rich. On top of all of this, to really become truly informed on politics on any level is incredibly time consuming. I would say that I have only a passing knowledge of current events and I really do spend anywhere from one to four hours a day just reading about politics.

It’d be easy to blame people for their own ignorance regarding politics, but it’s not fair. People have lives, and much of my own is consumed just keeping up. In the end I think it is a blameless tragedy, or at least one in which the blame needs to be passed around so much that everything ends in a wash. People should take more interest. The media should spend more time and effort reporting pertinent information. Politicians should be less sleezy. But then, no one has ever accused the world of being perfect.

M

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