Friday, September 3, 2010

Worst political disaster of all: uninformed voters

Political archaeologists and historians rummaging through results of 2010 elections will find that more voters cast ballots for candidates' slogans and political hoaxes rather than on clear-cut issues that affected their country and their families and needed urgent attention.

Slogans that drip with fear or threats—"Don't Tread on Me," "Take Back Our Country," "Socialism," "Fascism," "Nobama," "Freedoms Lost Are Lost Forever," "Revolution, Baby, Revolution!", "We'll Set Election Rules Hereafter," "America's Most Dangerous Enemy: Mainstream Media," "Impeach Obama," "Beware Obama's Hitler Youth," "Second Amendment Remedies," and worse—are easier and more appealing than devoting time to studying the nation's pressing needs.

Somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the adult population believes President Obama is a Muslim and/or foreign born. The same group believes Obama is a socialist or Marxist. Slightly fewer still believe detention camps for political dissenters are being built and the Obama health-care legislation includes "death panels" to decide who dies and when. (Then there is the 10 percent that admit disliking the president because he's black.)

This is pure tripe, debunked by responsible political researchers. However, highly paid propagandists—once known as political spin doctors—have been recruited to poison the minds of voters with paranoia, fear and hate and to portray responsible news media as mouthpieces of dark forces undermining the U.S. Constitution.

Money behind rabble movements, such as the Tea Party, come from the likes of mega-billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have used stealth channels to slip $100 million to right-wing organizations that attack President Obama and Democrats.

Their objective: To confuse voters into electing candidates that subsist on slogans but have no earthly understanding of government, the Constitution or the public's actual needs. Think Sarah Palin.

An uninformed public is the ideal tool to achieve this goal—and the worst threat to the stability of a democratic government. Interests that would weaken the democratic government long ago displaced their sense of civic responsibility with greed and recruited shallow politicians to carry out their bidding.

Why was health care reform so urgent? Why can't major funds of the federal budget be cut? What would be the consequences of states' preempting powers of the government over immigration?

Those are examples of issues voters should study before throwing their support behind candidates that are long on fiery rhetoric but way short on understanding the responsibilities and ethics involved in forming public policy.

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