Apathy and Uninformed Voters: Our Nation’s Downfall

 

constitution

Almost 250 years ago, a distinguished body of men gathered together to lay the framework of what the United States is now built on.  This Constitution has provided order and government since and now stands as the supreme law of the land.  Majority of these men had taken part in the Revolutionary War ten years previously and were willing to die for what they believed in.  After the war was won and it came time to found a nation, differing opinions and political ideals were set aside because there was a greater purpose in mind.

The preamble of the Constitution is widely known and yet largely not understood:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

How many people understand that “ensure domestic tranquility” means that it is the government’s purpose, duty, and responsibility to make sure that people can live peacefully within the boundaries of the nation; that they will not be afflicted by riots, rebellions, or wanton criminal activity?  Why does it seem like instead of promoting general welfare, there is an ever-widening gap between social classes?  Why does it seem like the government’s sole purpose today is to take away people’s rights?

Distinguished* individuals still sit up on the hill today.  With their ivy-league educations, years of experience, and debate finesse, our Nation should be operating successfully.  Why then, are both political parties at constant, unresolved impasses? Why then, has our country turned from a mindset of “we” to “us vs. them?”  And why, isn’t anything being done about it?

We the People, have no one to blame but ourselves.

Did you know that you can help elect the people who make the big decisions at a local, state, and national level? You did? Then why aren’t you doing anything about it?  In 2014, just 29.6 percent of elibible voters in Utah cast a ballot, a record low for the state.  Out of those who do vote, how many do so because they know the issues? Or is it because they personally know the candidate, heard an ad for them, align with the same religion, or just wanted a sticker?

We get mad at the leaders making decisions for us, but we put them there in the first place and aren’t doing anything to get them out.  Perhaps out of fear that Utah voters are actually becoming educated and involved, the Utah Senate is currently calling on Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment – so that state senators can again select U.S. senators.  This means that rather than being elected by the voice of the people, the Senate would become an exclusive club.  Don’t worry about it though, it’s a lot easier to remain unaware of what’s going on than to get involved.  Ignorance is bliss. (Read article here)

Donald Trump perhaps said it best after he won the Nevada caucus on February 23: “I love the poorly educated.”  It may not be realistic to expect everyone to be well-informed on every political aspect, but having an understanding of current issues that affect us, along with an active voice, is critical to determining the future of our nation.  Too many leaders today thrive upon the apathy and those who are uneducated politically to push their agendas and campaigns.  The few who do take up an active role have difficulty rallying the majority needed to make significant change.

The field of politics and elections has shifted from civil debates proposing deep and thoughtful policy responses, to constant mudslinging, insults, and exposing others weaknesses while pushing their own strengths.  This current state is nothing new to politics, but now it seems that all of these actions take precedence over providing solutions for our problems.

What makes Donald Trump an effective candidate for the Republican nomination is his ability to fuel the fire the general public has towards the government.  He tells people what they want to hear without providing concrete resolutions.  What’s interesting is that people were upset with Mitt Romney four years ago for being a wealthy businessman who told things as they were (47%) and provided realistic solutions.  Donald Trump is an even wealthier businessman who chooses to sympathize with his supporters by throwing blame at the establishment and creating larger-than-life expectations.  All while being crass, rude, insulting, and arrogant – qualities not commonly associated with the POTUS.

In any business, SMART goals are encouraged (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).  For an effective goal to be met, these guidelines should be met.  If Trump supporters actually thought hard about the promises being made to them, they would see that those ideas are flawed and seemingly unrealistic.

A few examples

  • Building a giant wall along the border PAID FOR by Mexico – If the US hasn’t been able to provide the funds for a wall, then where would Mexico come up with the money? The former Mexican President recently stated that “I’m not going to pay for that f—— wall.”
  • Deporting all immigrants – You may not stop to think that perhaps the house you live in, the burger you were served, your gas attendant, may have all been provided by an immigrant workforce. If 12 million immigrants are deported, not only is a giant portion of our nation’s workforce depleted, but hundreds of thousands of families will be torn apart.
  • Healthcare – Trump plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act his first day in office. If he does, that leaves insurance companies free to drop their “expensive” customers, leaving perhaps millions of people without access to healthcare.  He has not provided a resolute alternative in its place.
  • Ban Muslims from entering the US – Not only disregarding a right guaranteed by the first amendment, but creating nearly 1.6 billion enemies across the world.

By fanning the public’s anger by bringing up these hot topics, Donald Trump continues to gain supporters, no matter how crass, insulting, or how many countries he offends in the process. How can he expect to be leader of the free world if he has offended every other nation in the process?

Donald Trump is not the only person monopolizing the uninformed voters.

A lot has been said of my own generation, the millennials who are the future leaders of this nation.  The reputation we have gained as lazy, entitled children is embarrassing and the topic has been so thoroughly discussed that to further press the matter would be beating a dead horse.  So I’ll beat it a bit more.

What has seemed to stick with our generation is that if you make a big enough fuss about something, it will be fixed.  Riots, protests, and excessive sharing via social media are platforms on which to accomplish these demands.  Much of this demographic is currently “feeling the BERN,” and throwing support to Bernie Sanders socialistic ideas of a political revolution.

While Bernie Sanders may have some compelling ideas, many would require extreme and radical changes within the government, unlikely to gain support from those currently in congress.  Many people agree with the ideas he presents, but may not seriously consider how they are to be met.  The following clip shows a student lobbying for free education, but struggling to explain how it would be funded – further emphasizing the importance of understanding the issues.

Building off the ideas presented in the clip and concepts of socialism, the idea of distributing wealth and taxing the rich obliterates the longstanding ethos of the American Dream.  The American Dream used to denote that success can be achieved through hard work.  With such a social divide today, this is not necessarily the case and seems to be the exception.  But in such cases, what would drive someone to be successful in a socialist economy if you do not get to reap all the fruits of your labor.  The American Dream then becomes the ability to achieve mediocrity to avoid high tax rates.

Millennials don’t seem to comprehend the full meaning of socialism now, as students and early careerists and view the 1% as the bad guys.  Only once their own income rises and begin to pay more taxes will they become more averse to government social spending.  Why So Many Millenials are Socialists from The Federalist website does a great job at showing millennials stating what they want, but not knowing why they want it or how it is going to happen.

Of course, there are problems and concerns with other candidates that people don’t know about: Why has Marco Rubio never accomplished anything in the Senate? Why is Ben Carson still running? Who is John Kasich? And why does Ted Cruz have such a remarkably forgettable face? But the two previous candidates provide the most extreme examples to draw from.

Now, more than any other time is when our nation is in its greatest need of inspired and thoughtful leadership.  But at no other time besides the civil war have we been more divided as a nation.  Stop relying on the candidates to bully you into a vote and get to know who they are and what they stand for.  We can’t be responsible for the occasional (or frequent) immoral and unjust decisions our leaders make, but we can be responsible for ensuring they never get another shot at a term in office.

There may still be people who believe in the Constitution and fight to uphold it.  So often, their voices are drowned out by the overwhelmingly negative messages portrayed through the media.  It’s time for every citizen to rise up and return America to what it once was (I refuse to use the phrase “Make America Great Again” to avoid and unintentional endorsement).

For anyone interested in knowing what the Constitution says, you can read it here.