Monday, September 24, 2012

Voters: Ignorant, Not Stupid

The commentary below was sent to me, by my good friend Dennis Buchholtz. It makes a very important point for us to consider as the November election approaches. The problem is not that too many Americans are too stupid to know what is going on in our country, but rather, it is that too many Americans are uninformed. It is our mandate over the remaining 40 days to educate and inform our friends, neighbors, and co-workers about the truth. Time is running out...

 At Dawn We Sleep
The title of this commentary is paraphrased from Gordon Prange’s 1981 book At Dawn We Slept. Prange’s book was a remarkably detailed account of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and describes how, despite the many signs that the attack was imminent, they were ignored.

Near the outset of the conflict in Vietnam, I read the results of a detailed survey about the typical Vietnamese citizen. Approximately twenty-five percent of those living in Saigon knew the name of their own country . . . and less than ten percent had ever heard of the United States. In the rural areas, the results were much lower. There the people were living a “hand-to-mouth” existence and allegiance could easily be bought for a bowl of warm rice to feed their starving families.

The rate of Vietnamese ignorance and illiteracy astounded many Americans. But one knowledgeable sociologist upset his peers when he said, to a lesser degree, the same conceptual model might easily apply to the United States.

Some forty three years later I was reminded of that when one radio commentator conducted some man-on-the-street interviews asking people what they thought about the upcoming presidential election. He posed the questions, “ Do you intend to vote in the election?” And most said, “Absolutely!” And then he asked them, “What do you think of Barack Obama’s vice-presidential running mate, Sarah Palin?” And an astounding number of them replied that she was a great choice. They clearly had no awareness of the candidates or their running mates, nor their own obvious ignorance pertaining to the upcoming election.

Last week a Fox News commentator asked a political strategist how it was possible for so many Americans to actually like Barack Obama in lieu of his overwhelming failures as president. So many were unemployed. The national debt was skyrocketing. Obama was actually encouraging the Muslim hostilities in the Middle East. And he has already announced plans in 2013 to drastically reduce the size of our military forces, significantly weakening our ability to respond to global hostilities or even defend our own nation. And the political strategist’s answer was noteworthy. She said that a very high percentage of Americans were totally unaware of the current situation, both here in the United States and also around the world.

The ignorance of the Vietnamese people fifty some years ago was greatly attributable to an economy of scarcity. And paradoxically, the ignorance of so many Americans is due to a comparative economy of abundance and the fact that so many of them:
• Never watch television newscasts
• Never read newspapers, periodicals, or books
• Are instead, preoccupied with smart phones for texting, e-mails, and other distractions

She also said the resultant rate of illiteracy is disturbingly high amongst a high percentage of American citizens...particularly the younger voters. So, in fact, Obama remains “likeable” because too many Americans are totally unaware of his failures or the current state of affairs in the United States. The obvious question then is...How can they be made aware before the November election?

Obama couldn’t be happier. There are only forty-some days left. How do you wake up so many Americans from their astounding stupor?

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