Sunday, June 22, 2008

a very loose association

A few nights ago, Keith Olbermann hosted an expert who bemoaned the ignorance of the American electorate.

First: I do not challenge the basic premise - yes, the American electorate is largely uniformed. [last time I checked, a very large percentage believed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11!]

Second: I DO challenge the secondary premise - that once upon a time, in some long-lost Golden Age, the American electorate was informed.

I recall (perhaps incorrectly) that students of the American Revolution cite statistics to the effect that 25% of the populace supported the Revolution, 25% opposed it, and 50% didn't care one way or the other.

Most of us, most of the time, don't give a hoot about politics or policy. We are struggling to live our lives as best we can.

I am reminded of a Tom Lehrer commentary:
Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up!
Yes, I admit that this is a loose association.

Nevertheless - professional pundits, and those of us now immersed in politics and policy, need to recognize that most folks - our friends - are simply trying to live their lives as best they can!

Me? I believe that "living my life as best I can" at the moment requires that I pay attention to politics and policy... but I'm okay with the idea that many of my fellow citizens don't quite see things this way!

Have a nice day.

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