I think I, and other bloggers, take for granted that the bulk of the American people not only are privy to all the factual information that is out there that the MSM refuses to expose them to, but actually takes a moment to look for it in other venues. But the reality is that is not true. I think a lot of the American people treat the news media in this country the way they treat the public education system … Let them do all the work. It’s their job. They tend to have a hands-off approach, flipping the remote for a few short moments to catch up on headlines, and then move on to the latest installment of a ‘non-real-life’ reality show.
Since the 2008 election cycle, the rise of the TEA Party and other movements, and the undeniable realities of the last 3 1/2 years, I think more people have found more important information and facts they willfully and lazily refused to open even one eye to in the 2008 campaign cycle, and mostly about Barack Obama. They will go to the voting booth so much more prepared now than they ever have since turning eighteen years old and smugly went to their first election as an “adult”. However, this many years later, many still choose not to understand who/what they are voting for. This is what is behind Ben Franklin’s stark response to a woman’s query…
The story goes that as Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a woman asked him, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”.
Mr. Franklin replied, “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.”
“If YOU can keep it”. The responsibility is on our shoulders to carry, sustain, and preserve this republic, just as much as it is our Military’s, and that means not blindly walking into the local voting booth and checking off random or feel good names and issues.
The desire for victory is what keeps presidential campaigns so vague. This is the path of least resistance, which is why every victorious challenger has run basically the same campaign for generations: decry the state of the nation, indict the incumbent party, praise American greatness, and connect their biography to that greatness. Full stop. Bold policy promises tend to be the exception, not the rule.
If anything, the Romney campaign has a greater incentive than ever to be cagey. Poll after poll shows that most Americans do not understand the terrible state of public finances, or the severe constraints on policymakers on both sides of the aisle. Any policy choice, moving either leftward or rightward, is going to accrue some “intolerable” cost in the short run, with the hope that it will pay dividends in the future. That is quite unlike the political economy of past generations, when the government was not stretched thin, and it is a substantial electoral dilemma because swing voters barely have a clue about the state of the public finances.
So, why should Romney dare get specific, and open himself up to demagoguery by Democratic hacks like Debbie Wasserman Schultz? It’s the same reason President Obama has submitted budget after budget to Congress based on economic fantasies of renewed economic growth. He does not want to admit that he is making controversial choices, as he knows full well that the GOP will nail him for it.
To be clear, I’m not castigating all voters for letting politicians get away with this. Far from it! In fact, if you’re reading this, then you almost certainly understand what the nature of our big problem is. Instead, it gets down to the fact that the least informed voters hold the most political power–the independent, swing voters. Roughly 80 percent of the vote is locked in to one party or the other, which is where you will find most of the well-informed citizens who get the big picture and support a party for solid reasons. However, the 20 percent in the middle are not well informed, do not have strong opinions, and oftentimes hold contradictory views. They determine the winners, so campaigns are all about appealing to them. This means few specific proposals and lots of happy talk about our glorious past.
A voter’s civic duty goes beyond just getting out of bed and driving to the polls on election day. Yes, voting is a right … and in a world where people are increasingly losing rights, it is a privilege to live in a nation that still values it as such. But with any right or privilege comes personal responsibility. Ours is to be as equipped with as much information as possible before casting a vote for anyone or anything. Your decision may not directly affect you immediately, but will eventually find its way to you through taxes, regulations … or the dissolving of your rights as you know them. Spend the next few months listening carefully, reading between the eloquent wording of stump speeches beaming from teleprompters, and carefully crafted and rehearsed debate answers geared as applause lines. The facts are out there on the internet. The candidates’ records are out there (well, those that haven’t been sealed from public view).
A few days ago Barack Obama flatly stated, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen”. Is this the mentality you want in charge? Do you understand what motivates this man’s belief in what he says, and why he attacks the people he attacks? No? So, what’s stopping you from finding out? The internet is still open to you … well, for now it is.