When political satire is as easy as sharing a clip from a cable news network, it’s hard to listen with a straight face to anything the government does … especially when every news report comes complete with a screaming anchor and a tiny infographic demonstrating how it will cause the end of the world.
How can we take politicians seriously when they throw mud at each other like schoolchildren during campaigns? Is the American public so stupid that we couldn’t possibly vote for a candidate based on their policies? Does the all-powerful, two-party system require so much whitewashing that no real issues can be discussed?
There’s enough of this happening to make you not care, to be content to just live your life without thinking about the people who “don’t really affect your day-to-day life anyway.” In today’s fear-mongering and hyperbole-ridden society there are many things that politicians want us to be afraid of, but what we should fear most is our own apathy. A surefire way to not solve the United States’ many problems is to ignore them.
It is in times like these that we need to care the most.
According to the most recent CIA world Factbook Ratings, the United States is 107th out of 136 countries on the Distribution of Family income, or Gini Index. These index numbers range from 0 to 100, with 0 representing the most evenly distributed wealth and 100 the most uneven, so the lower your ranking the better. The United States rating is 45, nearly twice that of the most evenly distributed country, Switzerland who has a ranking of 23.
We are spending billions of dollars on a war that many citizens forget about on a daily basis despite all the sacrifice that their armed servicemen make. We do not acknowledge the remains of racism and sexism in a productive manner. We are living in a country with an unspoken caste system that no one addresses.
We have to remember that, like it or not, we are all in this together. You must engage society. You matter, you have a voice. Use it.
In Washington, no one seems to be working toward solutions — just how to present him or herself in a way that gets them re-elected. Usually this involves selling themselves out to lobbyists, scaring the American people, or trying to prove that they are “real Americans” just like us.
Instead of trying to one-up each other in how well they relate to “Americans,” politicians should be listening, and we need to tell them how we feel. It’s our responsibility to let Washington know our position on the issues relevant to our generation.
It is easy to point out the hypocrisy in politics, but what we need to do is take responsibility and help work toward a solution. Don’t get beaten down by political games, and don’t give in to apathy. We have to stick up for what we believe in, because it is obvious that no one else will.