Only ‘idiots’ neglect civil responsibility
What do you call one who doesn’t care about politics? An idiot, that’s what.
Although calling this group of people idiots is a bit harsh, the origin of the word confirms this definition. “Idiot” comes from “idiotes,” a term that the ancient Athenians used to denote a person who was indifferent to public affairs.
Apathy towards politics must have existed then for such a word to have existed, and it is certainly still a problem among teens and adults of the present day.
The voter turnout for the past few years reflects this disinterest. According to the United States Elections Project, 56.8 percent of eligible Americans voted in the last presidential election in 2008. In years when there isn’t a presidential election, the voter turnout is even lower. In 2010, only 37.8 percent of eligible Americans voted.
Considering that people have died in the name of freedom to protect their rights, including the right to vote, these statistics are sad. Compare America’s voter turnout in 2010 with Iraq’s, where 62 percent of Iraqi citizens voted in the general election. Unlike in America, these people risked their lives to vote. Multiple attacks on voters in Iraq killed a total of 38 people.
To the people who act as if they’re superior to political debates: do you care about anything larger than yourself? All worldwide issues are political issues, from human rights to poverty to research funding. It would be nice if it was possible to make an impact without any conflict, but changing the world always comes with a certain level of struggle so we better get used to it.
While the excuse of politics being too frustrating appears pacifistic on the surface, it’s really a cover-up for intellectual laziness, a failure to stand for something outside of oneself. Indeed, in ancient Athens, the term “idiotes” was synonymous with self-centeredness.
Again, this self-centered apathy can be seen in the voting records. One of the biggest reasons people don’t vote, according to the 2008 Census Bureau voting survey, is that they’re too busy. Note that being too busy to do something can be synonymous with not caring enough to make the effort to do it.
The fact that Americans consider going to the voting booth to be just another thing to do is disturbing. People should think of all the places in the world where others cannot vote, or could be killed for their vote, and feel an overwhelming gratitude that they, as Americans, do not have to endure such oppression.
Most students in the class of 2012 will have the right to vote in this upcoming presidential election. For those who need a more selfish reason to care about politics, student loans have been a topic of much discussion in recent politics.
Bills like the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, which would forgive outstanding student loans for all Americans who have made payments equal to 10 percent of their discretionary income for 10 years, could greatly impact your financial future. It is your responsibility to be informed about them.
Finally, while it’s nice to vote, that vote means little if it is not an informed vote. Give thanks for your freedom by doing a little bit of research on each candidate so that you can pick the one you think is best suited to become president. And please, don’t be an idiot.
Scott Novak is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.