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"THE CHALLENGE OF OVERCOMING IGNORANCE"

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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-29-10 02:46 PM
Original message
"THE CHALLENGE OF OVERCOMING IGNORANCE"
".... In a democracy, the system breaks down and produces counter-productive results when those in charge -- the voters -- are uninformed. And the fact is, a whole lot of Americans are deeply confused about the facts.

The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past four quarters.

Most voters don't believe it.

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won't be recovered.

Public perceptions aren't even close to reality -- by a 52% to 19% margin, for example, likely voters think their federal tax burden has gone up over the last couple of years, even though it hasn't. Indeed, Democrats approved one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in American history, and the public has no idea that it even happened.

The same is true of the strength of the economy in general -- the economy stopped shrinking and started growing more than a year ago, but 61% of respondents in this poll said the economy continued to shrink in 2010, even though it hasn't.

In general, I've long considered one of President Obama's better qualities is his reluctance to talk down to voters. But it's possible his assumptions about maturity and the public discourse are simply too generous -- leaders can't assume the electorate has the wisdom to ignore nonsense when the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

Worse, this rewards Republicans, not just at the ballot box, but for lying uncontrollably for nearly two years. GOP leaders no doubt see polls like this and realize that the more nonsense they pump into the national discourse, the more anxiety-ridden Americans will believe things that aren't true.


I'll gladly leave it to others to explain how one overcomes such systemic ignorance, because I honestly don't have the foggiest idea. It's one thing for policymakers to adopt policies that make things better; it's something else for much of the public to simply ignore those policies and reject reality altogether.

To be sure, folks are busy. They have jobs and families, and it's not easy keeping up on the details of current events. I don't expect the typical middle-class household, struggling with bills and worried about the future, to start reading CBO reports in their spare time.

But it's worth realizing that uninformed voters make unwise decisions. The public has enormous responsibilities in our political system, and right now, far too many aren't prepared to act on those responsibilities in an effective way.

Ignorance spreads like a cancer, and right about now, it's making our body politic pretty sick.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/20...

Yes, the Ignorance is like a cancer on America and those spreading it are a highly infectious disease.
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nofurylike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-29-10 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&spirit-R YES!! what a challenge it IS!!! thank you for
posting this excellent piece by Benen, as you so often do, Cha!


peace and solidarity!

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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-29-10 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Steve Benen gets out there
every single day and lets us know the good news and the bad about what's happening in our country, politically speaking..and doesn't that just take care of about everything in our lives? The air we breathe and the food we eat..what's more important?

Peace & Solidarity to you, nofurylike~ :hi:
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nofurylike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-29-10 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. it is entirely thanks to you, Cha, that i ever got to know of Steve
Benen, and i can not begin to tell you how much, and how often his work has held me together. as have you and your continual contributions to, your enlightenment of, this community.

i love this: "and doesn't that just take care of about everything in our lives? The air we breathe and the food we eat..what's more important?"

absolutely! "the personal is the political"! we ARE LIVING that, more than ever!! it all matters beyond words.

which is why i feel such gratitude ...

thank you, Cha, so very much.

:hi:


Peace and Solidarity, always!!
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-30-10 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. It's good to read posts like
these from those who see the big picture.. when ignorance knows no bounds.

:loveya: :hi:

I'd like to thank babylonsister for making me aware of Steve Benen many moons ago~ :loveya: :hi:
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nofurylike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-30-10 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. thank you, Cha! and thanks to babylonsister! reading Steve
Benen, and everyone's posts at the BOG, every day, i have definitely found out how good it is to read posts from those who see the big picture - life saving, in fact!!

ALL :yourock: !!!


:hi:

:loveya:



peace and solidarity, always!

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Born_A_Truman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-30-10 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
4. The GOP knows if you repeat a lie often enough ...
some people will believe it. Obama would need a 24/7 war room to respond to the BS that has been spewed against him these past few years.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-30-10 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. The rw and all blogwhores know
if they whine and harp enough the money will come from outraged suckers. :silly: :silly:
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jaxx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-31-10 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks for getting the message out there.
Ignorance can be cured.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-31-10 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. It can be cured but it's a deep and abiding
sickness coursing through the United States of America.

Of course, we do what we can..thank you for helping, jaxx!
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-31-10 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
9. I like the comment where Churchill is supposed to have said...
the best argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter.

Dunno if Churchill ever really said that, but it seems true pretty much everywhere.





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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-31-10 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Democracy would work fine in the US if the average person
weren't inundated with propaganda from the US corporatemediawhoredom.
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bobburgster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-02-10 05:42 AM
Response to Original message
12. Ignorance spreads like a cancer, and right about now, it's making our body politic pretty sick.
You sure hit the nail on the head with that statement.
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Born_A_Truman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-03-10 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
13. It boggles the mind that the voters turned to the party of NO
They voted against extending unemployment insurance, medical care for our first responders, and everything for the past two years, yet voters ignore all of that. I guess I shouldn't be shocked as these voters put Bush in office for 8 years.
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