End of Democracy: The Age of Ignorance
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 13:10
With all of the hoopla on Capitol Hill that focused on the Affordable Care Act, it is difficult to imagine an American citizen that doesn’t understand its tenets. Yet, Jimmy Kimmel exposed just how uninformed most Americans are when his camera crew hit the streets earlier this week to interview pedestrians on Hollywood Boulevard.
The crew members went around to people posing the question, ‘which do you support, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act?’
Of course, most of us know that Obamacare is a Republican-constructed term for the Affordable Care Act, intended to give it a negative connotation. And, if the population sampling of Kimmel’s video was at all accurate, its intentions played out.
Most people said that they disliked Obamacare, and preferred the Affordable Care Act instead. Which of course is ludicrous, as they are the same document. When the camera crew pressed the interviewees as to why they preferred one over the other, most of them hesitated momentarily before constructing a completely hollow and non-sensical answer made of political buzz words and jargon.
The stunt that Kimmel pulled is not unheard of. Other late night show hosts have done similar on-street interviews, including one that proved people liked the tenets of Obamacare, but said that they didn’t like Obamacare itself.
As Jon Stewart cleverly put it, they dislike it as a whole, but they like the parts that make it up – it’s like the opposite of a McNugget.
Though the issue seems comical on the surface, it points to a deeper problem in the American political landscape. The fact that politicians are able to sway the opinions of people by mis-representing facts is severely disturbing. This can be the gateway to the undermining of the democratic structure, because not only is the public under-informed, it has been deliberately misled by the very leaders it elected.
A scary thought, to be sure. Yet, we don’t perceive this as being an issue in most cases, because the attempts to mislead the public are very subtle. In fact, most people who follow politics or even news and current events with any regularity are not at all easy to mislead on these types of topics.
As the video that Jimmy Kimmel produced shows us, people who want to appear intelligent speak up, but they don’t actually have the knowledge to back up their opinions and they are the easiest to mislead. These people are led astray as lambs to the slaughter, with not a care or notion of what is actually going on. They think that they are informed because they recognize key political buzz-words, but their knowledge of actual issues is completely hollow.
Again, a scary thought. What kind of country will we become if the majority of our citizens are people like this who do not care enough to research their voting choices, but are too prideful to admit they don’t know anything?
Nathan is a senior majoring in landscape architecture. Follow him on twitter @nwstottler.