Why are people so politically naive? Let’s take a look at the make up of America’s decision making population.
In comparison to other developed country we spend more money on education than any other nation on a per capita basis, $4,271.00 but we rank far down the list when compared to other nations in terms of outcome. For example, Finland and South Korea which are at the top of the lists spend $1,704.00 and $470.00 respectively on a per capita basis.
The result of our expensive education systems in the US are sketchy at best when ranked with other developed countries, the US is ranked 15th in reading literacy, 19th for math comprehension and 14th for science and technology literacy. Again, Finland, Korea and Japan beat us hands down.
Only 31% of America’s 12th graders meet the National Assessment of Education Progress for reading proficiency. Only 40% of high school graduates meet the requirements that employers seek. And these statistics are for middle class graduates, low income, African American and Hispanic grads are way below these low levels in reading proficiency.
Why is reading proficiency so important? Well think about the last Voter’s Guide you received prior to the election. The legislators who proposed all those nasty propositions make them so vague and nebulous that it takes a PhD in linguistics to understand what’s really being proposed by your representatives. The political ads that scream out prior to each election are rife with blatant lies, statements that lead viewers down some back alley of confusion, and direct statements from the politicians running for office are many times hard to decipher because they are filled with so many untruths.
The Nielsen Co.’s “Three Screen Report” — referring to televisions, computers and cellphones — for the fourth quarter said the average American now watches more than 151 hours of TV a month. That’s about five hours a day and an all-time high, up 3.6% from the 145 or so hours Americans reportedly watched in the same period last year. Another report indicated that Americans spend less than 1 hour a day reading. Americans that can’t read watch TV where they can easily be swayed by commercial and political advertisements. Can’t really blame them; they don’t know any better. Politicians target these people and count on them to vote exactly as they want them to.
Speaking of voting, according to TheNation.com only 63.9% of eligible voters are registered to vote and only 54.7% of the registered voters actually vote.
Let’s pull all this together, if you were a rich political person, like Sarah Palin, and wanted to get political control of a special office in the near future, what would you do to achieve your goal? Well you’d hire a successful public relations firm to create statements on why you are the person to attain this post. You’d also have this PR firm create speeches for you filled with targeted statements to preach at various speech stump ocassions. The speeches would be primarily aimed at raising money for your costly campaign, of course. Now, these expensive PR statements wouldn’t necessarily be truthful, in fact, creating false and cloudy statements to fool your potential consituents would work better than the truth.
Because so many Americans can’t read or comprehend the written word, false statements from politicians seem factual. Then with only 54% of registered voters, which if you’d read right, means that only 33% of the people vote. Only a small number of the population controls who get voted in in American politics. Now that’s something you can read more about, isn’t it?
All this stuff seems kind of obvious. The real reason why Americans are so politcally naïve is that we never learn our lessons from the past. There’s an entire population of Americans who think that Reagan was a great President and that George W. Bush acted in the best interest of America. These people are politically naïve and can be easily fooled. Does Sarah know about these people?
“As long as I count the voters, what are you going to do about it?” William Marcy Tweed, Statement by the “Boss” of Tammany Hall, November 1871