In the midst of any election year tempers get raised and hard feeling are adopted. However, another peculiar thing also happens. In many instances never before noticed events and issues get thrust into the public spotlight. But before you do anything regarding a newfound problem, you should ask yourself a number of questions. Why am I just now hearing about this issue? Am I properly informed regarding this issue? How does this issue affect me? What should I do about this issue?
There are a lot of discussions taking place at the dinner tables and water coolers of America concerning news topics during election years. Those involved are usually talking about the “next big issue” facing America. During election years there almost always seems to be some new major problem gripping the American public. The question we should ask ourselves is “why now?”
- Coincidence – The biggest argument for why these become prevalent during election years is coincidence. Many people believe these problems already existed and just finally gained the attention they deserved. They argue that there is no specific correlation and the timing of the issue and the election are mere coincidence.
- Division – Another argument regarding the suddenness of the events is to provide a topic for division of the parties and candidates. Addressing a major issue gives candidates the opportunity to showcase their opinions on the matter. And as a result of their opinions we can try to decide who we agree with more and thus who we will vote for.
- Smokescreen – A third semi-popular argument is that the introduction of the issue and subsequent attention creates a smokescreen effect to other issues. Proponents of this argument believe the introduction of the issue to almost be a conspiracy against the American public. They believe the candidates create issues where none had previously existed to draw attention away from other important issues they do not want to address. The idea is that if they create an issue large enough and important enough then the country will be divided in their ideas and spend their time focusing on the issue instead of other important things happening in Washington affecting America.
Should We Do Anything?
Whenever you are informed of an issue you must first decide it needs to be addressed. This decision will rely heavily on what you believe to be the reason why it surfaced. If you decide that the reason it has surfaced is because of either division or smokescreen then you probably should not do anything about it. However, if you believe the surfacing of the issue is a coincidence then you may decide to take action.
Before taking action you must first understand how you are being influenced. Influence regarding an issue is done though media. Media is everything from newspapers to televisions to social media and even blogs like this one. The message in your media consumption is more often than not skewed in a particular direction. This skewing of information could result in you only understanding the issue from one vantage point, probably one you already agree with. The trick is to try to find media that illustrates both sides so you can get a clearer picture of the issue. Receiving information from both sides will allow you to make the most informed decision. This will not necessarily cause you to go against previous opinions but will at least help you better understand what you are advocating.
What should we do?
Action should be taken only after you are informed about the issue. After you have made a decision about the origination and the media delivery regarding the issue.
Now that you are informed and ready to take action there are a few ways you can proceed. The base of any action only has two options, do something or not do anything. Some would argue that not doing anything and not addressing the issue is in fact doing nothing but I would disagree. To not do anything is to make the conscious decision that no action needs to be taken. I am not going to go into the multitude of ways you can advocate for an issue but will focus more on the decision as whether to act or not.
This Is Where It Gets Good!
When making the decision to act or not you must first understand a fundamental base of our democratic system. The component I am referring to is “governing for the masses.” Simply put, “governing for the masses” is the idea that we can only take action on issues that affect the majority of citizens or can only make decisions which provide benefit to the majority of citizens. This is a concept which was an integral part in the creation of our democracy. Our government was not developed to oblige every small interest group which developed. Our forefathers understood, as we should, that there is no possible way to please everyone at every moment. As a result they decided we should make decisions based on majority opinion. Both houses of Congress are built on the grounds of majority opinion. Without majority opinion we would not be able to function as a nation.
Unfortunately, the concept of majority opinion has been attempted to be swept under the rug by individuals groups trying to push their own agendas and special interests. Many groups and activists believe that because we are a free nation that everyone should be allowed to do as they please. However, I argue the point that a nation with that philosophy cannot exist as a nation. I believe we are a free nation because the majority of American citizens decide we are a free nation; i.e. majority decision. This is not to completely discredit all special interest groups or the issues that arise. If any issue gains majority opinion then we, as a nation, should take action and make a decision reflecting that majority opinion.
This is not an attempt to discourage you from engaging in issues but rather to encourage you to become informed and make informed decisions. You should make an informed decision about whether an issue should be addressed, whether it reflects or should reflect the majority opinion, and whether or not you should take action.
The last point I would like to make is that this country is not only ours but it is also the legacy we leave our children. We should always try to leave it in a better condition than we received it, for the sake of our children.
This Country Is Ours, Let’s Do Right By It.