Indifference Kills

This will be my only post about the election. Feel free to ignore it.

Clearly the constitutional election process itself is royaly screwed up. Twice in the past twenty years, the person who received the highest number of votes for President lost. The fact that we continue with this system just because it was written by the sainted founders is absurd to the highest power and needs to be fixed.

However, there is another major flaw reflected in this election, one that has become integrated into our society. And I feel that it is even more responsible for all the crap that is coming in the next four years. It’s one that can be fixed, although I fear, not easily.

This quote, courtesy of the always wise Audrey Watters (by Antonio Gramsci, who died in a Fascist Italian prison in the 30’s), explains that flaw very well.

I hate the indifferent. I believe that life means taking sides. One who is really alive, can be nothing if not citizen and partisan. Indifference is lethargy: it is parasitism, not life. Therefore, I hate the indifferent.

Indifference is the dead weight of history. Indifference plays an important role in history. It plays a passive role, but it does play a role. It is fatality; it is something that cannot be counted on; it is something that disrupts programmes, overturns the best made plans; it is that awful something that chokes intelligence. What happens, the evil that touches everyone, happens because the majority relinquish their will to it, allowing the enactment of laws that only a revolution can revoke, letting men rise to power who, later, only a mutiny can remove.

I am alive, partisan. And, therefore, I hate those who do not take sides; I hate the indifferent.

Hate won this election, on a technicality. But hate also received a massive amount of assistance from that dead weight of indifference.

We have a significant number of citizens who suffer from that lethargy Gransci described. The loudest and most obvious group are those who refuse to vote, except for a flawless candidate who perfectly fits their unique mold. They are the parasites who are too utopian to take sides.

But they are relatively few in number.

Far worse are the large numbers who vote while being steadfastly, sometimes proudly, indifferent to even the most basic issues that most directly impact them. They refuse to do the work of educating themselves (something those sainted founders believed would be a fundamental requirement for representative government) and then demanding candidates explain clearly how they will address those issues. For them simplistic proclamations are just fine, thank you. Never mind if they make sense or are even possible.

We can almost excuse people for not learning enough to make an informed decision since they are served by a news media (mostly television) that has become almost completely indifferent to filling the basic role of the journalist. Of offering their audience the necessary details about problems we face as a society and then providing the context they need to make an informed decision. Don’t give me the crap about the need for “balanced” coverage. That concept is a myth. It’s impossible. Every issue has multiple sides and they are never equally weighted. If all sides were equal, then doing nothing would be appropriate and we move on.

To CNN, NBC, and the rest1, information and truth are far less important to these hacks than ratings and clicks – chasing the almighty demo and the profits they bring. Twenty four hours of indifference.

The combination of an uninformed public and media companies who keep them that way give us elected officials who themselves are indifferent (or openly hostile) to the needs and voice of anyone not providing the cash they need to retain their jobs. With the result that Lincoln’s line in the Gettysburg Address about a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” becomes pretty much a joke.

Yes, hate is now in control here in the US. But the real evil in our political process is the indifference that allows it to happen.

Will that change? Can it change? I have to be optimistic because the alternative is not a positive society.


1. At least Fox is relatively up front with their biases. They don’t even pretend to do “journalism” most of the time.

3 thoughts on “Indifference Kills

  • November 13, 2016 at 6:36 pm
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    I’m glad you can still have some hope, Tim. I am completely disillusioned.
    Thanks for a great analysis, though. You are absolutely correct.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm
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    I just finished reading an advanced copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin book, Leadership – about four Presidents and their leadership styles. It was amazing looking back to see Lincoln’s leadership during such contentious times. HE cared more about our union than about himself.

    I think more than the press, the branch of government that has failed has been the legislative branch. Senator Jeff Flake pointed that out recently and I couldn’t agree more. They have failed to assert their independent role which has elevated the power of the President.

    But yes, the vast numbers of those who do not vote or pay attention shows how much we take our democracy for granted. When asked about this presidency and concerns, Doris Kearns Goodwin pointed out the other branch of government–the people. That many changes in society have come from people marching…from ending the Vietnam War to the Civil Rights movement to Women’as Suffrage. I think the people are “awake” right now, but getting active and using our “awakeness” matters, too.

    Thanks for this post.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm
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    Thanks, Carolyn. I hope you are right about more people now being awake, although I’m old enough to remember the awakening that came around the Vietnam War and Watergate. It didn’t really last beyond the 1976 presidential election. If we’re going to get any meaningful change this time around, we need to follow through. After electing good people to office, we need to stay on their case and make sure they stay good.

    Reply

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