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If American's are disappointed with the actions of their government why are we so politically apathetic?

The U.S. is arguably the one of the most free nations in the world yet only about half of the U.S. votes. This is a curious statistic to one who considers that the civic processes of the U.S. are supposed to be contingent "for the people, by the people." We have the power to affect positive change... so why don't we? We elect our Congressional representation and we are adequately able to monitor their votes. We are able to assemble and speak freely our mind concerning policy. So why so much stagnation on Capitol Hill? And why blame anyone but ourselves?


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  • Jan 3 2012: I'll give you one reason of many that I am apathetic. In any election at any level what could I, or any voter, have done to prevent SOPA, PIP, or (going back further) the PATRIOT act? Vote for the candidate that wasn't going to follow the lobbying? Which one is that?

    Here's another. Let's assume that during the last presidential election I had hope for a better future and was certain that the Republican candidate would be just as lousy as his predecessor. At that time should I have voted for the man pictured here http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/02/ndaa-historic-assault-american-liberty ?

    I guess what I'm saying is that I don't see a third option, when it comes to politics I feel like I can choose either apathy or rage, so I take the dramatically healthier option.
    • Jan 3 2012: To be frank, its exactly that kind of attitude that has created the atmosphere of lacking control on the part of the constituency. The availability of societal means by which free thinking citizens may participate is seemingly endless. In short, simply saying you can't does nothing to answer the question posed. I understand your point and maybe this is a Utopian thought but if enough people thought they could and endeavored to do just that, its not outside of the realm of possibility that there would be a sense of transparency, accountability, and a sense that we're no longer picking the lesser of two evils but are picking a true people's candidate.
      • Jan 3 2012: That's true, I didn't directly address the question posed, I merely alluded to it, so let me be clear. I'm apathetic because we're in a representative-based system where 100% of the people on the ballot are lying about one thing or another, but they're doing it so well that I the voter cannot tell which parts are lies. In short, I can't rely on my own ability to evaluate candidates a priori, so how can I responsibly vote?
        • Jan 3 2012: My football coach in high school used to have this saying. "The proof is in the pudding." Somewhat elementary but stay with me a sec. Politicians are famous for a lot of talk about the issues. The unique thing about reality is that there are results for our actions and the same is true for them. Legislation has consequence and absolutely reflects any divergence any given elected official would have from his initial platform that he was elected based upon. Let me introduce you to a site I found that can show you exactly what I'm talking about. Opencongress.com- Have a look. A lot of the material you mentioned in the former post is available along with roll call votes for every representative in both the House and the Senate. My contention is simply. If we do what we have always done we'll get what we have always got. If we strive for excellence and integrity and accountability and transparency now our children wont be having the same discussion one day. If we don't hold them accountable who will?
    • Jan 3 2012: There is someting you can do - contact your representatives and politicians that you voted for and express your approval or disapproval with how they voted.

      Also ask politicians to enact a law that minimizes influence of lobbies.

      If more people put pressure on politicians and politicians will know that people do care they will be more careful trying to please only lobbiests?
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      Jan 6 2012: Take seven minutes and watch Dave Meslin's TED talk titled "The Antidote to Apathy". See if you find some aces you can keep.
      • Jan 6 2012: Done, that was a much much better talk than I was expecting given the context of the recommendation, thanks for sharing it! The one thing I would add to what Meslin was saying is what I was saying above about having no faith in my ability to evaluate candidates, I think that's another huge barrier.

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