|← Effectiveness of Liberal Social Reforms||Two-Party System in U.S. Politics →|
The President Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, foresaw the imminent threat of the voter ignorance and warned the nation in advance by stating that, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, …it expects what never was and never will be” (“Quilligrapher”). It was never stated with the emphasis from many quarters that America would survive all forms and manner of challenges. Indeed, the nation could have been reconstructed due to a Global Financial meltdown process with the Economic Stimulus Packages; terrorists threats enabled with more trained armed forces and improved the equipment or paid the huge amounts of increasing debts. However, this great nation could have not survived the time bomb from the illiterate electorate (Somin 1).
A documentary short-film presented on the YouTube with many others has been an undeniable pointer at this shameful fact. The basic information on the matters, for example, on the number of positions in the U.S. senate was found to be unknown at the threatening sizes. While some people came close to the answer that this was 50 seats with the two senators per each state, some of the respondents were so ignorant to say that this was 7 or 12. Apart from the political matters, some aspects of the national importance such as the Supreme Court acts on abortion had the completely hilarious responses. When one respondent was asked what “Roe v. Wade’ meant, he replied that this was something related to the black and white people. This ignorance can be summarized in the statement that if the ignorance was so like this, then the U.S. public could be supposed to be living in the state of the political nirvana.
The informed electorate is a prerequisite of any democratic society because it can make the decisions basing on the rational mind. The democracy cannot survive the attack of ignorant voters; firstly, this should be remembered that the public cannot form a uniform consensus; therefore, the government cannot articulate the needs of its population and respond to them accordingly. On this basis, democracy is fundamentally crippled and is considered as ineffective. Another dangerous aspect of the voters’ ignorance is their ability to prepare the way for the mass manipulation. All errors made intentionally due to the policy need an ignorant electorate to pass or remain unnoticed (“Quilligrapher”).
The documentation reveals that the public lacked the knowledge of knowing the names of the key office holders such as a Vice President. According to the survey research made by the University of Michigan, three fundamental knowledge issues had been identified. The knowledge issues are vital for voters to make some meaningful decisions and hold the policy makers responsible. This is that the voters must be aware of the issues’ existence; they must take the informed position concerning it and must have the knowledge of the position taken by the opposing camps. The misinformed public is devoid of these basic requirements, while the respondents were aware of the term ‘Roe v. Wade’. They had no grasps of the meaning though, and this prompted not to take the position of this. Other voters interviewed were not aware of such personality as Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden; in such kind of ignorance, the democracy cannot have the positive consequence on any society. The inability to recognize your representatives mean that one cannot hold them accountable for the positions are undertaken concerning the key issues affecting them (Howard 1).
Information is multifaceted; and the other glaring aspect of the electorate ignorance has to do with the same mass media that had exposed this ignorance. In the 21st century, the mass media is undeniably being a very critical aspect of the information dissemination; though the recent studies have proved that the media has contributed enormously into propagating ignorance among voters. The cable news aired across the nation and has misinterpreted some facts; it took the opposing positions in a partisan manner and sometimes deliberately concealed the crucial information. More prominent though there was the propagation of lies prompted by the stakes in politics. A recent study has shown that the consumers of Fox News, among other channels, have been misled and have been fed with lies. It should be noted that any voter could not make an appropriate decision based on the inaccurate information and lies; this threatens the democracy and shakes its fundamentals. The audience of the MSNBC and NPR had also been misinformed on the basic matters by the research provided by Maryland University (Howard 1).
In the conclusion, the democracy cannot escape the threat caused by the uninformed electorate, until such issue related to the proper information has been addressed. Additionally, it is clear that the information is a parent nurturing children with the democratic spirit by keeping them on check and correcting their errors. However, with such citizens being acutely ignorant and purposefully misled, the voter ignorance will continue to grasp its roots, while the democracy will continue to wobble until falling completely (Somin 1).