To Be Informed or To Be Educated

The citizens of the United States are distracted by political campaign information. They are embroiled in heated debate over healthcare. They argue about getting rid of the immigrants who long to support our economic and social system when they should be concentrating focus on the dangerous criminals who are the real threat. Therefore, they are missing the warning signs of other problems on the horizon.  One such international problem can be found just across the southern border as Mexicans go to their polls.

It is doubtful the President or the experienced members of congress are distracted from the international problems. Looking outside of the US, one sees that the US is not the only nation struggling with a poor economy, immigration issues, international crime and terrorism. What kind of a future does the US face, if a majority the ‘experienced’ leaders in DC are replaced by a whole new crew of 1st timers? Especially if the only agenda they bring with them is on the US economy, and on the US healthcare, and on the US borders.

The origins of US immigration policies are found in the early 1900’s during the time when isolationism was still being valued as good US policy. Isolationist policies, however, did not prove effective in the early 1900’s, they simply made the US late-comers for two wars for which joining was unavoidable.  In 1942 the internment policy of rounding up anyone “suspicious” was beyond contemptible, but it was policy.  Fear and a tremendous feeling of suffering dictated US domestic and foreign policies in the first half of the 20th century.

However at the same time the US was closing its borders, there was a social push to help its poor and downtrodden citizens.  Labor laws, workers unions, Social Security and legislation similar to the National School Lunch Act, all played a role in post war successes.  Due to economic policies during WWII, employer based health insurance became widely offered as well.   It was determined that prosperity was much easier to achieve if the nation was healthy rather than unhealthy. There was a need for the government to act, and the power of big government began to replace the power of big business.

Now a hundred years later, immigration and health care issues are at the center of US politics again.  Citizens are beginning to fear “others” and focusing on national issues while avoiding international issues.

Progress has been made but fear, misinformation, and “money” backed political theater will not keep the progress moving forward.  Talk of the “good ol’ days” is just talk.  If you are blessed to know survivors of those days, ask them about epidemics, outhouses, food shortages and social inequality.  It is a human trait to reminisce of the ol’ days. Selective memory is common, some prefer focusing on the good and some on the bad.  The citizens of the United States need to evaluate the good and the bad, the effective and the ineffective.

It is sad that with easy access to so much information, so many are misinformed.  A random comment posted concerning an editorial on the Supreme Court Healthcare ruling claimed, “We are becoming like the USSR.”  Many would like to blame this misinformed opinion on a failing educational system, but that would be unfair.  That would be like saying Fox News, or CNN, or MSNBC are to blame for all the ignorance in society. To quote a common saying, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, on that same reasoning, “cable news doesn’t make ignorance, people choose ignorance”.

Ignorance is conquered when an individual seeks information, evaluates the information by comparing it to other information, and then forms an opinion. This is how an individual becomes educated.  This how parents should be teaching their children. This is what voters should be doing before casting a vote.  This is what politicians should encourage.

While some journalists still prescribe to providing information rather than opinion, it is not up to them to educate us.  It is up to the individual to become educated and not simply informed.

One thought on “To Be Informed or To Be Educated

  1. […] see also: Why Do We Go to War?, To Be Informed or To Be Educated, […]

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