There couldn’t be a more appropriate day to use a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. — Well, yesterday would have been a MORE appropriate day, but I digress. I have recently found myself falling into a state where I am happy to be ignorant about politics and world events. It seems that the news and everything going on in the world are just so depressing that I feel it is better not to know. However, after reading this MLK quote, I have to admit that I feel guilty. Though I always vote, and try to do some research so I can go into the voting booth and make an educated decision, I definitely do not feel that it is enough. There are always going to be bad things that happen in the world and ignorance won’t change that. How can we help make a difference if we are unaware of what needs changing? A little research before voting isn’t really giving you the whole picture, and you don’t have time to form your own opinion. You are mostly relying on other “smart” people to tell you how to think. One of my professors in college would start every class with a quick discussion about some of the top stories in the news. At first I thought it was a complete waste of time, but as the semester went, I realized that I was able to participate in a lot more discussions that people around me where having. I had knowledge! And I wasn’t just listening to people talk, I was joining in. Those few minutes at the beginning of class three days a week changed the way I interacted with the world around me. It is amazing what a little knowledge can do. Sadly, once that class got over, I didn’t keep up with it.
I think more and more people these days are happy with other people making decisions for them; they are happy being ignorant. The problem with this is that they end up complaining that things in this world are messed up. I think that if you don’t participate, you don’t have a right to complain. I understand that sometimes it feels that one vote isn’t going to change anything. Your one vote may not, but I guarantee that you are not the only person thinking that, and if all the people who thought that went out and voted instead of staying home, it would make a difference.
We encourage people to go out and vote, but do we ask these people if they even know what they are voting on/for? If those people aren’t educated voters then what really is the point? Merely voting doesn’t change ignorance. Sure, getting a “I Voted Today” sticker makes you feel good, but did you have any real understanding about what you were voting on? Along with getting people to go out and vote, we should also make sure they have sufficient education, information, and an awareness of what is taking place and what is at stake. As I stated at the beginning, I have found that I have been happy with being ignorant. I figured educating myself on the topic of the current vote was good enough, but smart people can still make stupid choices. If you aren’t willing to educate yourself then you shouldn’t go out and vote. It is one thing to not know what you should know, because that person can learn. But if you know that you are ignorant and you are okay with that – I think that is sad. And unfortunately, I have heard too many people say “I don’t wanna learn how to do that.” They rather stay ignorant and lay the blame on someone else.
So, I am working on staying up to date on the current news. Right now I am focusing on local news, but will soon start including world news. Gotta ease into it. I think that this will make me a more knowledgeable person, it will help me make better decisions, and maybe it will even seep into my writing.
(Was that really about justice? I think I got carried away with the quote and forgot what the prompt was. Oh well, I wrote – that is what really matters.)