Low Information Nation

by baldilocks

For some time now, I’ve struggled with the notion that commentary on specific and singular events of the day is futile and pointless. The outrages carried out by agents in the various levels of the American governmentpuzzle have been coming so rapidly that days in which no scandal is revealed seem boring. Or we are jumpy with anticipation for the new scandal, sure to be revealed the next day or the following one.

Over and over, I’ve tried to dispel this one-off event thinking and try to point to the pattern(s) displayed by these events. (There is always a pattern. Even chaos has a pattern.)

I once said that many people are unable to discern patterns. While that’s true, I think, however, that many who are actually able to do so are unwilling. It’s too scary to take the long view forward, especially when one senses that the future is bleaker than most imaginations can conjure. It’s a lot easier to deal with immediacy; with putting food on the table, paying the bills, nurturing the family and to keep one’s mind centered on those things alone.

There an epithet that has sprung up in the last few years: Low Information Voter, usually in reference to those who voted for Barack Obama in both elections. But such people are not the only ones who are failing to pay attention.

Really, it’s a lot easier to be the place of low information when you are still able to live in the manner you’ve always lived or close to it. But when something catastrophic happens, then what? How are you to know why and how you landed in the new place? And if someone is to blame how are you going to know the identity of that person/those persons? How are you going to know if that person is you? This is the minimum information needed to resolve a problem.

It never pays to ignore a problem even if you think that the problem is too big for you to unravel or if you are powerless to fix it.

Where we are in this nation is a result of ignoring severe problems over decades—well before any of us had heard of the present occupant of the White House. He is merely the result of our collective failure to pay attention to a pattern.

So I guess I’m saying that it’s time to wake up.

I’ve had my wake-up call. Don’t let yours be ruder than mine.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015. Follow her on Twitter.

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