More Than Ever Before We Need An Educated Electorate

An educated electorate has to know more than just the issues, it has to understand its rivals' opinions.

Since Donald Trump’s primary win in Nevada, some people have been making fun of his statement that, “he loved the poorly educated.” People all over the country have been using to poke fun at what they believe is the usual Trump supporter or at the man himself for making that sort of foolish statement. One can hardly blame them. He did make himself an easy target for it.

However, I have been thinking about it a little bit since that day, and I have come to a conclusion that maybe we shouldn’t be making that much fun of these people, but more at ourselves for letting our country come to this state in the first place. A lot of people on the left and the right take perverse pleasure mocking the perceived stereotypes of their opponents.

Democrats imagine gun toting, tobacco chewing, white, racist hayseeds out in the sticks who can’t even spell correctly that always vote against their self-interests. Republicans, on the other hand, see self-entitled, vegan brats who believe the whole world revolves around their wants and concerns that have never had to work an entire day in their lives.

These foolish visions are planted and kept there by the media outlets we read, watch, and listen to everyday. Fox News, Clear Channel Radio, Huffington Post, and Salon are all slanted one way or the other and don’t often express actual unbiased views. There are exceptions of course, but as a whole you are going to see the preference after awhile. It isn’t new. We have always been a divided country in our politics, but that division is now reaching down into the social fabric and making serious changes.

The indoctrination of the media has made it so that the people refuse to listen to the other side. We sometimes don’t even view our political opponents as Americans anymore. Every action the other side takes is seen as unlawful and often treasonous, even if it is nothing at all. We have stopped listening to each other. And so the mock ups of what we see each other become firm constructs in our mind.

There is a serious problem with that. When you no longer see people for what they are, it is easy to manipulate your own people against them. It is easy to say what they are doing is wrong and get away with it. “This President has overstepped his bounds and used executive orders more than any other!” Or better yet you could say he is disobeying the laws and we should impeach him.

That would certainly rile up your supporters, especially if you’ve already spent a good part of your time telling them that he shouldn’t be President because he was born outside the country. Then that man would be an unlawful President. At that point you should be doing everything in your power to remove that man, shouldn’t you?

You see, there is a problem when you force your people to view the opponents as not being like you to such a degree. They can’t understand why you would allow something so painfully wrong to continue if it violates the laws of the land. If everything he has done in office has also been unlawful, since he was an unlawful office holder, then you as the rightful upholders of the law should immediately bring the country to right. Since you aren’t doing that, then you are perpetuating the crime.

Your people will only take that for so long, and this primary season is proof of that. However, we now face the culmination of that stupidity. You see the constant division pushed by both sides has created an electorate that won’t see either side fully, but the Republicans are currently to the fullest extreme. Well, those who have completely swallowed the lines that were fed to them over the last seven years.

Those people don’t care who is running, so long as it isn’t someone they perceive as part of the Washington liars club. Why do you think that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are doing so well, and why so many outsiders have done so well the entire time? They want anyone other than the standard politician to take over in Washington. I think they know that every politician is going to lie to them, but they hate the people who have been lying to them for the last seven years so much that they are demanding a changing of the guard, and this is how they are showing it.

Despite what all the pundits and liberals like to think, these rural voters aren’t so much poorly educated, as less educated about how each side really sees the issues. Like a lot of hardcore Democrats or leftists, they don’t take the time to read the other side’s literature and try to understand how they view an issue. They get their opinions about an issue from the echo chamber. Rush Limbaugh, Megyn Kelley, and Sean Hannity tell them everything they need to know about how the Democrats view an issue.

This is why I say we need to have a more educated electorate. It may be an impossible dream, but it needs to be done. Each side needs to stop viewing each other as some inane stereotypical composite from comics or movies. I live out in the sticks, look more like those Republican stereotypes, but think like a leftist in most ways. Stereotypes are stupid, plain and simple, and ruin a lot of what we have to offer to each other. If we truly understood each other and how we thought about the issues so many of these stereotypes would vanish, and some people on each side would switch parties.

As long as we continue to view each other as these dehumanizing fixtures we will refuse to work together to move forward. As the country stagnates and one side loses more and more power, they will begin to become desperate. At that point, if we still do not see each other as anything other than constructs, we will not talk. We will fight.

Poor Richard Jr. is a college graduate with two degrees and more than thirty years writing experience who lives in the middle of somewhere, America. Inspired by some of the ideals and principles of the founding fathers, he wants to rejuvenate the country and bring about a more modern and equal society.
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