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CHERYL SEAL REPORTS: Best Antidote to Bush Reich: an Anti-Indifference Vaccine?

by Cheryl Seal Sunday, Aug. 24, 2003 at 7:49 PM

Due to their laziness and indifference, most Americans have failed to learn about any philosophical point of view but their own. And most don't even go that far (just try questioning the average citizen closely about the contents of the Constitution - even the Cliff Notes version!). Instead, there is the vague but firmly held "belief" that God likes us best. Based on what, it is hard to determine.

How did America get saddled with such a pathetic excuse for a leader (not to mention human being) as G.lobal W.reckingball Bush? Is it because we really ARE (as some fear) a nation of religious fanatics, rightwingnuts, warmongers, and jingoistic frothing-at-the-mouth flagwavers? Nope Nothing as dramatic or even as excusable as that (at least those 1 in 50 Americans who truly are fanatics have the dubious distinction of actually believing they are doing the right thing and doing it energetically). The sad reality is, we have become a nation of lazy, indifferent, consumers who can't be bothered to take even the basic steps to protect ourselves, let alone our nation.. Afterall, that might cut into our time at the mall or hours spent parked in front of the TV or computer gaming station.

Here is some "concrete evidence" of America's indifference and political sloth :

SAD FACTS: Read 'em and Weep!

* * * In the last presidential election, which had a higher-than-average voter turnout, only 51% of Americans eligible to vote carted their sorry butts to the polls. As a result, we have a dolt in the White House who received a "vote of confidence" from roughly 2.3 out of every 10 Americans. In local elections, the breakdown is sadder still - in Baltimore City, for example, the voter turnout for a local election is usually closer to 30% of all eligible voters -a stat that is alas, typical of most areas in the country.

* * * According to a speaker I caught on C-SPAN on Thursday (I did not, I fear, catch his name in the 10 minutes I was able to listen), when our Congressional representatives voted to pass the Patriot Acts I & II, only about FIVE PERCENT (5%) of them had actually read the legislation!! But, considering the average citizen's voting record, I guess you could say this was truly "representative government" in action.

* * * One mainstream poll conducted in 2002 revealed that only 38% of Americans could name the Vice President of the US. This being the level of "attention" paid the news, it is little wonder that a whopping 70% of Americans believed just before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein was closely connected to Al Queda. This proves that most of the "news" that actually IS digested comes from FOX/CNN/NBC soundbytes repeated frequently enough to brainwash the already semi-mindless.

* * * Repeated news articles, television reports, consumer guide articles, and police reports have shown - PROVEN, in fact - that SUVs are dangerous, more likely to roll over, cave in on impact, catch fire and otherwise kill you than a regular auto. Yet at the height of these warnings, what type of vehicle continued to be the best-selling in the U.S.? SUVs, of course.

* * * Repeated news warnings, Internet alerts, magazine articles, television shows, reports, and cautions by every librarian, teacher, boss, and concerned pal have hammered on the danger of computer viruses and the simple steps that can be taken to avoid them. Yet the SoBIG virus has spread like wildfire, say the computer antivirus experts, because there is such an incomprehensibly large number of Americans who will still eagerly open attachments from emails of unknown origin that say things like "wicked screensaver" or "a gift for you."

* * * Survey after survey has shown that way less than half of all Americans can tell you what the capitol of the next state is - let alone where Afghanistan or Iraq are found on a globe. It should be a national policy that, if we can't find a country on the map, then we shouldn't invade it. Hmmm - that would REALLY make the world safe from US aggression!

These facts speak volumes about the American mindset - or lack of said. If we are really serious about securing the nation from vague internal threats, then maybe the National Institutes of Health should work feverishly to develop an anti-indifference vaccine. The success of the scheme, of course, would rely on a mass-vaccination campaign targeting the most afflicted citizens. Who, of course, wouldn't show up for the shot.

Secondary "Syndrome": Moral Stupidity

Due to their laziness and indifference, most Americans have failed to learn about any philosophical point of view but their own. And most don't even go that far (just try questioning the average citizen closely about the contents of the Constitution - even the Cliff Notes version!). Instead, there is the vague but firmly held "belief" that God likes us best. Based on what, it is hard to determine. Unless it is how much cash one raises in boiler room scams in His name or how much news coverage one sucks in from making a grotesque display of their "Godliness." If these are the criteria, then Tom Delay and Pat Robertson must be eligible for sainthood.

The rabidly anti-gay, zealously pro-Iraq war Alabama Justice Roy Moore and his supporters have made a huge show of defending their "right" to display a stone image of the Ten Commandments inside a public place. Yet it seems to me the pro-invasion, pro-monument Moore and Co. have a harder time respecting those same commandments - "Thou Shalt Not Kill" & "Thou shalt not take unto thee any graven images" come readily to mind. Afterall, the stone monument Moore is placing before all else, including the Constitution, is an IMAGE of the Commandments. In any case, I have a sneaking feeling that God is probably more interested in whether the Commandments are kept, than WHERE they are kept. But then, that would require some effort.

Since America is so fond of invoking God, here's an old 12-step saying that seems appropriate. "God will help you but he won't put your pants on for you in the morning."

Amen.

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