American Confusion vs. Common Sense

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In these days of great change, challenge, and tumult, it is understandable that Americans are confused by the dizzying amount of news and counter-news, legislation and counter-amendments, and the too often complete disconnect between what we expect of government and what we get from government. A great deal of this confusion stems from our incredible degree of dependence upon what others tell us about what to think and how to think about it.

Americans are told by the media and Democrats that circumstances are worsening in Iraq. President Bush and his cabinet tell us circumstances in Iraq are improving. We Americans are not able to go to Iraq to see and judge for ourselves which is true, or even if both are true. We are incredibly dependent upon government and the media to tell us what to think about what is going on in Iraq. Pres. Bush and the Republicans tell us to be hopeful about Iraq, to have faith in our troops and their leadership, and optimistic about the outcome there. Kerry and the Democrats tell us we should be skeptical about Iraq because there is no exit strategy or time table which will end the headlines about the body bags coming home from Iraq and the overfilling of our Veteran's hospitals with the physically and psychologically injured returning from Iraq. In essence both are telling us how to think about this issue.

Because of the tremendous flow of information coming to us from political parties, political organizations, politicians and government representatives, newspapers, TV news, internet news media and blogs everywhere, we are inundated with information. One would think such voluminous information would help us make decisions. But, that is not the case for millions of Americans who feel confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of whom to vote for, who to trust, and who will best look out for their interests. Millions of Americans don't trust their doctors, their insurance company, their auto mechanic, their politicians, or their government. There are ample examples of fact and history to justify that lack of trust.

But, to depend on others to say what we should think and how we should think about it, with regard to our vote, is the most dangerous and self-injurious act a voter can make. Confusion works to the advantage of those who seek your support. Confusion allows leaders and professionals to avoid responsibility, criticism, and accountability. Consequences for failure can be avoided through confusion, our confusion, the voters confusion. For if the electorate is confused, the electorate will not hold anyone responsible for failure, especially, if failure itself can be confused into success, partial success, partial failure, and a host of other rationalizations to avoid responsibility.

Voting is not rocket science. Voting was never intended to be an exercise in choice based upon expertise, college degrees, and think tanks guiding our decision. No. Democracy presumes that all that is required of voters is the capability to judge others as they would judge themselves, and that voters be capable of home-grown basic common sense. Democracy requires no more than this to succeed. Many folks want to blame voter IQ's and lack of education for failing to make informed choices. Hogwash. If a voter can raise a child, fulfill a loan contract, and meet an employer's expectations, that voter has demonstrated they have all that is required to make an intelligent decision at the polls. For any voter who can do these things in life, has demonstrated an abundance of common sense. And common sense is all that is required to make a valid voting decision.

If a voter wants to make a common sense decision on November 2, it is important that they tune out all of the sophistry, the sophisticated legalese debates others want to confuse us with. We voters know what the important issues are on November 2. And common sense will tell us if we listen to it, whom to vote for.

Our government has a budget for spending each month to stay up with its needs. Our government for the last 3 years has chosen to give tax cuts to folks, which is the same as John Doe choosing to take a lower paying job. This year, our government is spending more than 1/3 of a trillion dollars more than it is bringing in as income. What does common sense say to do? Does common sense say we should reduce our income when we are already 7.5 Trillion dollars in debt, by offering yet another round of tax cuts? Will John Doe do justice to his family by volunteering to take a lower paying job when he is not able to make ends meet as it is? Will our government do justice to the voters by volunteering to reduce its income and send our national debt to bankruptcy levels? This decision does not require a degree in economics. It only requires voters to make a common sense decision.

It is only when we listen to others who argue for dozens of different perspectives to attack or defend what is happening that it becomes confusing. Many on the right believe that we are winning the war on terrorism by fighting in Iraq, because now, the terrorists are in Iraq instead of New York. Others on the left argue there were no terrorists in Iraq. Look, common sense tells us al-Queda struck our homeland before, and they will try again. Common sense says that al-Queda will attack us where ever we are vulnerable. Are we vulnerable here at home? Yes. Then, it is a safe bet that there are al-Queda here in the U.S. and in neighboring countries working on their next attack. In fact, our State Department and intelligence agencies and Homeland Defense department all tell us this is true. So, does it make common sense to argue that we are safer by putting our troops in harm's way in Iraq and deepening our debt at the same time? Of course not.

There are a host of issues that the political parties and candidates would have us become more and more confused about. Don't let them. Issues like public education, social security, affordable health care, crime, taxes, deficits, debt, jobs, and a host of others will only be confusing if we allow others to confuse us about them. Take any of these issues and ask a common sense question. A common sense answer will follow.

Social Security. Should old people who have worked during their lives die poor and mistreated or have a safety net that keeps them from dying in alleys?

Should public education take a back seat to private education which only a small number of families can afford?

Should a thief stealing groceries serve more time in prison than Ken Lay or the head of Halliburton who steals millions from the tax payers?

Should America spend year after year after year more than it takes in through taxes?

Should American companies moving jobs overseas to pay lower wages receive tax breaks from our government or preferential treatment in government contracts?

Should families who work and pay taxes be entitled to affordable health insurance and health care in America?

9/11. Do we have the right to expect that our government which took hundreds of billions of our tax dollars for defense, protect us from attacks like happened on 9/11? Did our government protect us? Should those individuals who held office when 9/11 occurred be permitted to remain in office?

Democracy only asks of its voting citizens that they be capable of asking themselves common sense questions and provide common sense answers. If voters will fulfill that one responsibility as citizens of a democracy, their government will become more accountable, more responsible, and democracy will flourish. If citizens allow themselves to become confused and deceived, democracy in America will fail. Should Americans trust politicians and government? Not if they can trust their own common sense. That is what common sense says about the November 2, elections.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on October 4, 2004 5:22 PM.

Bush, Kerry, Nader - Debate Analysis was the previous entry in this blog.

VP Debate - 'Don't Mean A Thang' is the next entry in this blog.

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