Media and politicians have failed the public, leaving it up to us
Since the turn of the century, political polarization has been driven by an equally polarizing media.
We live in a time in which a polarized media fails to inform us of the issues that matter to the common people. We have not heard much from popular media about most issues that many Americans face: 43.1 million people are in poverty, Americans now owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loans, average household debt in the United States has now reached 136 percent of average household income.
Problems faced by the American people are not addressed in popular media and are therefore not pressed upon politicians to address.
Arguments can be made about the policies and inabilities of whichever political party will help the American people the most, but most Americans can agree that we are not pleased with the governance. According to Gallup Polls, Congress’s approval rating is 18 percent.
This begs the question: Where do we go from here?
Loyalism to party politics has failed. Our leaders do not respond to our grievances, the millions of people facing poverty, hunger and other injustices. This is shown by the extremely low favorability of Congress, and the increasing inequity of our society.
Politics has become spectacle for phatic language and wishful thinking. The odd politician cannot benefit a group of people by passing a certain law or policy, but the idea that politicians are public servants has become as laughable as the past election cycle.
During the past election cycle, rather than convince people of the ideas of the candidates, the media attempted to convince people that one politician was not as bad as the other.
A representative democracy means the government works for us; we do not need to settle for this perceived ineptitude from either political party. In the past, when the masses felt disgruntled by their leaders, they would cry for revolution. Rather than a revolution of violence, a revolution of consciousness is necessary to continue bettering our way of life; we must try to seek objectivity when examining our state of affairs.
Our collective conscious must tend towards civility and evidence-based discussion of ideas, rather than the corporate-bought fanfare we experience currently.
We must openly consult with one another about our grievances and seek viable solutions. Power cannot exist without the consent of the governed. Therefore, we must go beyond casting a vote to solve our problems. We must engage our community, serve our fellow men, mentor our youth, teach our children and speak with our friends about our social concerns.
Service to a bevy of just causes are available to us, which go beyond our individual vote. If we raise a generation that is respondent to their communities rather than seeking to glorifying the self, that generation could seek viable solutions to the problems they face.
Columnist Anup Desai is a pre-business sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]cougar.com.