March 22, 2010

Apathy, Ignorance and Obamacare

Although many people voiced their opinions about Obamacare, too many more did not.  I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of the health care reform that just passed.  Suffice it to say that we can get this legislation repealed, and I pray that we do it.

What I want to talk about is why so many citizens didn't respond, didn't act, didn't protest or endorse these bills.

Many formal polls showed that an overwhelming number of Americans are against this particular set of reforms.  But those polls, a "sampling" of Americans, don't accurately reflect the number of people who are ignorant or just don't care, because those are the people who either weren't surveyed or refused to respond.  Notice there aren't any numbers published for those people.

I conducted an informal poll of my friends and neighbors who are mostly middle class, and was stunned at the results.  Almost 80% didn't know any of the particulars of the bills.  Of the remaining 20%, 5% were "somewhat familiar" with the legislation.  The other 15% had a vague idea (a lot of it wrong) of what the legislation encompassed.

Of the people I surveyed, overall 23% were in favor of the bill, 40% against and an unbelievable 37% had no opinion.

The majority of the people who were for reform fell into the 20% who were either somewhat familiar with the legislation or had a vague idea (often erroneous) what it encompassed.

The number that concerns me the most is the 80% who were completely unfamiliar with the particulars of the legislation.  A lot of those people said they don't watch the news because it's too depressing.

Others said outright that they don't believe they can do anything about what the government is up to, so why bother?  Most of these people don't vote, by the way, for the same reason.

How can we reach the apathetic among our citizens?  What can we do to convince them that their votes and voices make a difference, without sounding like a bunch of alarmists?  I think we all know that the government isn't going to launch a campaign to get people involved...

Any ideas?  Anyone? 

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