If you’re well-informed on American politics, then you’re one of the few. Most Americans appear to be apathetic, at best–cold and callous at their worst.
Why is this? A new political podcast called “Occupy Your Mind” attempts to answer that very question.
So far, we’ve narrowed our reasons down to the following:
–Exhaustion: In other words, Americans are tired of hearing about the problems. Make them go away, already! It’s just too depressing. Besides, many people are working at two or more jobs just to make ends meet. They simply don’t have the time or the mental energy to care about the state of the world while they’re struggling just to survive, which brings me to the next reason.
–Overwork and Financial Struggle: Struggle brings out the worst in people. People tend to get selfish when their basic needs are not being met.
–Fear: What happens to political activists? Ultimately, most of them do not live long (Noam Chomsky not withstanding.) But those of us familiar with the red squads, CointelPro and the McCarthy era may have had encounters of our own with the establishment that is very much afraid of we the people. (Is surveillance in place to keep “us” safe or to keep them–the government and big business–safe from our potential revolt?
–Ignorance: Quite simply many Americans just don’t know about current events, history and their contemporary society. The notion of “rugged individualism” has convinced many that the past and present and our environment don’t matter, that all that matters is what is happening inside us as individuals. It’s a motivational idea for some but for many people it’s self-destructive. No one is an island. We all share the planet and can’t avoid being influenced by our surrounding community.
–Disconnection: There’s probably a better term for this. Chris Hedges refers to atomized Americans. We’re a fragmented society, filled with millions of people who are afraid to talk with each other, who can’t get intimate, can’t connect, work, play or cooperate effectively with each other. Those in power are working hard to drive us further apart, using fear and limiting our ability to interact publicly.
–Media Addiction: How do years of watching television affect our thinking? Have we lost our ability to interact with each other directly? How often do people talk with each other without distractions or interruptions coming from cell phones or blaring TV sets in the background? How can people communicate with each other and learn to resolve conflicts when we rarely talk with each other anymore?
Perhaps we’ll come up with more reasons for American apathy in future v-casts.
Until then, it’s time to say toodles, peeps!