Thursday, February 24, 2011

Politics Bubble

An Ezra Klein tweet directed me to this blogpost today, ordering me to read the last two paragraphs. And I was glad he did, because I found it very edifying:

I've said this get a sense of what politics is like for many Americans, I suggest thinking of something that you do encounter in some way all the time, but that you just have zero interest in. Perhaps sports in general -- or, for sports fans, a major sport that you don't pay any attention to. Perhaps it's current pop music, or HBO shows, or celebrities. Me? NASCAR, the NBA, and any games made since Missile Command and Stargate Defender. The idea is that I actually do encounter and, in a way, retain a fair amount of information about those things in the nature of headlines that I see but skip the stories, or references made in other things I do read or watch, or conversations I've had that veer off in that direction. It's not as if I know absolutely nothing. It's just that the stuff I've heard is not organized at all, and I'm sure I've picked up misinformation along the way, since I don't scrutinize any of it.

Anyway, when you're involved in what's happening in Wisconsin, or Libya, or the budget negotiations in Washington, just keep in mind that most people aren't paying any attention at all.

Doesn't that just clarify things for those of us who live inside the political bubble (AKA, those of us who feel an obligation for understanding what's happening in the world around us).

Then I read on TPM today, that barely half of Americans even KNOW that the HCR law that Obama signed into law last year is, you know, still the law.

A good chunk of the country is walking around thinking that that orange, weepy guy managed to get rid of death panels. Wow.

I hate what I'm about to say (I normally get so irritated when other people say things like this), but I'm saying it anyway: it breaks my heart to think of the people in Libya today who are literally dying for the right to representative government, and we live in a country so spoiled that most of us cannot even be bothered to understand even vaguely the things happening around us.

I have the flu, so I'm kind of bummed in general. But this is the kind of thing that just makes my normally unflagging optimism wane.