It’s March Madness right now, which is dominating the mainstream news as well as people’s mindshare. It’s overshadowing massively important issues like the biggest health care reform since Medicare and two costly and important wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that got me thinking about why people don’t care about important issues.
Patrick Kennedy had a well outlined rational about his issues with our policy in Afghanistan.
Whether you agree or not, at least he’s challenging the issues. He then goes on an outburst against the national press (you should watch the whole thing, but if you need to skip to the outburst it’s at 3:22). He concludes that “the national press core is not covering the most signifiant issue of national importance.”
I agree with his outburst and conclusion, but it’s more than the press. The press is responding to what people care about. People don’t CARE about the war in Afghanistan. You don’t have to go much further than that YouTube page to see what I mean. That speech has thousands of views, not the tens or hundreds of thousands of views that sports highlights or titillating dance videos get.
We’ve gone down this path before, with a lazy, patriotically-blinded press that let the American people believe we were going to war with Iraq because of their involvement 9/11.
But for the same reason that you can’t implement environmental policy without impacting the underlying economics, we can’t force people to watch C-SPAN and read war articles. Somehow we have to make important issues more relevant to people, more interesting.
I’m not sure how we do that, but if we don’t figure it out, our democracy won’t work.