Why It Matters

By: Solomon K.

     Thousands of years ago when the Greeks were implementing the first democracy in Athens, their idea was that every citizen would have knowledge of the issues at hand. Similarly, they wanted every citizen to have an equal opportunity to vote on those issues. We know this system worked out well for the Greeks, otherwise the founding fathers would not have selected a democratic style of government for the United States when drafting the constitution. The Founding Fathers, much like the Greeks, would not have have implemented a democracy had they thought the people weren’t ready to rule themselves. And so it became the duty of the people to elect and monitor their leaders, and to vote upon the issues at hand.

     Thus, our personal freedoms and rights have become one of the few things held sacred by many people in this country. More recently however, it seems as if people are losing interest in current events. They are interested in sports, school, social networks, or their social lives. News networks, in an attempt to keep their viewers, have begun sensationalizing everything, pushing even more people away. Current events often take a back seat to everything else happening in people’s lives. However, this disinterest comes at a cost. Without knowledge of political systems and current events, how can we possibly expect to be able to fulfill our duty as citizens?

     Without knowing about what our leaders are doing, how can we regulate them? Their job is to make sure laws are passed in our favor, so without our input, how can they do their job? What if a politician or corporation decides they are going to act independently of the people? Without us to stop them, they are free to abuse the system as they see fit, potentially affecting our lives. Now, I’m not saying that neglecting to read the newspaper or watch the news is going to turn the United States into a dictatorship overnight, but I am saying that an ignorant population is a vulnerable population. We’ve seen this happen all too often throughout history. From the Soviet Union to North Korea, nations whose populations don’t know what their governments are doing are susceptible to oppression.

     I feel strongly that it is important to stay well versed in current events, not because the United States is going to turn into the next Soviet Union if we don’t, but because we want to make this country a great place to live. And without our input, our leaders have no hope of ever making that dream come true. So try watching the news once in awhile. Maybe pick up a newspaper. It can’t hurt you, but not picking one up, or neglecting to inform yourself certainly could. Because the day we stop caring is the day democracy stops working.

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