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Americans Apathetic About Being American

True patriots are an endangered species. Not long ago, it seemed as though most Americans were at least somewhat patriotic and respected our military and our national symbol. Now, we’re lucky if American citizens aren’t indifferent to their own country and what she once stood for.  And this level of apathy is permeating throughout all aspects of society, it seems.

And this is the apathy that plagues America. The Greek philosopher Plato said, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” And as Floyd recently pointed out, “There’s always a power-hungry person intent on stealing your patrimony.” But Americans simply don’t care.

Last month, Public Policy Polling reported that 41% of the Americans polled think that the Benghazi mess is one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. But get this: 39% of those people don’t even care enough to know where Benghazi is on a map. And

When it comes to Benghazi, most Americans have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude. Recently, Pew Research Center reported that only 23% of Americans said they were following the scandal “very” closely, while 21% reported that they were following the story “fairly” closely. And according to a recent Gallup poll, only 54% are following the IRS scandal. What about the rest of America?

Americans Are Too Busy to Be American?

In May, Bill O’Reilly conducted his own survey of Americans, questioning people in New York City about Benghazi and IRS. He found that Americans are “distracted” and “don’t have much time to absorb information.” He boiled the results down to one thing: “It’s no surprise to me that literally half the country has no blanking clue about how the Obama administration’s running things. And you know what? Many of those people don’t care.”

And as Floyd showed us earlier this week, many Americans don’t even care about their Fourth Amendment rights or the NSA scandal. They have nothing to hide so who cares if the government snoops through their emails, text messages and phone records?

The Real Consequences of Our Apathy

The real problem is that the apathy doesn’t only affect America’s response to political scandals. It affects our involvement in the political process. The 2012 presidential election saw the first decline in voter turnout, especially among young voters, since 1996. Roughly 41% of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 participated in the election – a 7% drop since 2008. Only 64% of women voted, while just 60% of men cast ballots. Apathy hinders citizens from being informed and voting according to that knowledge. If we don’t care enough to understand the political process and to be involved in it, how do we hold the government accountable? And how do we keep an already too-big government from growing even more?

The evidence of this epidemic is out. It’s sweeping across our nation, and has Americans nonchalantly relinquishing their liberties to an out-of-control government.  And if we think that apathy and sideline antics are what’s going to ensure we salvage the liberties that we’re already seeing ripped away from us, we’re in for a severely rude awakening.

In Pursuit of the Truth,

Johnnie-Ann Campbell