There is no shortage of opinion on the November 8th United States Election. Those who follow me regularly know my opinion on the outcome(s) and how we might begin moving forward following such a shellacking of progressive values. I have not lost heart. The #progressiverevolution is coming. Hindsight is 2020.
It starts with this: becoming~informed. If we learned anything this year it is that anti-intellectualism is alive and well in the United States; and, despite living in the so-called “information age,” most people are as uninformed as they have ever been. Perhaps we are the most uninformed we have been in my lifetime.
I do not say this simply because the candidates and values I believe in “lost” the election. I say it because it has been clear for some time that people in the United States are more interested in being entertained than in being critical thinkers; intellectually engaged; or having to put any effort into thinking critically. We are not (presently) a serious country.
Foundational to this problem is media. The journalistic malfeasance of mainstream media (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC) is almost totally responsible for the intellectually unengaged electorate. Ratings and shouting matches reigned supreme this year. The very little of mainstream media I did watch devolved into little of substantive value to people whose lives will be impacted by policies of any politicians or political party. Sure – some issues were important to raise, but even those issues were largely discussed without a level of serious and adult engagement, but through shouting matches pitting diametrically opposed people against one another. It was, unfortunately, reality television of the worst kind.
The Presidential Debates were a joke. There were huge swaths of policy discussions that were never talked about. Education, climate change, and foreign policy top the list.
If we want to begin repairing our democracy, we must become better informed. This starts by turning off the mainstream media. Seriously. Boycott the mainstream media. They lack the ability to be considered serious journalists.
Engage Non-Mainstream Media
There are more than a few ways to become better informed about issues in ways that will truly enhance your understanding of the depth related to all kinds of problems (and, all kinds of good things going on the world too). I believe that public media, such as NPR or the BBC, or other media outlets such as Democracy Now! and Vice News, do much better reporting and in-depth analyses of issues that are not covered or discussed in the mainstream media.
Pick up an investigative news magazine, or click through to a website that has in-depth reporting. There are more than a few examples: The Nation, Salon, The Guardian, The Atlantic. These organizations do in-depth analysis and reporting on really complicated issues impacting our lives.
Subscribe to a podcast. Many of the news organizations above have daily or weekly shows that provide the same in-depth analyses and exposure to stories that are not often covered in the mainstream media.
Follow these organizations on social media. They all have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Like, share, and retweet so your networks get exposure to this information. 44% of people now get their news in great part from their social networks. Spread good, in-depth, analytical news.
This is where we start. Becoming more informed by being willing to not get our news in snippets or through shouting matches on the television, but through reading and listening to real investigative and thoughtful journalism. I’m open to other suggestions – what do you listen to or read that counts as real, in-depth, thoughtful investigative journalism? Leave your suggestions in the comments below so we can become more informed citizens.