I have been taking a Postmodernism class in school and it has opened up my eyes towards the many things that are happening around us. The thing that we talk about the most in Post modernism is the current human nature and how people, in today’s world, are moving away from the idea of “truth” and running behind materialistic things like fashion and celebrities. The truth is that narcissism has taken its toll on the human species . So how does this relate to AP government?
Newsweek magazine recently had 1,000 U.S. citizens take the official citizenship test – and 38% of them failed. “Civic ignorance is nothing new,” the magazine reported. Seventy-three percent didn’t know why we fought the Cold War. (Does the word “communism” ring a bell?) A stunning 70% didn’t know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Sixty-five percent couldn’t figure out that the Constitution was written at the Constitutional Convention. Sixty-three percent got the number of Supreme Court justices wrong. (It’s nine.)
These statistics might be shocking but what else can we expect? If this same test had been about celebrities then everyone would have known everything. The political reality of this world is too much for us. It is too bitter and not as rosy as “normal” celebrity life. People choose to watch reality television on E! rather than watch political debates on CNN. This is what post modernism is about – people run away from reality. The American life is focused around consumerism, fantasy and luxury and that in the long will be detrimental to our progress.
People realize what a democracy is, yet they don’t vote during elections because they don’t want to do jury duty. During the past election I was watching a segment on Jimmy Kimmel live where they went out on the streets of Hollywood and asked people about things that did not happen: like the first lady debate. The funny part was that people actually answered these questions as if they had seen these things happen. They were far too star struck by the camera that was recording them that the content of the question they were being asked did not matter.
The truth is that humans are running away from truth that, according to the Greek philosopher Plato, is equal to happiness. I am not a misanthrope who judges everyone around her, in fact I am included in this group of narcissistic humans because narcissism is human nature. We are so mesmerized by the illusions that have been created around us that we can’t even see the real life problems. The government shutdown, chemical weapons, war, poverty, diseases etc. – we ignore everything.
Progress is a great thing and I am not against it but in the process, I don’t think that we should forget the reality of life. We need to be aware of our surroundings. Does that mean that we should know everything about politics? Not necessarily, but we should at least attempt to know some things. Living in the exciting but fake world of TV will not get us anywhere. We choose our government because we are lucky enough to be living in a democracy. Do we really want to give up this privilege by ignoring what we see happening right in front of our eyes? We have to think about our choices as citizens. If we want a change in our society then we should be the ones to bring it and this can only happen if we truly face the reality. The choice now is ours to make.