| 03.18.2018

Finding the faith — Return to ‘Crisis of confidence’ inspiration


After the long and drawn out election, President Obama took the podium at the presidential inauguration to take a step forward to a second term and deal with the pressing issues of the upcoming year. These issues include immigration reform, reducing the debt and gun regulation. As the inaugural ceremony continued, the press, political leaders and audience continued the traditional falsified ideal of how great American democracy is.
It had seemed the country’s political leaders, pundits and Americans themselves forgot the perverted circus that the country endured for a year and a half — from the ridiculous voter ID laws and historic influence of untraceable money to the absurd press coverage of the election and rivers of misinformation from both campaigns.
In the 2012 presidential election the Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that only 57.5 percent of eligible citizens voted. In 2010, Idaho produced the pitiful voter turnout of 40.21 percent for mid-term congressional and senate races, according to the Secretary of State office.  Not to mention local elections that produce disgraceful voter turnouts of 20 percent and less, yet often have the most effect on citizen’s daily lives.
How dare we call ourselves a “grand” democracy, when at best only 57.5 percent of our eligible citizenship vote — a shameful statistic. As a country, how have we accepted this unabashed ambivalence toward voting?
As Jimmy Carter warned in his “Crisis of Confidence” speech to the nation in 1979, the American public is losing faith in their government, schools, media and democracy, but most importantly, their country. Voter turnout and political participation suggest that Americans have given up on making their society as a whole better and the average citizen is a self-proclaimed nitwit about any current event.
These are deep societal problems that must be addressed in this era and the next. But just because they exist does not mean we back down from them, forget about them or, in the case of the present society, simply pretend they do not exist.
No, America has innovated, transformed and progressed through crisis after crisis, as we can do so with this current crisis of confidence.
Many worry if this can be done, but remember the easy and destructive road is to proclaim ignorant neutrality concerning the troubles our society faces, even though to do so would be to reduce yourself to a ignorant, unenlightened speck of a citizen.
Ryan Tarinelli can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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