OCALA, Fla., NOVEMBER 8, 2014 — What does it mean to be an informed voter?
Most people would surely say that you have to know about major issues of the day and how your elected officials vote on them. While this answer is simplistic, it is quintessentially true. So, then, why do such a great deal, including no small number of those who can easily describe what an informed voter is, not know much about their public servants?
Some might say that this is because most people aren’t knowledgeable of the facts behind hot-button subjects. Others could claim that the masses don’t really care about any topic until it impacts them in some very direct manner.
What if the American mainstream doesn’t really care about electing a higher quality of politician — the sort of thing that any informed voter worth his or her salt would strive for? Might it be that most voters are satisfied with just a cursory, if that much, understanding of key issues? Could they actually take comfort in electing politicos who have magnetic personalities and yet not much else?
Such a scenario would fly against every facet of rational planning imaginable. Yet, Capitol Hill, along with many state houses, is in turmoil. People dislike both major parties right now, and have little trust in their representatives, but still most incumbents go reelected. As millions are angry about the country’s direction, they grasp little about why it’s headed down a rocky road. When the facts are disseminated, few care to listen.
Perhaps the explanation for this can’t be found among conventional political philosophies. Maybe it’s really a matter of brain chemistry.
Dr. George Lakoff has devoted a great deal of his career to answering the tough queries about matters such as this. A cognitive linguist who has taught at the University of California, Berkeley for over four decades, he is the author of a library’s worth regarding the scientific aspects of political belief.
The Doctor joins us for a conversation about the taboos of human intelligence as they relate to American politics on this episode of Cotto & Company; a thirty-minute-or-so online radio program featuring independent voices who shape our society. Regardless of partisan registration, political philosophy, or personal worldview, the goal is sharing diverse, and often innovative, ideas that we all can learn from.
I’m your host.
As with my work as a Communities Digital News journalist and nationally syndicated columnist, I hope to bring about deeper understanding of the issues which impact our society. Even if we don’t always agree, we should be able to see eye to eye.