UPDATE 7/16 1:40 PM
Here’s a scary article on how our brains do NOT work towards the betterment of a democracy. An important paragraph:
Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite.
It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
Depressing and deeply discouraging!
Frequent commenter and historian UptheFlag has been trying to narrow the focus of our efforts on this blog to reach those who could be politically ‘educated’ through our efforts here. He believes that we waste valuable time attempting to reach certain elements of the electorate.
Yesterday he presented a list of those whom we ought not waste our time on. He wrote,
People have the right to be ignorant or dumb until they receive the irrefutable facts. If at that time, they continue to hold their belief then they are stupid. Ignorance is curable, but stupidity is not… People like Angle, Boehner, Armey, most of the pundits on Fox, Napolitano is a notable exception, Gingrich, the 39 Senators who voted against the Financial Reform Bill today, the tea partiers, the religious right, and other fellow travelers are impossible to bring back to an objective point of view. We should make no attempt to try and reach them.
If we could only quantify these people- just how many ignorant citizens are there in America? As the religious right is in the pockets of the GOP and the Tea Party is but the active, belligerent wing of the GOP, it seems that UptheFlag has, logically, written off the GOP as ‘unreachable.’ That leaves the truly ignorant who cannot be ‘educated.’
Seems we’re back to the so-called independents who swing slightly left or right each election cycle. What’s their hook? At least they are paying attention, as is seen in their movement right and left. How does one influence this fluid group?
Take, for example, the Financial Reform Bill passed by Congress yesterday. How do the independents view this bill? And what did they think of the Health Care Bill?
Further, I wonder if they favor the extension of Federal unemployment benefits. Perhaps most importantly, do they feel that the monies appropriated for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was a wise investment in America?
After all, these all were major legislative achievements of Democrats in Congress with nearly unanimous Republican opposition. These issues, therefore, will be the pivotal points that independents will examine before casting their vote in the 2010 congressional election in November.
How, then, did these 3 acts of Congress [i.e. Democrats] affect their lives and their vision of Democratic governance? That is the key question. Further, when that has been answered, how ought the DNC market those results to the independents? I have a lot of ideas about that, but of course, no one will ask.
Independents, then, ought to be the focus. The Education of the Independents Initiative [EII] seems to be the goal. Any thoughts?