My point is that far too many folks honestly believe they know everything they need to know about our history, our founding and our system of government, when in reality they know very little. It is very similar to the story of the high school kid that proclaims he is going to be a first round draft pick to play football in the NFL, except for the fact he has never played football in his life. It does not matter to the guy, he will forever find an excuse like a "bum ankle" that kept him from achieving stardom. The same thing is happening in our electorate. Far too many proclaim themselves experts on American history, politics and law without having any real credentials to claim their views and opinions except their viewership of politically- ideologically oriented media.
Take for example a recent outrage about "liberal" polling on major news outlets. Conservatives have commented that none of these outlets can be relied upon due to their "liberal bias." Ironically, every single commentator listed FOX news as the "only objective" source for news. Really? More importantly, only Rasmussen Reports was listed as the polling service conservatives trust. Not all polling is biased, only those they don't agree with? Just recently, The Rasmussen Report's Daily Presidential Tracking Poll reported that Mitt Romney holds a nationwide 48% to 44% lead over Obama. The conservative commentators jumped all over this poll as proof the other polls are biased in favor of Obama. What these folks do not realize though is that nationwide polling may be a snapshot of the national popular vote, but it does not necessarily reflect polls in Swing States. Swing States will determine the electoral count in the Electoral College (it must be one of those "Liberal "Arts Colleges right?), the real electors of the president. This is just one indication that those convinced their poll is not biased, also cannot recognize that the value of the polling they are relying upon is meaningless. According to ALL polling (as of this date), even with a number of battle ground states still in play, Obama is predicted (by conservative and liberal outlets) to have 272 electoral votes in his favor. 270 is all that is needed to win the White House. But these folks knew that already. But do they? What most folks also do not know is that every legitimate poll has a margin of error of at least +/- 3%. In other words, in addition to the fact the polling conservatives are overjoyed with is meaningless, it also may be within a recognized "margin of error."
There is additional language in The Rasmussen Report that caught my attention that seems to elude the conservatives who are placing a lot of credibility on their poll. When it comes to Americans interested in having Romney reveal more of his tax records (from 1999-2002), the Report states; "46% of Americans believe Romney should release more of his tax returns while 46% say he should not. Not surprisingly, Democrats say he should release more, Republicans say he’s done enough, and unaffiliated voters are fairly evenly divided. Just 35% of all voters say the issue is even somewhat important in terms of how they will vote. Twenty-two percent (22%) say it is Very Important." What do pollsters mean when they use statistics to woo the uneducated? They report that 46% polled do not think Romney should have to report his tax returns, yet they break down the numbers as 35% say the release is "is somewhat important" while another 22% say it is "Very Important." Okay math majors, do the math. According to their own report, Americans believing it is somewhat to very important for Romney to release his tax returns totals 57%. Then how do they report that only 46% think Romney should release the returns? It's called manipulating the numbers, like many polls do. There are several types of polls -random sample polls, cross cutting polls, push polls, etc., all with their own set of questions that can "gear" answers to a specific result. Do Americans understand how polls actually work, or are they convinced they already know enough because the media has told them so?
Another issue just raised is Obama's signing of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. As mentioned in today's Political News of the Day on this website, conservatives have already begun bashing Obama for signing this bill into law just as Romney is about to travel to Israel. They see it as another Obama "political stunt." This alone highlights the lack of understanding most Americans have when it comes to how our government is designed. Congress passes bills and forwards them to the President. If Congress is in session (which it is), the President has three options. One is sign the bill into law, the other is to ignore the bill for ten days and it will become law without his signature or the President can veto it. Now folks, why would Obama veto this Bill? He wouldn't. But did the Bill start with Obama seeking some sort of advantage over Romney? No, the Bill originated in the House with passage of H.R. 4133 I.H. on March 5, 2012. The GOP controlled House. If Americans really knew how government works, they would never be claiming Obama's signing of the Bill into law is some sort of political "sham" as many are posting on the Internet with actual posted commentary as " Boy, and we all thought obama (sic) was the NO WAR president. He got ya again didn't he? Yep, Lying about EVERYTHING!" and my favorite, "Another sneaky move by Obama!" Isn't this enough for all Americans to take notice? Isn't this enough proof that we have done a poor job of educating our electorate about how our great system of government works? Isn't this enough evidence to prove folks have abdicated their responsibilities to know about their government to talking heads serving ideologically based media?
I recently saw a quote at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. It simply said...."Propaganda is: biased information designed to shape public opinion and behavior. Its power depends on the message, technique, means of communication, environment, and audience. Propaganda uses truths, half-truths. or lies. It omits information selectively. It simplifies complex issues or ideas and plays on emotions." Isn't this what drives our current political discourse? Isn't it fueled by the failure of Americans to know what they are actually talking about when it comes to the current political climate? Isn't it time for all Americans to learn for themselves instead of relying on talking heads? Isn't bias based upon ignorance?