Bad things happen. All the time. As in, large scale bad things. Things like the BP oil spill happen, and then other bad things happen, like BP wriggling out of responsibility. People get hurt helping clean the spill and then their claims get shot down in court. And then BP gets fantastic profits and everybody forgets about everything. Then these profits get funneled to politicians in exchange for more favorable policies for the oil industry.
Even though the bad thing that happened here was the oil spill, really a million littler bad things happen. The oil was spilled because the ship was using unsafe practices. The ship was taking unsafe practices because their bosses were putting profits above safety. They were allowed to do that because regulation on the oil industry is extremely lax. Regulation is so lax because politicians get paid by the oil industry to keep them that way.
See what I've done here? Whether we go backwards or forwards in time, the worst is never over because it's a chain of events.
And even though I'm get into the politics of the event a little bit, this shouldn't be controversial at all; nobody wants the oil industry to control our politicians. Not liberals, conservatives, independents, libertarians, anarchists, you name it. Anybody could tell you what a bad idea it is. So why does it keep happening?
If you've been keeping an eye on the news at all, you've probably seen that there's a big fight about tax cuts. Republicans want to keep the tax cuts where they are, and Democrats do too; except for the the richest 2% of Americans.
Here's the interesting part of that debate: while politicians are split on the issue, most people aren't. Over 70% of the country agrees that taxes for the super rich shouldn't be lowered anymore. Warren Buffet (Third wealthiest person in the world) has famously pointed out that he pays a far smaller percentage in taxes than his secretary.
Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but when 70% of people can say that this is obviously a bad idea, it seems like that side should prevail, right? So why is it looking like the Republican politicians are winning this fight? Even a good deal of their own supporters are against it. Anybody could tell you what a bad idea it is, so why does it keep happening?
I could give you a hundred political answers as to why it keeps happening. I could talk about Obama's leadership, I could talk about the interests of the politicians themselves, I could talk about how the lobbying system is set up, and all of those would be correct answers. But the real problem is so much deeper.
If the majority of the people are on the side of the argument that ends up losing, something is probably wrong. So how does the majority lose?
And the answer is that the majority doesn't know. They know, when given a concrete issue, what side they are on. But then there's all these partisan politics. Accusations are thrown around. Other issues are brought in. And, worst of all, the people that report the news stop doing their jobs.
Whenever I watch television politics news, it's so bogged down that I can't really tell what's going on. And I do know this stuff. So for someone who isn't so dedicated to politics, it can be confusing.
And at the root of all this, we find a twofold problem: News organizations aren't giving clear, unbiased news; everything has to be shown as a Republican or Democratic issue instead of examining the policy on its own.
And the second part of the problem is that people who aren't getting the straight story from the news don't have the knowledge or the concern to look it up themselves. People just don't care that much. They get angry for a second, but they don't get really angry.
And when the people let the politicians and the media get away with this stuff, it just happens again and again. It's a cyclical problem, and the cycle isn't going to be broken for a long time, because right now we don't have any politicians trying to get the people involved.
But take a moment to think about a world where everybody pays close attention to all of the policies being considered. Where everybody tries really hard to understand what's going on and to take a firm stance. The world could be so much better if there were more people fighting for these kinds of things.
So I guess my point is, pay attention. Pay attention to this stuff, because it's important. And it can be frustrating to watch bad things happen, but it's better to be angry than to be ignorant.