Saturday, January 10, 2009

What does it take to become an educated citizen?

An educated citizen follows the happenings of the day. If that means listening to the radio, example, NPR, CNN, Rush Limbaugh, whatever fits for you, but you need to try and listen to:1) the issue involved; 2) both sides of the solution or discussion 3)try to fit your answer into your frame of reference. What you are familiar with in earlier decisions. 4) Does the proposed solution need support? Then, you need to search out that support, from whatever side of the issue--try to keep an open mind--make up your decision that you can comfortably support. Are you able to explain the issue and explain your solution to someone who is opposition and win your "argument". Remember, the other person has his reasons for his decision. Listen with an open mind, see if it alters your decision, if it does, make an alteration, if not stick to your opinion.
If you watch TV, watch at least one national and one local tv station, so you can keep up with national and local events, at least enough to discuss them until you have gathered enough evidence to make a reasoned decision.
Read newspapers. National, like USA TODAY, or CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, or National newspapers like THE L.A.TIMES, OR NEW YORK TIMES, OR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Follow Online newspapers, national or local. Follow Blogs.
Remember: before you decide which source you read/watch/listen to, you need to establish that source's bias.
On the whole, most media generate liberal views--keeping an open mind is part of liberal viewpoints, however, many media sources are conservative in their presentation. For example: CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR is generally considered the most neutral of the newspers, Fox News is conservative, USA TODAY is generally neutral, the WALL STREET JOURNAL is somewhat unbiased, however with conservative leanings. Rush Limbaugh is conservative, Larry Elder is a libertarian, Hillary Clinton is a liberal.
Your "frame of reference", or what you have accepted into your brain over your lifetime, will help direct you to accept or reject people's viewpoints.
You need to make decisions on such active issues as: Abortion, racial issues, affirmative action, civil rights, immigration, taxes, etc. You will hear a term: Polorization. Usually a polorized position is one in which there is no middle ground. Abortion is an example. You are either for or against abortion. You can't be a little bit pregnant. You either believe that the woman has the right to abort her fetus, or the state needs to step in and deny her the right to abort the fetus. Of course, there are more to these issues, but you need to study the issue and make a decision. If a candidate supports abortion on demand, and you are against it, will that make your decision against that candidate, just because of that one issue? Watching MEET THE PRESS, LARRY KING LIVE, other talk shows that discuss the pressing issues, helps you see both sides and make up your mind.
As you can see; all of this takes time---but remember, a democratic republic gives it's citizens the right to help make decisions. An autocracy, or a one ruler government does not. The ruler makes the decisions for the people and they have to live with that decision. Do you want to allow someone to make these heavy decisions without your imput and discussion? Comment?

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