The Irresponsibility of Ignorance

I marched again. This year, I brought both kids.

I had to march again to remind myself not to get comfortable, not to get complacent. These times are not normal. Yet, over the past year I’ve had several conversations with people – all white women – who say they don’t keep up with politics. They say with a smile, the news is so biased it’s impossible to know who is telling the truth. As if this is legitimate justification for staying uninformed about the state of our nation.

This is the irresponsibility of ignorance.

Yes, there is biased news. There is fake news. There are twists and straight-up lies. But, there are also facts. And, it is our responsibility to read and listen with a discerning eye and a critical mind. It is our responsibility to stay informed and educated. We can not push for change without a basic understanding of facts. Those who feel no civic responsibility to learn about current social and political events are living in ignorance and complacency. They are steeped in a bubble of privilege that seems to protect them from the destruction being ravaged on our nation.

But they are wrong.

Perhaps their families and lives are not being torn apart by inhumane immigration policies. Perhaps they don’t have loved ones incarcerated at disproportionate rates. Perhaps they are not afraid of being shot by the police – then blamed for their own deaths. Perhaps they can afford to live in areas with decent public schools – or afford to pay for private ones. Perhaps they enjoy good health. Perhaps they haven’t lost a loved one to gun violence. Perhaps they don’t fear hate crimes or inequitable pay or any type of discriminatory profiling. Perhaps they and everyone they love is able-bodied, straight, and cis-gendered. Perhaps they have never been forced to think beyond their own privilege to the inequities encountered by marginalized communities.

Perhaps it may seem that life will continue as usual. For people with the privilege of ignorance, it might…for a time.

But eventually – and soon! – everyone will be affected by:

  • Destructive environmental policies that deny climate change.
  • Policies intended to dismantle our public education system and sell our children’s futures – and our country’s future – to the highest bidders.
  • Tax breaks for the rich that will tank the economy.
  • Policies that increase health care costs while reducing health care coverage.
  • Government’s inability to pass common sense gun laws
  • A broken criminal justice system
  • The silencing and oppression of women; archaic oversight of women’s health
  • Foreign meddling in our election
  • Hateful rhetoric that kills public discourse and truth

And this is just a high-level overview. The devil is in the details.

There is a great irresponsibility and privilege in such willful ignorance. Humanity is falling to greed. The foundations of our democracy are crumbling. Yet, people sit silently – smiling – on the sidelines.

We don’t have time for that.

Get up. Get educated.

We need every voice.

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