Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Raising the Volume

During both my morning and evening commutes today, I heard news stories in which people were talking about "having their voices heard," and "raising awareness." All of the issues involved were things that I was perfectly aware of and knew many of the major talking points for. And I suspect that I'm not alone in that.

As I understand it, the issue isn't that people don't have a voice, that the general public is unaware or that "the media" is working to distract them with sports and reality television - it's that it's difficult to get people to pay attention to someone else's problems when they understand that they have problems of their own that they need to be dealing with. People don't come home and turn on the "boob tube" because they've been manipulated into it by a shadowy cabal of business and media élites who are living lives of luxury by oppressing the downtrodden and who fear only the righteous anger of the masses. People come home and watch television because, as far as they're concerned, they've had a difficult/long/stressful day and they simply want to unwind or find out what's going on in the world. By the same token, people aren't uninformed about one issue or another because "the media" is constantly waving shiny things in front of them. People are informed about those issues that they aren't interested enough in to do any research on. (And this, of course, presumes that people are uninformed to start with - but in pretty much every single conversation I've had with someone who said "this information is being suppressed, but..." I've known exactly what they were talking about. It's a pretty poorly-kept secret when I'm in the know.)

People aren't "silenced" as much as the rest of us aren't listening. People aren't "unaware" of issues as they are uninterested in them. Given this, simply raising the volume isn't the answer. No matter what one does to drive attention, it's always possible to for others to simply ignore you.

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