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What We Need Is More Apathy in this Country

On the deeply contentious issues there are always a few percent of people who answer "I don't know" when polled. What if we elected them congressmen?

by
Frank J. Fleming

Bio

February 2, 2012 - 12:00 am

Political animosity has been crazy lately. The Tea Party really dislikes debt. The Occupy Wall Street hippies scream about how they hate greed or something. President Obama says he can’t work with those unreasonable Republicans, and the Republicans are all like, “We can’t work with the president because he’s a socialist dummy.” And you know it’s only going to get worse this year as the presidential election heats up. I mean, the Republicans are already attacking each other over who is being a moderate or being pro-amnesty or being Mitt Romney. And when the field is down to one Republican, the left is going to scream that he’s a racist, right-wing lunatic, and then the right will point at the state of the country and yell at Obama, “You did that! You did that! No! Bad president!”

And no matter who wins the presidential election, there will still be more arguing and yelling and, with Occupy Wall Street, maybe some biting. Politics is just one big noisy headache. Why can’t everyone get along and work for the betterment of our country? What is the solution here?

So far the only attempted solution has been to ask out loud over and over, “Why can’t everyone just stop arguing and get along?” Despite a whole organization being formed to ask this question, No Labels, this has not worked and has actually just become further noise in the political cacophony. So how do we stop all this angry arguing?

I think I know how. The solution has been in front of us this whole time, and it’s really simple. What America needs is more apathy.

It’s a foolproof solution. Many people already embody this idea. They don’t get worked up by what the president is doing, because they don’t care. They never get mad at what the speaker of the House says, because they have no idea what that is. And when they see a debate on TV, they never get angry about what anyone says and instead just say, “I thought Dancing with the Stars was on.”

I know what some of you are thinking: “I don’t know that this apathy idea will work for me.” Well, that’s your problem — you’re thinking about it. Thinking leads to opinions, and opinions eradicate apathy. Instead, you just need to shrug your shoulders and say, “Eh.” Then — BOOM! — the argument is over.

Now imagine if we could bring such apathy to Washington. You know how on the deeply contentious issues there are always a few percent of people who answer “I don’t know” when polled? What if we elected them congressmen? Then when a controversial new bill is introduced, they won’t launch into that heated rhetoric we all hate and will instead just say, “Whatever,” and go back to watching daytime TV.

And I know some of you doubt that people can successfully be apathetic about all these big issues. Again I remind you that you’re thinking this through, which is counterproductive to apathy. Look at all the atrocities people have committed against their fellow man throughout history without a second thought. It’s obviously possible to remain apathetic about really big things, so apathy toward the big political issue of the day should be easy.

So that’s it. We can finally end all this awful partisanship and heated rhetoric if we just stop caring. Caring about what happens to this country is what led to all these arguments in the first place, and I think we can all agree that no issue we face is worth a bunch of yelling. Freedom, human rights, the national debt — these are all just big noisy yelling matches waiting to happen unless we’re finally willing to look upon the big issues of the day, shrug, and go play video games. I dream of a day where no one pays attention to anything Washington does — including the politicians in Washington — and thus no one ever gets worked up by whatever Washington does again.

But wait, I just realized something: We don’t need both sides to be apathetic — just one of the two opposing sides. That’s an even better idea: I keep caring about my issues, but the other side stops caring so much and trying to stop me. That way, there will be no arguing, but I still get all the stuff done that I want. This is genius. So why don’t all those people complaining about the partisan bickering volunteer to stop caring about their issues for the good of the country?

Oh, the people complaining so much were hoping all along that I would stop caring so much about my issues so we could stop the all the heated rhetoric. I sense an argument coming on.

Frank J. Fleming is the author of Punch Your Inner Hippie, coming November 11th, and the science fiction novel Superego, coming later this year, blogs at IMAO.us, is a writer for the creative agency Emergent Order, and wants you to buy his book.
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