If you asked me what the most common forms of protest were, I’d rattle off answers like rallies and signage. An answer that probably wouldn’t make my list? Ignorance.
Ignorance is rarely seen as positive, unless you consider a person attempting to protect themself from becoming pained by some planetary atrocity. (Even then, the discussion could shift to whether or not we should actively seek ignorance of the suffering others face.)
Never a commendable thing, people usually attempt to escape ignorance through whatever means available. Society has also decided that ignorance is not a tolerable or positive trait; that’s why we dedicate years of our lives to formal education, and the rest of it to the informal education that can be found through modern day life.
So, who is currently trying to make active ignorance a trendy thing?
Smug, albeit burnt out, ‘reformed’ political junkies.
You’ve probably borne witness to this trend. It’s epitomized in social media preaching that occurs when a former rabid politico tells you that they stopped frothing at the mouth over every single political move that is played out. Instead, they choose to now have no part in the process, and are distancing themselves from politics, policy, and the news as much as they possibly can.
(OH, and if you don’t do that as well, you’re WRONG.)
This gleeful, arrogant promotion of ignorance while casting a disdainful light on those who choose to continue being a part of the process is becoming more and more common. No matter the motivation, this is not commendable – it’s just dumb.
No one can argue that political involvement isn’t EXHAUSTING. Ask your friend who just lost the campaign and their job all in one night. Your friend who faithfully knocked doors for weeks just to have it all be for nothing.
Ask the political journalist who just received their first (or fiftieth) death threat. The person who seeks to faithfully stay up-to-date on what is happening in American politics just to have their shoulders weighed down by partisan fighting. The person who dedicates time day in and day out for policy change they may never see happen.
There is no question that involvement in our political process is exhausting. But there’s a right way to handle the exhaustion and the frustration, and that way is not through ignorance.
Being burnt out means that you should step back, and perhaps you should create healthier boundaries. It doesn’t mean that you should wear political blinders or shut yourself entirely away from awareness of the process. It doesn’t mean that you should have no clue what’s happening in American politics.
And it CERTAINLY doesn’t mean that you should shame people for still wanting to take part in the process. The only thing that might be worse than promoting your own ignorance is attempting to criticize others for not embracing ignorance themselves.
The future belongs to those who show up, who lean in, who stay aware of what’s taking place. You don’t have to be consumed by politics, but choosing to be actively ignorant of what’s occurring just means you no longer have a seat at the table.
Choose to have a healthy awareness of what’s happening in the political landscape of your country, no matter your personal thoughts on the subject. After all, ignorance as a form of protest still just makes you ignorant, and that’s not a positive trait
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore