Although the Founding fathers may have been right concerning the citizens’ engagement with politics at their time, I believe that now such a premise is not true. Indeed, the longitude public surveys in the U.S. conducted by such companies as Pew Research Center and Gallup reveal that approximately 50% of Americans follow political news most of the time (Prior, 2018). Moreover, around 70% of the population claims that they are very or fairly interested in politics. What is more interesting, the studies found that these numbers have not fluctuated greatly since the first surveys in the mid-1980s. There are also some small surges in interest and engagement evident during significant socio-economic or political events (Prior, 2018). However, in general, at least the perceived involvement of Americans is quite high, especially when compared to interest in politics in other countries in the world. Therefore, in my opinion, Americans are overall informed about the situation in the country and act when necessary.
Yet, I would probably agree with the part that many citizens are unable to fully understand how the government works. For this reason, they cannot recognize and combat numerous manipulative techniques that government officials use to promote their views. As Greenberg and Page (2018) fairly note that Americans rather reflect the existing political agenda than shape it. In this regard, I would like to discuss two important aspects. Firstly, it is imperative that the citizens are taught to recognize manipulations in schools or universities, but it seems to me that not a lot of politicians are actually interested in such an initiative. Secondly, I would like to emphasize the importance of independent and uncensored media. In my opinion, the latter should be responsible for critical analysis of all the governmental activities and be the generator of new political ideas. Such a view is explained by the fact that many citizens are unable to carefully examine all the political claims and policy initiatives as they are busy at works and taking care of their families. For this reason, media can act as the mechanism that would allow people to spend less time trying to understand politics.
Greenberg, E. S & Page, B. I. (2018). The struggle for democracy, 2018 elections and updates edition. (12th ed.). Pearson.
Prior, M. (2018). Hooked: How politics captures people’s interest. Cambridge University Press.