Political opinions should be informed opinions

I wouldn’t raise my hand in class if I hadn’t done the reading, nor would I write a review for a movie if I hadn’t seen it.

It’s not a groundbreaking concept; it’s logical.

If a person is unfamiliar with material or facts about a certain issue, his opinion about it can’t be regarded as anything more than an arbitrary thought. And personally, if my opinion is uninformed, with no factual backing, I’m certainly not going to share it and publicize my ignorance.

First, I’m going to educate myself.

But in the midst of the government shutdown, I’ve learned that many people feel differently.

When the government shutdown began on Oct. 1, footage aired on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” of citizens on Hollywood Boulevard voicing their opinions about the Affordable Care Act. Nicknamed Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act is a sizable point of contention within Congress.

The proposed health care reform is largely to blame for the two parties’ current stalemate on national spending, which caused the government shutdown. 

Kimmel’s crew asked participants which health care plan they supported: Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Citizens weren’t hesitant to voice their completely illegitimate opinions, along with unsound reasoning to back them up. 

Some favored the Affordable Care Act, calling Obamacare “un-American.” Others supported Obamacare and claimed that the Affordable Care Act was an inferior choice because it wasn’t available to everyone.

But they’re one and the same, and what’s really un-American is that there are citizens who don’t know that. Citizens who are willing to broadcast that fact on national television. 

Similarly, I’ve seen countless, just as ridiculous social media posts since the shutdown went into effect. From 20-somethings to middle-aged stay-at-home moms, everyone seems to have an opinion, a large portion of those based on information that’s just factually incorrect.

My Facebook friends have accused President Obama of single-handedly deciding which divisions of the government to continue funding, while others have tweeted that the shutdown is just something Congress decided upon, willy-nilly. 

On the shutdown’s eve, a woman even voiced concern that Taco Bell would close in lieu of the government’s impending condition. Oh, honey.

And these people are voters.

To those unaware:

The government shutdown went into effect because Congress can’t agree on a spending bill. No one suddenly decided to shut the government down; it’s just the protocol for the situation.

And this isn’t the first time the government has shutdown. It happened in 1995, 1990, 1987, 1986 – need I go on? 

While it’s charming that you’re under the illusion that President Obama has so much centralized power, I’d advise you to review your junior high government notes so you can learn about the system of checks and balances.

And though I never thought this would need to be articulated, Taco Bell has no government affiliation.

As citizens of the United States of America, we have an opportunity to participate in and criticize our government, a luxury many people across the world don’t have. While it’s great to see that so many people realize and are enthusiastic about that, the way in which so many people approach this privilege is disappointing.

We’re responsible for electing our nation’s leaders, something we can’t do well unless we’re accurately informed.

So if you aren’t, instead of spending your time broadcasting your ignorance, for the sake of our country, please spend it educating yourself on the issues.

Bailey is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]