As human beings we tend to habituate to just about anything. The easiest example is the hum of the refrigerator in our own homes. Our refrigerators do make a sound but we seldom notice it. Why? Because regular off and on sound of the frig is always in our lives.
I decided to use post-it notes to help with my faulty memory. I would stick the notes around the edge of my computer screen. What could be better, right? I knew I would be looking right at them every day. And those post-its worked for a little while, but then guess what? Yep. I habituated to them. Essentially I developed the ability to look at my computer screen, with the post-its in my field of vision, and still not pay the slightest attention to them. They became invisible to me because I saw them all the time.
Now let’s move from refrigerators and post-it notes to politics. (How’s that for a segue?)
To remain a sane and ethical society, sometimes we need to consciously override our human nature. In this case it is extremely important that we shake ourselves out of habituation with our elected representatives basing their governing decisions on what will keep them in their jobs (in power) more than on what is actually best their constituents. The best place to begin with this awakening is with the broadcast, print and internet media. News is presented as if it is simply understood that the essence of any political story is how it influences the constant power struggle between the two political parties. Immigration is not the issue, for instance, but that Republicans are likely to vote for an immigration bill because they are now aware that they need to improve their standing among Hispanic voters. Even the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed quickly became about how this was big feather in the cap of President Obama and the Democrats and something to be down played by Republicans.
The ethical dilemma posed by decision-making for our nation being made predominantly based this never-ending game of king-of-the-mountain should be the lead political story. We as citizens should be outraged at the selfishness and immaturity being displayed by those we have elected to represent our best interests. And in a free society we depend on our free press to lead the way into these investigations. Our media should at the very least be persistently pointing to this issue.
Our refrigerator is making a dangerous noise and we need to hear it.