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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Utopia or Dystopia? The hidden history of Bay Area cults
Utopia or Dystopia? The hidden history of Bay Area cults
Linnea Koblik and Tallulah Knill AllenJuly 12, 2024

Silhouetted against the sweeping landscapes of the Bay and the Marin Headlands, the Bay Area is well known for its position in the counterculture...

Public protests and perspectives
Public protests and perspectives
Ava Stephens, Gabriella Rouas, Aanika Sawhney, Nadia Massoumi and Grace GehrmanJune 29, 2024

Reflejando otra vez con los ELD seniors
Reflejando otra vez con los ELD seniors
Ava CarlsonJune 27, 2024

El año pasado, tuve la oportunidad de hablar con estudiantes del grado 12 en la clase de English Language Development (ELD) sobre sus experiencias...

Political ignorance causes frustration

“I hope Romney doesn’t become president,” the well-dressed woman to my right declared. She picked up her white wine and took a delicate sip. “He’s a cult leader.”

I turned to stare at her. “What?”

She seemed shocked by my disbelief. “He’s a Mormon, honey,” she said, as if that explained everything.

My jaw dropped. “That doesn’t make him a–” I cut myself off as my mother, ever the tactful hostess, caught my eye and shook her head. “Oh,” I finished lamely, swallowing my indignation.

When people vote for a president, they’re supposed to be voting for a candidate they believe will help our country fulfill its international and domestic roles. So why are political discussions devolving into ignorant mudslinging instead?

Shortly after Barack Obama took office in 2008, the press caught wind of a rumor about his nationality. Media fanned the flames of mixed amusement and anger, a birth certificate was demanded and produced, and the very lady who’d pronounced Mitt Romney a cultist had ranted about those she called “radical rabble-rousers”.

And yet there she sat at my dining room table four years later, complacently accepting the same kind of lie simply because she wanted to.

Her attitude is not uncommon. All around me I see people enthusiastically supporting a candidate whose platform they could never explain and whose opponent they haven’t tried to understand. Few people have opinions that are truly their own–rather than their parents’ or friends’–and even fewer have based their opinion on solid facts.

Reading about a presidential race shouldn’t be like reading People magazine. News outlets need to tone down the sensationalistic fluff and give voters facts, and voters themselves need to be smart enough to check up on those facts and understand the other side of the story.

I’m not saying that voters should spend weeks of their time doing in-depth research of every issue presidential candidates have ever addressed or avoided. But voters are deciding on the figurehead of our country for the next four years, and I can’t rest easy with the thought that they might make their choice based on ignorant assumptions.

So sit down, search up the candidates, and read a little bit. Maybe you’ll find that Obama actually is American, and that Romney’s religion does not make him a cult leader: maybe you’ll learn about what actually matters.

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