Ignorance No Longer An Excuse

11/08/2008 06:34 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In his run for presidency and her run as his sidekick, Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin liked to take jabs at then Senator Barack Obama's eloquent speeches, as if talking intelligently meant being an outsider. They tried to use it as a red herring in reaching out to the "commoners" so that they wouldn't see the lack of substance in McCain's campaign. It was as though they wanted Americans to embrace their ignorance. Fortunately, ignorance lost on Tuesday.

Bill Maher spoke about ignorant Americans on his show last night without apology. I couldn't agree more, but before anyone takes umbrage, the first definition in my dictionary for the word ignorant is "lacking knowledge." With that in mind, most of us are ignorant about something. Yet, when that something is as important as the welfare of our country, we must work to gain knowledge so that we know the difference between manipulation and truth telling. The thing is, this becomes very difficult when most Americans get their "news" from pundits who have their own agenda. When these pundits are given a platform, many listeners assume what they say must be accurate: Obama wasn't patriotic because he didn't don an American flag pin. Obama hung out with terrorists. Obama was a Muslim. And this is where ignorance was obvious since many believed that being a Muslim was equal to being a terrorist.

So, yes, ignorance abounds. But whose fault is it? Making education a priority is a start in order to combat that lack of knowledge. Students need to be inspired to learn about the world so that they know that Africa is a continent and not a country. Somehow Sarah Palin missed that geography lesson. She also seemed to miss out on how to communicate with grace and dignity since in defending herself following McCain's and her loss, she referred to her campaign aides as "jerks." Finger pointing aside when it comes to that expensive wardrobe and those numerous missteps, what is glaring here is that the United States was not being put first in the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP pick. Those campaign aides may indeed be jerks, but more seriously, if they knew how unprepared Palin was to be not only the VP, but a heartbeat away from being the president, they are devious manipulators purposely having kept the American public ignorant. But it cannot just be the campaign aides' fault that we are ignorant.

Even though it has been hijacked for quite some time now, in spite of the numerous cable "news" channels, the media also has much responsibility. Americans have to work extremely hard to get an unbiased report. And most Americans are too tired after a long day's work trying to pay the bills to have to sort out just who is telling the truth. Besides, these hard-working Americans sometimes just want to be entertained when they can finally collapse in front of the television. Often the pundits who spew opinions as though their words were truth fill that need to stay in touch with what's going on in the country while providing that entertainment. Unfortunately, that is much of the problem. However, I now have reason to believe that the welcome change will cross many different avenues while pundits' accusations will need to be proven and politics will no longer be run by secretive and self-serving politicians, starting with the presidency. If President-elect Obama remains true to his word, we will be in this together, which means that we have been given a responsibility to be less ignorant and gain the knowledge needed to move forward so that we are the United States of America.