Citizens have an important responsibility

Published 8:00 pm Monday, December 11, 2017

By Joseph Bass

It takes more than electing the right person to make America great. Many factors are required to have a representative democracy work successfully. One of them is having citizens that can read, think and analyze information dealing with society. A population of people that cannot or will not carry out this important role are easily led down destructive, counter-productive social and governmental paths.

Another factor is citizens realizing that some groups actively seek to misinform and mislead. This occurs daily through announcements by politicians, business leaders and the mainstream media. Some segments of the media promote false political agendas, hoping to get politicians elected that represent their erroneous points of view.

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Unfortunately, many Americans do not realize much information communicated toward them is biased and based on incomplete, misleading, or incorrect facts.

For example, a common media trend deals with reporting of university and college graduates being “saddled” with student loan debts. These news reports always involve one or more graduates that are unable to have a career in their field of study or have enough income to make payments on their loans.

Such reports always analyze high educational costs and propose simplistic solutions. These include government paying the loans instead of holding the graduates responsible, giving selected students money for their education while charging the high costs to others, and making all college and university educations free, getting the money from the people that pay taxes.

Thinking citizens should notice a common characteristic regarding this type of reporting. The stories only focus on one factor of a complex issue. And more government action and costs are always the solution. People that do not carefully read, think about and analyze the information provided are being easily led down the wrong path.

In this example, many factors are involved as to the sources of the problem and its solutions. These include the following:

Too many high school students are lead to believe they should go to college, and that once a degree is in hand, they will be a success in life. Many of these should have explored other career options.

Many students should never pursue a college degree because they do not have the academic and behavioral capabilities to succeed at that level of education. This can be seen regarding several issues. One, colleges and universities have added remedial education programs for ill-prepared high school graduates that did not exist until the 1960s. The other is the fact that counseling departments have been added, attempting to help the same students. These have greatly increased costs.

Also, beginning in the 1960s, colleges started adding easy programs so that ill-prepared students could at least receive a degree. Some of these were added to help star athletes maintain eligibility based on grades. I can name several people with a degree, even from prestigious universities, flipping patties at fast-food restaurants. And some of them are angry and, understandably, feel misused by society.

We need many more citizens to play the important role of reading, thinking and analyzing our social challenges. That is how we can make America great.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at