David Miller sort of posed a question similar to this to me, and I've been thinking about it, but I'm struggling with solutions. The political blogosphere has the ability for frank and honest discussions between those who care about issues, coming from both sides of those issues. But what do we do about those who decide to vote out of public duty, but don't do their homework on what the people they elect actually do and have actually done? Our nation will only be as good as our average voter, and honestly (I know I'll be accused of being elitist), I don't have alot of faith in the average voter.
Most of the people I ride the bus with, don't understand the electoral college, the separation of powers doctrine, who the last five President's were, or even who their State Senator is. Many of them do vote, however, some of them Democrats, more of them Republicans. On what basis do they vote? I haven't been able to get my hand around this. Is it name recognition? Who has the most and prettiest signs? Do they know the candidate personally and think well of them? Is party affiliation the driving force? I'm sure the reasons are all over the board.
I think one thing that would help, is the insistence upon a civics course in order to graduate from High School. I would also encourage high schools to allow clubs associated with political or issue/based affiliations. Perhaps each high school can have it's own political blog and allow for posts and discussions with perhaps some moderation from a faculty member. Maybe it is happening already? I'm staring at my 30 year reunion coming in a couple of years, so I'm not in touch with the younger crowd. But my experience has taught me, that someone engaged in political discussion in high school, tends to remain engaged and interested and is more likely to read the paper or watch the news.
And what about the rest of the electorate. How do we get them engaged, not only in voting, but discussing openly the important issues of our day? IRL, I have never shied away from political discussions (even though I've been chastised a few time) in public. I've even been willing to take a position opposite my own, if it will cause discussion. But I am often perceived as a weird outlier, someone who gets caught up in politics too easily. I can almost hear them say, "ol Obi, there he goes again."
i apologize for the rambling. But I am open to suggestions in how to get Americans engaged in their own governance. Good government rarely comes hand-in-hand from an ill-informed electorate. But I don't know what to do to raise the bar for that electorate.