Dissonance is not dissent

With the recent court verdict between Samsung and Apple, it’s apparent that in America no one can accomplish anything if someone else opposes it.  The basis of Apple’s lawsuit is that Samsung’s devices and software are derivative of the iPhone and iOS.  Even though Samsung is counter-suing, the specific examples that both parties cite are still ridiculous.  Both phones have easy to understand icons and rectangular designs, but this should not be enough for a lawsuit.  Apple’s lawsuit  is based on some sort of spoiled Steve Jobs inspired world where you can do anything you want — if you have enough money.  But the idea of tantrums preventing progress isn’t just unique to our legal system or Silicon valley mega-corporations.  It also permeates our society and our government.

Just look at our political system for an example of glorified whining.  When is the last time a law was actually passed without one party or the other attempting to sell the proposed law as some sort of grandmother-killing, foreign agenda to turn all Americans into socialists?

Besides the obvious example of the budget crisis a year ago (in which our entire country almost came to a standstill because neither political party would come to a simple compromise), just look at the presidential race.  Not only do we phrase it as a competition between two sides, but it is filled with vitriol and personal attacks between candidate and parties and it is encouraged heavily by the media.

Practically anyone who watches TV has heard attack ads claiming that Obama is a Kenyan and that Romney has a car elevator, but how many Americans, much less citizens who plan to vote, know their views on foreign policy or what Obamacare actually accomplishes?  The American people would rather hear entertaining claims than real facts.

This is not only in our national politics, but also in our society and educational system.  Many parents complain about their local school system, but they do nothing to change it.  Instead of joining a parent teacher organization, working with their own children more or volunteering to pay higher taxes, they instead blame the situation on hard working, underpaid teachers and administrations.

Our opinions are based on arguments between talking heads on television and attack ads funded by billionaires.  Coverage of major news stories on any network consist of few facts and more arguing between celebrities egged on by hosts disguised as reporters.  To make matters worse, this is frequently interrupted by advertisements bought by anonymous billionaires in order to influence public opinion under guises like “Americans for Prosperity” or “Citizens United.”

It’s not that we’ve never had problems with an apathetic citizenry in America, but if we want our nation to endure, maybe we need to stop complaining about the lack of change and start looking into the issues ourselves.  We need to realize that we can debate without withholding progress.