THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS IN A DEMOCRACY

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The United States is always touted as being a democracy, which means that everyone should be able to participate in the political process. The chief tool for this is THE VOTE! Voting is important because every citizen, no matter how wealthy, has ONLY ONE VOTE. The advantage that the wealthy seem to have, however, is that they can use their money to influence a larger number of people, i.e., to reach more hearts and minds.

There are major barriers in the quest to use this valuable tool. The elderly often have problems getting to the polls, and poor people are sometimes reluctant to take off work to vote. In addition, certain states have gone out of their way to enact laws that suppress the vote among certain populations. African Americans, for instance, have faced many barriers in this regard. Today, there are numerous underhanded tactics to keep people away from the polls. Chief among these is mind control!

When you talk about mind control people think of the twilight zone or of crazed, wild-eyed conspiracy theorists. The fact of the matter, however, is that anything that can get people to think in certain directions can be seen as mind control. Politicians are notorious for using negative ads or just downright lying in order to influence people to vote for them and their causes. The reason negative ads are so effective has to do with EMOTIONS, and emotion determines the direction that the mind takes. Getting people riled up about something that touches their hearts is usually a surefire strategy for controlling what people think. Fear mongering happens a lot, with candidates using coded wording in order to touch the hearts, and eventually the minds, of voters.

There are also allegations of abuses of power that sometimes surface in elections. The Secretary of State of  Georgia who ran for the office of governor during the midterm elections, was accused of having millions of people purged from the voter rolls and of using other tactics in an effort to ensure a win. Getting people to the polls is one of the most important objectives during elections, and people must be lured to carry out their civic duty. Many people, especially African Americans, have lost their lives and livelihoods in a quest to vote. Yet, in modern times, it is very difficult to convince people that their vote counts. Imagine millions of people saying “My vote doesn’t count” and you begin to see the problem. It is one of convincing people to see a different manner of being; it is a matter of helping them to change their minds, to think critically.

The mental barriers are key in determining the direction that the country takes during the voting process. And mentality is first and foremost influenced by an appeal to emotions, as said previously. It works both ways. For example, Donald Trump supporters have been known to say that they may not believe everything he says, but that they “trust” him. This is illogical. Trump has tugged at the heartstrings of these people; he speaks their lingo. African Americans, on the other hand, who say their vote doesn’t count are responding to another kind of emotional input – years of oppression and exclusion. A terrifying past has caused many to go into their psychological shells to protect themselves proactively from rejection and failure. Their notion that their vote doesn’t count becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because many of them stay away from the polls. There is one major question that needs to be answered by this group: if your vote doesn’t count, why is there such a concerted effort to take it away from you?

Today, more than ever before, it will be important for African Americans to vote for the people whose ideas promise for them a better future, and then they must hold them accountable! The United States is not heading in a positive direction regarding Black people, so it will take crucial measures in order for meaningful change to occur. This will include, among other things, enhanced critical thinking skills in order to recognize lies that keep them from acting in their own best interests.  A Luta Continua.

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