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From YouTube/FactCheck.org. FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg. For details about supporters of the organization, click here.
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Whether you make a sign or write a letter or stand at a rally, the most important action you can take as a U.S. citizen is to vote. Sadly, however, the largest block of voters in America isn’t the 48 percent who claim to be Democrats, nor the 44 percent who self-identify or even lean toward Republicans. It’s the millions of people who don’t vote. In 2016, the United States Election Project, which tallied the official results, estimated that more than 100 million potential voters didn’t bother to vote. That is obviously more than the 60.5 million who voted for Hillary Clinton, or the 60 million who voted for Donald Trump, or the 6.2 million who voted for somebody else.
From Womens March Global, the international project “to amplify and activate issues using education, mobilization, dialogue, engagement and collective action in order to advance equality, justice, freedom and inclusion worldwide.”
As John F. Kennedy put it, “…the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all."
Kennedy could not have anticipated Donald J. Trump as a successor to the presidency of the United States. But his statement, and the broader context in which it was made, underscore the far greater challenge that confronts us as responsible citizens.
We are caught in an information crisis, and it’s largely one of our own making. This is a bitter irony of the 21st Century, in which, with wide access to more information more quickly than ever before, so many Americans know so little about their own country and how it’s supposed to work. Perhaps it is more accurate to call this willful ignorance, rather than lack of knowledge. The Trump presidency brought to the forefront what had largely been regarded as a fringe element of our society, fueled by prejudice and distrust and marinated in conspiracy theories, misdirection, and outright lies.
Soon after Donald J. Trump took office in 2017, The New York Times noted his presidency has galvanized political activism to a level of passion not seen since the civil rights movement. The Womens March of Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration, was the largest coordinated demonstration of its kind in American history. And it wasn’t just women, nor was it just in Washington. In Boise, for example, more than 5,000 people braved cold, soggy snow to march and rally on behalf of progressive issues. Revulsion at the antisocial positions espoused by Trump and others was reflected in marches and demonstrations that ultimately included more than 6 million people in 600 cities worldwide.