Sunday Thoughts: Voter Apathy, Life Apathy – Laodicean?

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Couch potato

One of the greatest threats to democracy is voter apathy. A voter who is a citizen of a country is the fuel and engine of democracy.

In political science, voter apathy is perceived apathy (lack of caring) among voters in the elections of representative democracies. Voter apathy or lack of interest is often cited as a cause of low turnout among eligible voters in jurisdictions where voting is optional and the donkey vote where voting is compulsory. Voter fatigue describes a possible cause of voter apathy: elections that are held too frequently. Political alienation may be confused with voter apathy. Sometimes, alienated voters do care about an election, but feel estranged or disaffected from the system or somehow left out of the political process.

Voter apathy can occur when eligible voters do not vote in public elections. Outside of election time, voters may seem disillusioned with the political process or politicians in general. In a country supposedly run by elected officials, disenchanted and inactive citizens can present problems. For example, when very few people vote, the politicians elected do not represent the beliefs and values of the general population. The major cause of voter apathy is a general lack of agency. Citizens may doubt their ability to make a difference. Historically America has settled around 60% voter turnout (for presidential elections), though many feel that more recently due to the heightened political environment, many believe that people are now getting engaged. Are they?

American voters are projected to turn out at the polls next year in numbers not seen in a century or more in U.S. politics, experts predict, sending both major political parties into overdrive as they seek to win voter support and get them to fill out a ballot. Turnout in 2018 was the highest it had been for a midterm election since 1914. This November 2020, predictions of 65%-66% of eligible voters will turn out, the highest since 1908 when turnout was 65.7%.

But there is something that may be happening in terms of apathy that these numbers may not show. That is “life apathy.” Life apathy is a lack of interest in life activities or interactions with others. It can affect your ability to keep a job, maintain relationships, and enjoy life. Everybody experiences apathy from time to time. You may sometimes feel unmotivated or uninterested in daily tasks. A person who feels apathy is not necessarily one who is depressed, however; all patients with Depressive Disorders will exhibit prolonged and profound characteristics of apathy, called a deterioration in ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living). Some key symptoms of apathy have been described as:

  • A decrease in or lack of motivation. A person displays diminished motivation that’s not consistent with age, culture, or health status.
  • Behavioral, thinking, or emotional changes. Changes in behavior may make it difficult to engage in conversations or perform daily tasks. Changes in thinking include a disinterest in the news, social events, and deep thinking.
  • Effect on quality of life. Changes in behavior negatively affect a person’s professional life and personal relationships.
  • Changes in behavior not caused by other conditions. The changes in behavior are unrelated to physical disabilities, substance use, or an affected level of consciousness.

So how has “Life Apathy” manifested itself? Here are just a few, but perhaps you can think of more:

  • Older people today are more disconnected from their families and more likely to be living alone.
  • Obesity rates of 42.4% from glutenous living.
  • Regardless of the reasons, 40% of Millennials are living at home with their parents and not getting out into the world making a life.
  • The Incel Rebellion has already begun, the idea that men are increasingly disinterested in sex and family formation.
  • Many Millennials are focused on the cares of this world, sports, entertainment with fun and self exhalation the focus of life goals.
  • 2019 stats: average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their mobile devices, Millennials spend 5.7 hours, however, 13% of Millennials and 5% of boomers spend over 12 hours daily.
  • According to the latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics, marriage rates hit an all-time low in 2018, the most recently recorded year. The national marriage rate fell from 6.9 to 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people from 2017 to 2018. The latest data shows the same declining trend in fertility rates. Apathy tends to impede one’s ability to commit to anything or anyone.
  • One in six U.S. Adults takes one or more psychiatric drugs, approximately 40 million Americans, a rise of 65% since 1999.1 in 13 children taking psychiatric medication in the U.S.
  • Twenty-one million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment. Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990. From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from overdosing on a drug. Alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion every year. Approximately 70,000 Americans died from an overdose in 2019.
  • From 1999 through 2018, the American suicide rate increased by 35%. Suicide is a major contributor to premature mortality as it ranks as the second leading cause of death for ages 10–34 and the fourth leading cause for ages 35–54. 
  • Today, One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated. 
  • Then there is the Coronvirus that made everyone sit at home submissive, and getting fat and feeling isolated- and it may not be over.

You might think, but wait, are there not major movements protests/riots trying to change society to a new utopia today? True, but it is actually a small percentage of the population. And many even amongst this group are joining more as either paid participants or as a mere pass time to have fun seeing things destroyed. There can be no doubt that for some participating it is about political correctness and virtue signaling and fear of being ostracized if they do not join. A majority of Americans, 71%, agreed that Black Lives Matter has “brought attention to real racial disparities in American society,” a double-digit increase from 2016, though 70% of respondents think that the movement has not improved race relations. So as Americans watch their cities burn and the rule of law go by the wayside, most still are ambivalent about what is happening in society.

Though voter turnout may be high in the 2020 elections, many will be voting on pure emotion – “Orange Man Bad.” Actual issues are not thought through with critical thinking and are either based on emotive events, dubious science, or downright lies. Very few actually investigate on their own to see what is the reality. They accept one-sided and highly censored media propaganda. They see the pain of the Black Lives Matter protests/riots, Coronavirus, and many other events and say, “please just make the pain stop.” Hence, many will vote, but a vote for apathy. They do not realize what is happening to their country.

This willful blindness may fall under the concept of bystander apathy (i.e. fence-sitting )and refers to the phenomenon in which the greater number of people witnessing an event, the less likely people are to engage for the better. The most textbook example of this is called the Genovese Effect, involving multiple bystanders watching a woman being brutally murdered but not intervening thinking others must have already. The 2020 America bystander effect plays out on technology and is an overload of information 24/7, exhausting through bombardment, leading so many to assume someone else, politicians, media, Cultural Icons – must already have taken up the cause to fix things (diffusion of responsibility). A simple retweet hashtag is almost too much for some – #ApathyRus. This sense of entitlement that many Americans possess only further increases the general apathy.

 The Right Wire Report has previously spoken of how society tends to repeat its behavior in history; see Tytler Cycle of Freedom – Where are We?. The idea states that democracy is temporary in nature. It is difficult to exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. As we stated before, our current society is in the Apathy stage and can quickly head to the Dependency and Bondage stage.

Simply put, the majority of Americans are not engaged with building their families, communities, or country. Do they care? Yes, but enough to take action? Many Americans are neither hot nor cold; they are lukewarm and apathetic to the events unfolding in their country.

This reminds us of a similar story spoken you may have heard before. Again as we always say, one may not be religious nor believe in any Biblical text, but the similarities are striking even if metaphoric. The story involves speaking of the time of the end of the world. The symbolism (or duality) starting in Revelation is about seven churches on a mail route. But many feel it is a prophecy of seven church eras leading up to the time of the end. Each city on the mail route, being an era of the church historically/prophetically after Christ’s death. Some believe that the church eras described are contemporaneous or sequential – either way, the point is the same. Listen to what the text of the last city (the last 7th church era just prior to the Tribulation of Revelation) of Laodicea says, starting in Rev 3:15:

“I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing! And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight. I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God.”

This seems to describe a semi-God rich apathetic society. An eerily accurate prophecy meant for us? Reading past Revelation 3 into further prophecies, they are ominous of the end. Perhaps the good news is that the prophecy is conditional based on our individual behaviors. Will God spew many Americans of today out of his mouth because of their lukewarm apathy? Are you Laodicean? Please give us your take in the comment section below.