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Op-Ed: An Educated Electorate…

This article contains opinions and/or editorial content.
When I started the Lodi Valley Chronicle over a year ago, I said that one of the driving forces behind my decision was that “an informed electorate is essential to a free democracy”.
I would like to modify that statement just a titch.
An informed and educated electorate is essential to a free democracy.

Education > Information

Americans (and most of the world) have access to more information than at any time in history. The problem isn’t lack of information, it’s lack of education on how to understand and interpret that information.
The news has always been curated. Throughout history there have been those who told us the “news we need to know”.  In many situations this was used to promote tyranny and “keep the peasants in line”. In other cases it was to sort the truth from the bullshit.  There’s a reason that the New York Time is “The Newspaper of Record” and Walter Cronkite is the most trusted man in journalism.
The World Wide Web has given us unprecedented access to information.  But without education and insight to help us understand and interpret that information, we’re falling down the rabbit hole.  Worse, we’re enclosing ourselves in echo chambers and elevating “what my people say” over the more complex and complicated truth.

Mea Culpa

I have failed to fully live up to my obligations as a journalist and a teacher.
I have been reporting the news–and that’s important–but I have not been “informing and educating the electorate”.  I could offer up a dozen excuses–but mostly they’d be just that: excuses.

Threshing the Wheat

Starting this week, I will be working to educate as well as inform.  As a journalist, I will do my best to present the information in a factual, unbiased manner.  I will do what I can to separate facts from falsehoods, and create a forum where we can all debate the finer points of interpretation.
Stan Ruesch and Mark Kohl have both agreed to review the first set of these articles to correct my mistakes and offer suggestions on how to better present the information.

One to Ten

I will start this coming week with a series of articles explaining the first ten amendments to the US Constitution–the Bill of Rights.  They are the most cited sections of our Constitution, and arguably the least understood.
If we are going to debate the law, we need to know what it says, what it doesn’t say, and how it has been interpreted throughout the years.

Speak Up

Education requires engagement.  It’s not a one-way street.  If you have questions about anything I write, please ask.  If you disagree with what I present, please say so. I’m a Lodian, so I don’t mind blunt comments, but I expect you to be respectfully blunt.
To comment on the site, you must register with a name (anything you want) and an e-mail address1I am the only one who will see the e-mail address, it won’t be published. This is a choice I have made in order to reduce spam and keep the discussions civil.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 I am the only one who will see the e-mail address, it won’t be published

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