I watched the season finale of Bill Maher tonight, although this show would have been more appropriately title "Mr Dreyfuss' Opus" as the actor hold court on the importance of reinstituting civics. Maher always ends his show with a series of comedic "New Rules", and after watching a protracted debate about the responsibility of the media in choosing what to report, I've decided to add one more rule to Maher's list.
New Rule: We have to stop blaming everyone but ourselves. It has become very posh to do a lot of finger pointing, and there is certainly plenty of blame to go around for all that is wrong with our nation. The President, for leading is into the Iraq Quagmire, the Democrats, for a general lack of both spine and alternatives, and the media moguls, for placing a higher importance on revenue than journalistic integrity. But the fact of the matter is that a republican democracy works only if the citizenry holds its leaders accountable and demands answers. Instead of wasting time whining about the press and the stories it chooses to cover, we can simply refuse to watch yet another Laci Petterson story. Maher's comment that when aromatic food is placed in front of us we cannot resist eating it reduces us to the role of dogs with the media as our masters. I am probably more knowledgeable about politics than the vast majority of Americans, yet I can name more members of the Cleveland Browns than the U.S. Senate. Yes, the media should be held to a higher standard, but that does not excuse the general public from having the right and responsibility of being informed citizens.