“They’re on to you, Dad,” chirped my 10-year-old daughter, who is wise beyond her years and can sometimes be a little sarcastic.
She’d just heard the president declare journalists the “enemy of the American people,” and since I’m a journalist, am I not the enemy?
I rolled my eyes. Enemy of the people. That’s some reward for a career spent advocating for consumers.
“Do you really think I’m the enemy?” I asked her.
“No,” interrupted my 14-year-old son. “But I’ll tell you who is.”
OK, I know what you’re thinking: Insert anti-Trump diatribe here from the idealistic teen-ager.
But let me field this one, son.
I’m not the enemy. Neither is the president. The real enemy is ignorance. I’ve always said that, but it’s true now more than ever.
As consumers, ignorance makes us vulnerable to predatory corporations and governments. We don’t read the fine print in our contract, don’t check the terms and conditions, or vote for a candidate without bothering to understand what he stands for.
This is stupid.
So every day, I tell my valued readers: Don’t be stupid. They want you to gloss over the details, but you must not.
As citizens, ignorance has the potential to destroy our society. We have a duty to be informed.
If you lean left, you better be subscribed to Breitbart, Fox News and the Western Journalism Review, which churn out conservative news and commentary. You need to know what the other side is thinking. If you’re conservative, you have to read Democratic Underground, Huffington Post and Mother Jones, so you understand where they’re coming from.
And no — don’t read a blogger who “excerpts” from those places. Read for yourself. Make up your own mind.
Burying your head in the sand and pretending that you’re right and the rest of the world is wrong is no way to move forward. In fact, it’s the fastest way to level the vibrant democracy we live in.
Pick up your favorite dystopian novel. That.
The president’s statements are absurd, of course. Journalists are no more the enemy of the American people than politicians. His declarations are just the latest in a long series of irrational, provably false tweets that are making America look not-so-great.
The only way to escape from this dark, fractured place is to become less ignorant.