“Government, keep your hands off my Medicare!”
Commentators and comedians alike had fun with the cognitive dissonance represented by the statement above, found on more than one hand-scrawled sign at Tea Party rallies. But while opposition to government is more at home on the political right, ignorance about the role of government is a bipartisan malady.
Liberals may shake their heads at the “ignorance” of the Right, but we’ve seen focus groups in San Francisco comprised of liberal Democrats argue about whether or not the Bay Area Rapid Transit system is public transportation. Years of research and polling have shown that there is a broad lack of understanding about the role of government in our everyday lives. Many Americans are unaware of just what’s public and what’s private. Why is that?
Government programs may be victims of their own success. When a public system works well, it becomes less visible.
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