Growing Public Cynicism About American Politics

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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There is a communal sense of disparagement in almost any political system for the inner workings of government. When at a Town Hall meeting or in a county courtroom, or when watching a Mayoral race develop on the news, there is always a basic air of suspicion and cynicism that can be found among the people absorbed in the event. They are regularly shared feelings; feelings that might have originated in how well they and their families have adapted to "the system." Collectively, the number of people who take cynical stances toward the processes of our political system is continuing to escalate.

One can realize, after some private dissertation of the historical expansion of our American media-at-large, that always-mounting public cynicism focused toward the United States' political processes has risen exponentially with the fiscal growth of the country's weeklies and dailies and the advent of media syndication. In due course, unclosing senses of mistrust and discontent with the workings of both national and closer-to-home branches of government provided the profit motivation for media publications to voice and elaborate, in print and on television, upon the unsettled feelings about American Politics that the populace has always shared civically.

In turn, the vast editorial attention divvied to political media pundits has brought underlying, cynical political views to new heights of public consciousness.

More and more American Citizens are born every day, and in general, politicians have to represent a broader mass of people now than at any time before in history. It can be felt that the more people a politician must serve, the wider in range his sense of political scope must be. This public understanding has also (rather misguidedly) come to categorize modern politicians to many as savvy, say-anything-to-please people with a hazy set of political values. Cynicism is felt here, too.

The cynical approaches people exhibit for analyzing what the government does are a front, in some instances, for more deeply rooted feelings of contempt or abhorrence for authority. Whether this type of occurrence is due to a generally pessimistic attitude, a deficient basis in political understanding, a personal revelation, or anything else, it may be the most rampant reason for growing general cynicism about the political process.