Educate yourself before you dig your grave

Since the dawn of time, man has had bad takes. We can only thank God that podcast mics weren’t around in the garden of Eden. 

Think before you speak: one of the several mottos plastered on the walls of your third-grade classroom. Yet in the age of social media, that sentiment has evolved to “think before you post.” 

Besides the obvious personal ramifications of posting a controversial opinion, not limited to getting pulled aside by Sharon from human resources, you could unwittingly be spreading misinformation. Sure, maybe your private Instagram account with 27 followers — 23 of them being family members — may not have reach. But add a platform to the user, and your misinformed opinion has the potential to be hailed as truth. 

In a podcast with comedian Theo Von, rapper Sexyy Red stated that she liked former president Donald Trump on account of him “giving people their free money,” referencing the stimulus checks rolled out during his term.   

“We need him back in office,” she said. 

To someone uninformed on American politics, this sounds like a great idea. Free money? No strings? And Sexyy Red endorses him? You can count on my vote. 

Take a civics class, however, and you’ll find that Trump was hardly responsible for the checks. He simply signed the bill Congress created and even slowed the delivery of the checks to ensure his name was on it.  

Americans aren’t known for our education system, rather our hankering for a cheeseburger and country music. After all, only one in three US citizens would be able to pass a citizenship test, according to the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. 

Which creates a dilemma: we now have politicians who prey on the fact that two-thirds of the population couldn’t pass a test about the basic rules of our country and then rely on rappers that fall in the 66% to peddle misinformation on podcasts. 

It’s OK not to know, and it’s not your responsibility to know the ins-and-outs of the American government. Lin-Manuel Miranda surely doesn’t know after writing “Hamilton.” Even the Reddit news-junkie probably gets confused by the electoral college. But you should be able to know and understand your rights. And maybe be able to recite the Miranda warning just for giggles. 

You don’t need to be up to date with every piece of legislature to have an opinion on politics. But before you draft that tweet, perhaps take a cue from your third-grade self and reflect if you know what you’re talking about. 

Considering that we’re currently living in a digital age, thinking before posting information is especially important. Information within pocket’s reach also means the ability to spread information — or misinformation — at the touch of a button. 

Ignorance is one thing, but deliberate ignorance is a failure to your civic duty. And for God’s sake, it’s three branches of government.