COLUMN: Nine-step program for apathy

Don Norvell

Very few, if any, politicians show the slightest degree of competence.

My first instinct is to regard this as an inevitable result of the Peter Principle: one is promoted until he reaches a level at which he is incompetent and stays there.

Why do the people allow this to happen?

Are there really registered voters stupid enough to vote based upon boxers or briefs?

Are there people who consider a candidate’s smile more important than his credentials?

Can refusing makeup for a televised debate really cause a candidate to lose?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

Too many people vote out of a half-witted sense of duty which completely forgoes studying the candidates. To remedy this problem, I have devised a nine-step program to transform the most apathetic person into a hard-core political junkie.

1. Read the United States Constitution

If you have taken an American history or political science class, you have a copy of it in the appendix of your textbook. If not, go to Repeat once per month.

2. Read the constitution of your home state

The Ohio Constitution can be found at This is a very lengthy document. Not even I could read it in one sitting. Repeat at your discretion.

3. Watch argument shows

Traditional news-reading can be done yourself with a daily newspaper. Argument shows such as “The O’Reilly Factor” better insure that you receive more than one side. You must watch religiously.

4. Be prepared to dump your girlfriend

As a political junkie, your views also serve as desirable qualities in a mate. For example, as an NRA member, I could never date a member of the Brady Bunch (the anti-gun group).

5. Read books written by hosts of and guests on argument shows

Step 3 is free if you already have cable. Paying money for your favorite blowhards shows true dedication.

6. Memorize random facts about the government

The order of seniority in the Supreme Court. Quotes from the Constitution, laws etc.

7. Program elected officials’ numbers into your cell phone

Letters are nice, but nothing makes the point clearer than organizing your friends to call every day to make your stance known.

8. Support the Legal Information Institute

Just go to and you will appreciate this valuable resource.

9. Read my columns

Side effects may include continuous anger at the world, sleeplessness, datelessness, mild alcoholism, beginning every sentence with the phrase “If I were in charge,” weaseling out of trouble by questioning the definition of “is,” accusing math professors of doing “fuzzy math” and having an executive branch up your behind.

Don Norvell is not responsible for improper use or even proper use of this program. Exercise extreme caution. Not valid in California – it’s not a real state anyway.

Don Norvell is a physics graduate assistant and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].