There’s a couple of reasons here. I think the main one is, we’re pretty much emergencied out by now.
Think about it: Al Gore gave us a decade to fix the planet, and that was twenty years ago. We were running out of oil too; that hasn’t happened either. And… anyone else remember the Y2K scare? We were going to have riots, looting, and blood in the streets. Never happened; wasn’t going to either. Trillion dollar industries depended on those computers working, so they spent plenty to make sure nothing happened. Simple, easy fix; tons of panic.
I think David Brinkley said it best: “The one function that TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if it were.”
Don’t mistake me; I’m not saying there’s no problems out there, or even that Russian campaign meddling isn’t a serious issue. On the contrary: It is serious; very serious, in fact — and there’s thousands of very serious law enforcement professionals out there whose job it is to make sure that, if it happens again, the impact will be minimal.
In fact, most of the major issues we see trumpeted on the news or read about in our Facebook memes and Buzzfeed articles are nothing to worry about. We’re still reading about the water supply in Flint, Michigan; right now, it’s probably better than your own city water, and that’s not news. (Don’t believe me? Get it tested.) This list from 2011 hasn’t changed much since then — but just try to find a reporter that’s covering it:
It’s not news. It can’t be; the world is about to blow up because Donald Trump got elected. Yes, I know; that happened more than two years ago and we haven’t blown up yet. Just wait; he’s not out of office yet!
See what I mean? There’s a thousand reasons to panic out there, and those are just the ones we’re aware of. There’s a thousand times as many we don’t know about, can’t control, can’t stop, and very probably that won’t happen. And each and every one of us can care about a couple, maybe three, before it starts taking over our lives.
So it’s not that we don’t care; it’s that we can’t. We’re physically incapable; our adrenaline production is pretty much burnt out by now. A few more years like this and we’ll be jaded enough to live in Manhattan.
Oh, the other reason? Because it didn’t matter in 2016, so why should it matter in 2020?