I'll start off by admitting that I don't know how "new" this trend is, hence the reason I did not give it that qualifier in my title; however, it is something that has recently begun to stand out to me.

I've noticed a disturbing trend in politics of restating or informing people that alternate opinions or concerns exist, while at the same time saying and doing absolutely nothing to actually address them.

Example:  Fill out, create or sign any given petition on Whitehouse.gov and you will get... a lovely email that is nice and flowery and thanks you for participating in our government while at the same time either listing the pittance that has already been done as if that somehow solved the problem (or at least shows the the President is "on your side"), or simply restating your concerns and giving a verbal pat-on-the-head response that doesn't actually address the concern at all.

On a more local level, my school district has been attempting to re-vamp our school calendar to address the roughly 5% of students with credit deficiencies and make time for them to make up the credits they need to graduate, thereby raising our graduation rates.  Among the many concerns with this:  Child care costs to those who work (the new calendar adds three extra weeks of "vacation" time during the school year for students), economic losses (teachers may not be able to get summer jobs due to shortened summer vacation time), and the fact that it is disrupting the learning process of 95% of the student population in order to address the 5% who are failing to do what is necessary to graduate in the first place.

What did I get today?  A lovely letter announcing that we will be adopting this new calendar in 2013, and listing all of the skewed statistics* and the concerns I just listed above... without addressing a single one of them.

It's like the government is saying "we acknowledge that you have concerns and problems with what we're doing... we just don't care."

It really makes me wonder if this is just another form of the social climate of "validating" peoples feelings.  Validating doesn't mean anything if you don't actually do something about it!

It's like one person in a relationship getting caught cheating and saying, "I understand and validate that you feel hurt and betrayed by my lying, cheating ways."  The implication being that while I'm going to placate you with recognizing your concerns, I'm also not going to do anything about them and, in fact, plan to continue doing exactly what I want to do despite acknowledging the problems that it creates.

This is why people don't vote.  This is why people feel unable to do anything to affect real change.  Because even when we do voice our opinions and opposition we get the equivalent of a pat on the head and a "That's nice, honey.  Now go play, the grown-ups are talking."


*skewed statistics being a poll about calendar options that did NOT include an option to not change the calendar at all, but instead only included a choice between two schedules which only varied by start and end dates of "vacation" times, not duration of said times.

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