Voting Like your parents
Voting - things to consider
On election night a friend admitted he did not vote. His attitude was, “They’re all the same anyway. Who cares. Politicians are all crooks.” And forget all the initiatives we Californian’s were given the opportunity to vote on.
How very sad. I pointed out to him that ever since revolutionary days, our military people have been fighting, struggling, enduring terrible hardships, suffering life altering disabilities, even dying, so we could have the right to vote. Not many countries in the world do people have that privilege. In many, if not most countries, tyrants rule and the masses have little or no voice in the decisions that affect their lives.
Still, while our democracy may be the best form of government, it is not without flaws. The people we elect and the decisions we make at the ballot box can change lives, and on the national level can have worldwide, lasting ramifications, yet our choices are largely made by television and radio sound bites, and by slogans on mass mailings.
I believe only a small percentage of the electorate bother to really study the issues, to really understand the subtle nuances that may differentiate candidates. How many people really make the time in their busy lives to educate themselves on both sides of issues instead of just going along with their political party’s nominees and recommendations? It’s easier to curl up in front of the TV and watch some mind-numbing show.
When our forefathers were debating our constitution there was one school of thought that only landowners should vote. That the running of a country was too important to be left to uneducated men. Later, poll taxes were used to keep blacks and other minorities from voting. No one would suggest returning to such Draconian measures. But perhaps some kind of literacy test to determine a voter’s basic knowledge of how our country is run would not be such a bad idea. After all, should someone who’s intellect goes no further than watching situation comedies, who never reads a newspaper or magazine, who never considers opposing views, be trusted to decide on candidates and issues that could change the very course of history. I think there are probably millions of people voting who could not even pass a 6th grade civics class exam, yet their collective votes may impact the destiny of our nation.
I have a sister who tells me she is voting straight Democratic party because that is what Mom and Dad always did, and that is what all of her friends are doing. I think there must be many people, perhaps most people, who do the same, regardless of party. “I am voting Republican because my folks always have” is probably just as common as “I am voting Democrat because my folks always have”.
That is kind of like lemmings following their leaders off the cliff, rather than thinking for themselves. It is logical when one is young to do as their parent’s do, but when one becomes an adult they should think for themselves, not just do something because that is always the way it was done.
In fact, I don’t like labels. Sometimes I agree with the liberal view, sometimes with the conservative. Both sides usually have good arguments. Which is why I am a registered Independent. The trick is to study the issues and decide which candidate, or initiative has the most points you agree with. Chance are, at least in my case, neither side will always have all the best points.
“Don’t talk politics or religion”. You hear that often. My wife often preaches it to me. Because it may upset people. People just want to think happy thoughts. People want to talk about the latest movies or TV show, or where they are going on their next vacation. Again, how sad. As I have already written, we have the freedom to discuss politics in our country, something most of the rest of the world may envy. Ditto for religion. So, let’s do it. But let’s try to do it in a calm way, respecting each other’s opinions. But, let’s agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable.
I think we should relish the freedom to discuss politics’ - or religion. I don’t want to just hear from people who think the way I do, I want to hear all the arguments on both sides. That way I can more intelligently form an opinion.
Finally, I hope in the future candidates will tell us, in detail, what they plan to do if elected, not spend all their money and efforts telling us how bad their opponents are. I could run for office if I offer all the platitudes that have become standard - like I’m for more jobs, I’m for strong defense, I’m for education, I’m for lower taxes, I’m for a balanced budget, I’m for universal health care, I’m for dogs and cats and babies, etc etc. Fine, me too. Now please tell my specifically how you plan to accomplish all these things.
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