posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 10:43 AM
I have a very special place in my heart for members who discuss IDEAS in addition to people and events. Great topic.
This is a tough issue for me to make up my mind on because low voter turnout is in some cases symptomatic of a variety of underlying problems which
would manifest themselves in other ways if we simply made voting mandatory.
For instance, some people just say no to politics. People like my grandma. If you're a non-confrontational person with fairly simple concerns in life
(ie: you worry about the immediately important things, such as finances, and try not to stress over "what-ifs" or bad policies which don't
seem very closeto home, you won't be inclined to take an interest and inform yourself on politics, much less vote.
Now my grandma always has voted; but she's always asked my grandpa, my dad, and myself how we were voting because are values were similar to hers and
we, as union men and active members of the community, were usually informed about the issues.
Lets suppose though that she didn't have us to draw on. Let's suppose my grandma had to make up her own mind, and was going to get a ticket in the
mail if she didn't vote. Well she'd go vote, and she'd vote a straight party line based on campaign ads and word of mouth. You don't want a few
million of my grandma showing up on election day- god only knows what might happen.
They'd probably just write in their favorite celebrity and you'd wake up on November 8th and be informed that in a stunning upset, neither party had
gotten enough votes to maintain its place on the ballot and that Michael Douglass had been drafted in a write-in campaign based on his performance in
"The American President", followed closely by the impressive write-in showings of Stephen Colbert, Pamela Anderson, and Jerry Falwell. (Oh my God,
that would be great- President Pamela and Vice President Falwell. Reality TV's got nothing on me!)
I'd like to see some kind of voter information be required, except that I'd be very worried about disenfranchisement then.
It hard to really figure out how to draw the line between liberty and responsibility here.
I don't want the country neglected, but I don't want it run by uninformed or stupid people either, but nor do I want to start setting standards on
who is "good enough" to have a vote, because the fact of that matter is that if you asked 10 people to compose a list of standards for voters to
meet, I bet at least 4 of them would have at least one standard I don't meet (and even then most people would probably consider me above average!)
I think education may be the best way to encourage people to take responsibility. I have A LOT of bones to pick with the education system in this
If it were up to me (and I realize it's not) for the last 2 years of highschool, every single student in America would spend at least 2 hours a day
reading the news and at least once a month would have to debate an issue with another student in front of the class. After that, if you really didn't
care, fine, be an idiot and don't vote. I bet someone who got an education like that would begin to realize that policy has consequences and would
take the time to vote.