Why I Discourage “Rock the Vote” Initiatives–I prefer Abraham Lincoln to Attila the Hun

It’s election season!  And you can bet that everyone will be telling you things like “vote or die!”, or “Rock the vote” (because apparently it’s suddenly cool to vote, but not to read the Constitution), or “you’re not a good citizen if you don’t vote”, or “people died for your right to vote!” (okay, so shame me into taking action).

Did any of these people consider the grand fallacy of their thinking? 

Civic engagement isn’t about blindly casting a ballot for someone you barely know anything about, who stands for policies you don’t really comprehend.  If a citizen is casting a ballot because of identity politics, or some propaganda they heard, are they really doing justice to that “right”?  If they’re a potsmoker and heard that candidate Jesse Jones will make things easier for potsmokers, is Jesse Jones really the best candidate for the Nation?  Does the potsmoker even know that other policies will impact their lives much more significantly than that one ridiculous propaganda piece that they swallowed hook-line-and-sinker?

I don’t think that everyone needs a PhD in political science or history to project valid representative power through the ballots.  But if you know more about Jersey Shore, football, Comedy Central, video games, and socializing than you do about current affairs, and if you’ve taken more than you’ve ever given from society in terms of your own tax burdens, I really don’t think you should be voting.

If none of your blood sweat and tears run through the tax troughs of the government, then you probably don’t have a good reason to be telling everyone else who is the right candidate.  In that case, your blind vote will not benefit selection of the most meritorious candidates.  It becomes a tool for the manipulations of propaganda and the worst that politics has to offer.

In that case, it would be better for you to trust those who have skin in the game – intellectually and materially.  Coming around to vote every year doesn’t make you a good citizen.  Investing your time, money, and attention in civics, seeking truthful information, giving more than you take, paying taxes, and knowing more about your government and society than the latest entertainment fad makes you a good citizen. 

Voting of good citizens leads to good candidates.  Voting of bad citizens leads to Idiocracy.  I’d prefer for the idiots to stay home.

So I don’t participate in “get out the vote” initiatives.  I figure, the most basic litmus test is if you can actually remember the day you need to vote, by your own initiative.  If you can’t even do that, I’m pretty sure that you don’t belong at the polls. 

I make one exception.  I encourage everyone to remind their peers who are good citizens to vote, privately.  I encourage everyone to conveniently not remind those who they know to be bad citizens. 

I make this exception, because surely there are good citizens out there who are simply so busy, or emotionally distraught, or absent minded about scheduling. 

As for the bad citizens…well, when hordes of Barbarians are driven to the polls to blindly cast their votes based on deceptions and delusions of plunder, I’m sure that our public officials will be more like Attila the Hun than Abraham Lincoln.

Published in: on November 5, 2012 at 8:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

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