Monday, November 05, 2012

You should CARE!

Tomorrow, of course, is election day. Given the newly growing emphasis on early voting, this has really been more of an election season than a single day. Which is all fine...there is no reason why everyone should have to show up on a Tuesday.

So today, Election Eve, I am going to do something that I never, ever see anyone do. In fact, I am going to do the exact opposite of what I see an enormous number of people do. I am going to tell you that I have no interest in encouraging you to go out and vote. In fact, given the choice, I would rather you stayed home.

I don't feel like citizens of a representative Republic should be begged or cajoled to exercise their right to participate in a government of the People. I don't think that someone should have to explain to you why you should want to vote. I really, really, don't think we should be encouraging people to cast a vote if they care so little of the process and devote so little attention that they need to be reminded.

We shouldn't be encouraging everyone to vote. We should be encouraging everyone to care. Don't go out and vote just because you can. Go out and vote because you care enough to pay attention, ask questions, identify the issues you really care about and make an informed decision.

I do care. I pay more attention than most. I ignore talking points ("Romney shipped jobs to China!" "No, Obama sent jobs to China!" "Romney hates minorities!" "Obama hates white people!"). I can explain fully why each side claims that the other is trying to "loot Medicare" and why they are both wrong. And right at the same time. I can explain why they both start their arguments about taxes and spending from a set of assumptions that is so faulty as to make almost all of their projections absurd.

I know that Obama didn't "save the auto industry". I know that he brought the troops home from Iraq because he couldn't get an agreement from the Iraqis to keep them there with immunity, not because he wanted to bring them home (or, rather, send them to Afghanistan). I know that he promised in 2008 that his health care plan would lower premiums, and that in September he delivered an applause line in his acceptance speech because they only rose at twice the rate of inflation. I remember when he promised a new era of foreign policy, and delivered on that by bombing a half dozen countries, carrying out drone strikes against our allies and giving himself the authority to order assassinations. Last I checked, Guantanamo Bay is still holding prisoners.

I know that Romney's balancing of the budget in Massachusetts is not an accomplishment, it was statutorily required. I know that "I will create 12 million new jobs" is not actually a plan. I know that preserving the defense department budget, preserving the current benefits in Social Security and Medicare and cutting everyone's taxes is not, shockingly, going to decrease the deficit. There is even a slight chance that it might make it worse. I know that "getting tough on China" is throwaway language. The same goes for Iran, Russia and anyone else.

I will not purport to be the most informed voter in America, nor the smartest or the least gullible. But I can promise you that I will cast my single vote with the best analytical reasoning that I have to offer. I will cast it with great care and seriousness. I would rather that my vote not be diluted by some nimrod who only voted because Kid Rock or Lena Dunham encourage her to.

We don't benefit as a nation from higher voter turnout. We benefit from higher voter engagement. We benefit when voters demand that their elected officials act reasonably and responsibly and hold them accountable for their actions, not just because they show up.

Frankly, in my perfect world, everyone else would stay home, and only my vote would count!


Jessica said...

I used to be one of those people who would get so furious tht people did to go out and vote, but than I got even more furious when people tod me they voted for Mickey Mouse. I wish everyone would care enough to pay attention to more than just commercials that tell you nothing, but I know that many don't, so like you I wish they'd just stay home!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

You, my dear, are in the top 1% ... of people who thoroughly educate themselves about our political system and candidates. However, most people in our country haven't got a clue how our country works, no thanks to a ridiculously complicated system.

I care. But, I also do not have the time (actual or mental) to deeply delve into the issues. I don't. Sure, in an ideal world, I'd know a hell of a lot more than I do. But, that's just the way it works for me and I think my vote should count, too.

That said, I do agree with your sentiment that a lot of people in this country don't care (so, don't vote at all) or only vote on party lines or only vote the way their mamma votes, etc. We certainly can strive to be better educated and there's plenty of room for improvement.

Mrs. Adventure said...

I couldn't agree more - well said and well written. XO.