Thursday, October 14, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part xiv

In the ongoing efforts of this blog to promote its primary author's failed career as a writer, the DBH Dance Party presents this week's column from the St. Clair Times. As always, if you disagree, feel free to go get a life comment here or find me on Twitter.
Also worth noting: the quotes from Daniel are approximations of conversations he and I had in the past. It's my column and I'll make things up if I want to. And to be perfectly honest, Daniel probably DID say these things, or at least he wishes he did.
We thank you in advance for your feigning of interest.

Free to vote, for better or worse

My friend Daniel the Red is a man of many rants. It could be the temperament that comes with the hair; I’m not sure.

His biggest concern, as we near the first Tuesday in November? Voting. He thinks there’s too much of it.

You read that correctly. Dan despises all the campaigns in popular media — most of them aimed at young people — encouraging them to vote.

“Rock the Vote.” “Get out the Vote.” “Vote or Die.”

He’s the inverse of whatever that sentiment might be.

“It makes my blood boil,” he told me.

It’s not as though he’s opposed to the democratic process, mind you — quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just that he wishes you’d study a little before going to the polls.

“It’s part of our mainstream culture of celebrity,” he told me. “You know how big a role that played in the last (presidential) election. People who don’t know anything should stay the (expletive) home on Election Day.”

Interestingly enough, this school of thought is one of the many reasons our Founding Fathers opposed the idea of a pure democracy so much; many of them equated a government in which everyone voted on everything with mob rule.

Thus, of course, was born what is now a democratic republic, with safeguards in place to ensure the majority can’t run roughshod over everyone’s rights. It’s why we have a bicameral legislature and three branches of government — for our protection.

The trouble with requiring voters to be “educated” is the historical precedent. Put simply, “voting tests” were among the many tools our forefathers used to keep large segments of the population (specifically, blacks and poor people) from having any say in government.
What? We gave them the right to vote! It’s not our fault he can’t tell us who fought in the Second Prussian War we just made up!

It was because of voting rights, remember, that Martin Luther King led a march on Washington, D.C., that Gene Hackman solved murders in “Mississippi Burning” (I’m almost positive he did all that in real life and wasn’t acting É OK, maybe some of that was made up) and that the National Voting Rights Act of 1965 went into effect (given a 25-year extension in 2006 by the last presidential administration).

Everyone seems to agree that the upcoming election — in which Alabamians will choose between two milquetoast candidates for governor, among other things — is “an important election,” just like every other “important election” that came before it. And you will undoubtedly be encouraged by outlets everywhere — including this one — to vote and let your voice be heard.

Might want to take a few minutes to study the candidates before you do it, though.

No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that
democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

— Winston Churchill, 1947

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I was pondering this type thing this week and thinking how hard it is to 'educate' yourself about what each candidate thinks, and wishing that they could put a sentence (a tweet?) under each candidate for what they stand for. It wouldn't matter if they had someone else from their campaign wrote it for them, it would just be the main thing they would have to be held accountable to if they won. That way I'd have something other than Rep or Dem to go by. I don't look forward to figuring it out this time.