The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Why apathetic non-voters don't matter
(Inspired by Ken Grundland.*)
Opinion surveys consistently say that the majority of Americans cannot name their congressional representative and senators. Large numbers of Americans don't vote, and they don't care.
Who leads the country? These people couldn't care less.
Yes, this is apathy.
But how exactly does it serve the country to have them voting?
That is an important question.
Usually, the people complaining about voter apathy tend to be liberal. (I'm a moderate myself, but this is something I have observed. )
Is this because they feel these uninformed dummies will vote Democrat? That their votes will be easily bought by some federal money here and there?
What does that say?
I would argue that these people have tuned out because things aren't bad enough for them to care.
That may sound harsh, but after every election, the police still work and jobs and roads are still there, so these potential voters don't really expend the effort to care and read a newspaper.
I agree its pathetic; but hey, that's freedom.
You have a right to a vote in the same way you have a right to a gun...
But just because you have a right to a gun doesn't mean every person needs to have one.
In reality, the fact that most people don't have guns says something good about our society: most people trust the police and their neighbors to maintain security.
When I moved to my house, I recused myself from voting for local school board officials because I didn't know anything about them. The Democrats could have been socialists; the Republicans could have been Nazi's.
I didn't know, so I did not pull the lever.
I wish others would do the same. If you don't understand the issues, don't vote!
The guy that wants to vote for Bush because he is also a Texas Rangers fan: stay away!
The woman who wants to vote for Gore because of the way he romantically kissed Tipper: stay home on election day!
The American political scene will be better with their absence.
But - that said - there is one kind of "voter apathy" that must be discouraged by people of all political persuasions.
We must see beyond our differences and support the end of gerrymandering - where the party in power gets to draw districts in a way that allow it to keep power.
It has happened in Texas (and the Republicans were legally right, but morally wrong).
And it has been reality for sometime California. In fact, in California, the state recently had elections to its statehouse, and not a single seat changed hands, because the party in power (the Democrats) had drawn districts in way that made sure it couldn't lose.
That is a recipe for "voter apathy."
Why vote if your vote is certain not to make a difference?
This is a bad kind of voter apathy - millions of people who care but don't vote, because it simply won't matter.
This is exactly the kind of "voter apathy" that every citizen of a democracy should fear.
So what about it? Drawing districts in every state should be left to bipartisan committees.
How about that?
*I like Ken Grundland's site.
It's not that I agree with him; I don't.
But he does write essays that at least give me food for thought.
It's like he's my writing coach, saying "what do you think about...."
And hell, when I don't have anything else that inspires my muse, I'll bite.