Monday, October 3, 2016

Should we all be allowed to vote?

Consider yourself lucky. As a voter. You can vote.

I recently sold my house, and land. I'm just renting now. When this country first started out, I wouldn't have been allowed to vote as I'm no longer a land owner. Though, I am white.

Non landowners couldn't vote. I wouldn't have been able to vote. Slaves couldn't vote back then. Many couldn't, few could.

What we have now though is that many allowed to vote. Citizens in general can vote. Republicans have abused America for going on thirty years now, even longer. Because they find voters easily swayed to vote poorly.

As it is said, "Democrats are not very good at selling good ideas while Republicans are very good at selling bad ideas." An informed citizen will vote for a good idea poorly sold but not a bad idea well sold.

Donald Trump could now potentially become president because of that after all. Is THAT a good thing? No. If you really need to be told that, it is not a good idea. Also, Trump's choice of collaborator Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate as a calming and stabilizing factor was sensible, but Pence also has his serious deformities as a politician.

There are many people who mistakenly believe he'd make a great president. Because they listen to him. Because they believe his lies. Because he exerts authority and acts like he knows what he's talking about. It is also said that to act like you belong, no one will ask questions.

All that is true because those supporting bad ideas and people, are not politically well educated. Because they are easily swayed. And because they can vote.

Is that really a good thing?

From Fair Vote:

Consider the realities of the election of 1789, the first election of the new Congress. The overall number of people who were allowed to, and actually voted, was miniscule in state after state. For example, Delaware had a total state population of just over 59,000, but only 2,059 ballots were cast, meaning just 3% of the population. Georgia’s turnout was around 5%, New York about 3% and Rhode Island has what seems to have been lowest turnout of all at an abysmal 0.7%.

Typically, white, male property owners twenty-one or older could vote. Some colonists not only accepted these restrictions but also opposed broadening the franchise. Duke University professor Alexander Keyssar wrote in The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States:

At its birth, the United States was not a democratic nation—far from it. The very word "democracy" had pejorative overtones, summoning up images of disorder, government by the unfit, even mob rule. In practice, moreover, relatively few of the nation's inhabitants were able to participate in elections: among the excluded were most African Americans, Native Americans, women, men who had not attained their majority, and white males who did not own land.

John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and later president, wrote in 1776 that no good could come from enfranchising more Americans.

In the beginning of America democracy itself was considered bad.

Now a days social democracy is considered by many to be bad. Bernie Sanders' political affiliation, though all it really refers to is sane democratic governing, is in effect just governing with an appropriate consideration for the people that the government is governing. Social democracy should really just be called, democracy.

But people now are really not at the center of all our considerations. That's just lip service politicians feed to the people. Money and power are at the center now and really always have been, all in the hope that their benefits will filter down to the people.

Those people who are apparently just an afterthought. If they don't have the money themselves to assure they are above the problems in the country at any one time, then they are lost. Some social programs to be sure to help the worst of them, but the majority of Americans are just getting by.

Taxation at the beginning of America was important and if you paid taxes, you could vote. You had after all, a right to as you'd paid for your vote. You'd invested in America. You deserved a say in things. Restrictions were placed upon either the amount of taxes you paid or the amount of land you owned, in assuring who could vote.

Landowners paid taxes. It was an easy way to assure investment in the country. There was a solid connection. Governors needed to implement changes. They needed lawmakers to invoke taxes so they could afford to make those changes.

Landowners also tended to be more highly educated than the unwashed masses. A vote they cast the hope was, would do something. It would affect positive change. It would bolster the economy, strengthen the nation, make life better and safer, by association for everyone.

On an associated topic, is it a good idea for the common man to become president? We so love the ideal of a "common man" or person. One of us ascending to the highest office in the nation. It's romantic. It's hopeful. It gives us a sense of community, of greatness, of one of us running things. Of not being ruled by the upper class, or by royalty.

So is it really a good idea for everyone, anyone, to vote? 

As John Adams put it (again from 

Depend upon it, Sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end to it. New claims will arise; women will demand the vote; lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other, in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks to one common level.

It does beg the question: Should those who are not knowledgeable about issues and politics have a vote? isn't that dangerous? Look at the state of things? On July 1, 1971 the voting age was lowered to eighteen. It was lowered because we were sending eighteen year old males and even younger with their parent's permission, off to Vietnam to die. To be maimed.

In the 1960s the mindset was one of inclusiveness. Which sounds great and all. However, do you let the ignorant, those with little physical if not just emotional investment in the country to vote? Is a vote something to play with, to experiment with? Or something to be judiciously cast with wisdom and restraint?

I might agree that if you are a citizen you should be allowed to vote. That would however include criminals. It delves into, crosses over to not killing American citizens in a "war on terror" or a "war on drugs". It encroaches into just who should be allowed to become president.

Would you allow for instance, some commoner to run your large corporation as CEO? Or would you want someone who has experience and education, a proven ability to handle that type of a position? That massive of an undertaking?

Let's say you own a professional race car. You're driver sucks. He keeps losing races. In your mind anyway, he's not doing a good job. You find  you're sick of race car drivers. So you get someone who says he can win. He's competent but is driven around for a living and doesn't actually drive himself.

He professionally produces and films car races. He knows a lot about the process of the actual races, but not the specifics about actually driving a race car. And you are going to put him in the driver's seat of a million dollar race car and think he will win a race and won't wreck it, potentially killing himself, if not others?


And yet, who do we allow to be president? Shouldn't there be some kind of a baseline for who can become president? So we don't have only the elite, the wealthy always and only becoming president, we need to fix out schools so anyone can educate themselves and become president.

In THAT sense, it could be great. Yes, that is potentially possible now. President Barack Obama is in fact, a case in point. But some do not even have his advantages in life. So we need free school for everyone, not just the wealthy or those who find enough advantage in life to be able to attain a higher education and in the end, possibly become president of the United States.

It's a noble thing to be sure, how we have set things up. But is it truly functional? 

To slightly paraphrase what an anonymous poster said on Political Pistachio

There were black and women landowners at the time of the founding of the country. There were free black men in America at the time and when a man died, his estate became his wife's, thus she was a landowner.
This practice ensured that those voting had something to loose....

But the few and far between there I'm sure. Part of the article on that page offered a quote to give one pause:

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. - Benjamin Franklin

It is perhaps, what we are seeing today in things like Citizen's United.

I'm not really saying we should limit who can vote. I love the inclusive idea. But we seem to have a broken system that is being sustained as it is, and therefore it is rapidly becoming worse in many ways, because it is broken. Certain politicians like Newt Gingrich going back to the 1990s have polarized the country and government in a disingenuous way for Republicans and conservative ideals to take control, even when it wasn't wanted.

Through various dirty tricks like gerrymandering, spin, disinformation, misinformation and even outright lies they have gained control. Even when there are more democratic voters in a state or area. The damage they have wrought is legion. In putting their conservative extreme ideals into practice they have killed and poisoned people in Flint, Michigan and elsewhere. They have lost literally billions of dollars with HB2 an anti-LGBT law in North Carolina. It goes on and on like that.

In the end, should we restrict voting then?

I would say no. Somehow we need to wrest control from those who would damn us to this cycle of bad and educate our citizens. Somehow we need to fix our schools, better our laws, remove from power those who do not belong there, and affect positive changes. Not through revolution. But through the system we have had for over 200 years.

Can we get there?

I believe through social media and simply the growing of the baseline knowledgebase of America and the world, we will one day have to face the facts. We will find one day that we can no longer not see reality for what it is. We will laugh at, decry, shout down and eliminate those who make up anti science arguments that win in congress and at the pools. Eventually we will wake up.

There is hope. We have hope. And we have time on our side. And what is right. Because in the end, the truth always wins out. It always escapes the darkness it is immersed in by those who wish to hide it for their own purposes.

The issue is not if, but when. Not when but how soon. Not how soon but how can we affect more immediate changes.

See what is going on. Not just through superficial sound bites. Not through lying politicians and ignorant citizens. but through education. Both through our school system and through ourselves.

Because in the end this is our country and it is up to us, each one of us, to educate ourselves. To be involve in our nation. To know what is really going on in the world at large and to put down those who would subvert reality for their own self interests.

To answer the question, Should we all be allowed to vote? I'd say the answer is yes, but no. We should not allow stupid to vote. We need to wipe out stupid and ignorant. We need to allow, to enable the intelligent vote to make it to the ballot box, to the mail in ballot. We need to see that all who should be allowed to vote see their vote cast.

Mostly however we need to make sure that the vote they cast has behind it intelligence, accurate information and a desire to see the nation prosper, to survive and remain strong for all American citizens and not just the few. 

No comments:

Post a Comment