Monday, December 7, 2009

Keep out the vote

My esteemed colleague makes the argument that "get out the vote campaigns" are not only tacky, but undermining the foundations of Our Solid Democracy. Since I always order Freedom Fries with my shake, I have to take issue here. Tacky? Yes. But Get-out-the-vote campaigns are a pillar of the democratic processes, and leaving elections to only the well-informed would only pave the road to hell, however intentioned.

A) You can't legislate human nature, only diffuse it. Trust me, I've tried. One way or another, though, politicians will be poking and prodding their constituents to vote. Those troops on the front line, out putting yard signs in the middle of the night or picketing at busy intersections? A lot of those people probably have jobs that depend on that person winning: Often times, the person running is or will be those picketeer's bosses. By having a larger element of the body politic vote, you diffuse this effect: Politicians can only hire so many votes (Well, maybe not).

B) Organizing is a valid political act. The vote isn't the only element of a democracy, nor is it even, taken individually, a very effective one. Single votes rarely register as a blip in elections. Nor should they. Nobody challenges
C) It distracts our politicians from causing more damage. Have you met a politician lately? They're really great at selling. If they only had to convince intelligent people willing to research to vote for them, they'd have no problem steam rolling through, intellectualizing any problems or objections away. Instead, they are constantly organizing, promising, shaking hands and kissing babies (not vice versa!), pulling for a pet project here and telling school kids not to do drugs there. That in turn creates real changes that matter to real people (those country was built on pork, damnit!) and not the sweeping overhauls and massive building projects that soil politicians' nightly repose.

In closing: Get out the vote! Preferably for the politician with catchiest slogan and hottest endorser. They've earned it.

1 comment:

  1. I believe, esteemed colleague, that you may have missed the main thrust of my argument. I'm not at all saying that people shouldn't be out arguing their points in the noisy public square; as an established blogger whose posts have been read by literally tens of people, that would be very hypocritical of me. People should push their views vociferously, but I just don't think it's a good idea to recruit voters whose sole contribution is to prove that advertising funds are vital to campaigns. Get people to agree with you, by all means; but don't push them to actually vote in agreement unless they were going to vote anyway.

    Your argument w.r.t. diffusion has merit, but you're advocating a race to the bottom. That may well be where we're headed, but I don't have to like it!