Do you know why you vote? (Or do you?) Out of obligation? The positive reason of wanting your (well-researched, please) candidate and party to win? Perhaps the negative reason of wanting the other, disliked, candidate or party to win. And what about voting on tax-related issues; are you an automatic “Yes?” or “No?”
Links and References
Do you know why you vote? Or do you vote? Most people I know do, but we are a slim majority. In round numbers, there are about 235M people of voting age in the US; 54.9% voted in the Presidential election of 2018; typically fewer vote in so-called “off-year” elections. There are various outreach campaigns designed to increase participation; everything from helping the disabled to vote, to intentionally working to register the “undocumented.” With the sole exception of where the outreach is the only way the voter could have either registered or voted, I am against all outreach efforts. Am I against voting? Of course not. Am I against casual, if-it-is-easy-then-I’ll-do-it voting? Yes. Absolutely.
Before I reached the then voting age of 21, I remember hearing newscasts about “absentee” voting. Before mail-in ballots became commonplace, you had to prove that you were ill, out-of-town, etc., before you could qualify for a mailed ballot. There was a fair amount of inconvenience if you wanted to vote and were not able to get to your polling station for a proveable reason. They counted the absentee ballots prior to reporting the news, and reported the count the moment the polls closed. Here was a typical news report, “The absentee ballots have been counted, and 80% of them voted XX. This is not predictive of the final vote, as 80% of the absentee ballots every year vote XX.” And here was another typical election announcement, “We are having bad weather today. This will help the XX party.” The point was clear; XXs were far more willing to overcome obstacles, albeit small ones, in order to vote. They were clearly more motivated. I puzzled about this for years. What did this mean? Did it matter? Over time, I came up with a couple analogies. First. If there were certain inconveniences when it came to getting to school, and further inconveniences when it came to studying in the evening, wouldn’t the students who overcame those issues be much more likely to have mastered their studies–actually know what they are talking about–than the ones who didn’t bother? If you were a teacher and could choose your students, which group would you rather have in your class? Here is a second analogy. You are an employer in a business requiring skilled workers. Do you want workers who had to jump a small hurdle or two to learn about your company, go through an exacting application process and find a way each day–rain or shine–to get to work? Or, would you, as an employer, be okay with applicants who could not have been bothered unless you picked them up, glossed over their qualifications, and made the application process trivial?
I want the students who were willing to deal with some inconveniences in order to complete their studies. And I want those same type of motivated employees. And I definitely want those type of voters. No, I do not want to introduce artificial obstacles. I do want fully qualified, well-informed and motivated voters. They will make the best decisions. Note that I did not say they will vote this way or the other; I said they will make the best decisions.
Overall, yes, but not always. Even determined voters need to examine why they are motivated. Is it out of a sense of obligation? Is it the positive reason of wanting your well researched and well thought out candidate and party to win? Perhaps it is the negative reason of wanting the other, disliked, candidate or party to lose. And what about tax-related issues; are you an automatic “Yes?” or automatic “No?” Neither automatic approach can always be right.
Let’s apply the two Results With Reason main tenets to today’s issues. The two main tenets that we believe in at Results With Reason are:
- Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper.
This podcast’s application is easy:
- Personal Responsibility. List the top four or five issues that are important to you and the overall community. List the facts–courts correctly call those facts evidence–and have rules for what is evidence, and what isn’t. Apply non agenda-based reasoning to the facts, finding the candidate who is most likely to resolve the listed issues correctly. In other words, who is going to get it right–not based on biases or opinions, but grounded in facts and unbiased reasoning.
- Be your Brother’s Keeper by encouraging others to follow the process we have outlined. Remember, we are all in this together.
Now it is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Results With Reason, it is not only change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.