Midterm Elections (EP.71)

In Personal Responsibillity, Podcast, Vote, Voting by Will Luden0 Comments

Summary

The coming November 2018 midterms will be hugely important. Will Trump be impeached, or will he have another crack or two at nominating Supreme Court Justices? Is the country drifting further to more redistribution? Will we take secure national borders seriously? Who–if anyone–is going to successfully address the ridiculous healthcare and college costs?

Advice from others: We are urged to vote, and to encourage others to vote. ACLU Colorado writes, “Voting is one of our basic rights, but it is meaningless if we don’t take time to make our voices heard.” I agree. And it is dangerous and irresponsible if we vote but don’t work hard to understand in depth what we are voting on. As is increasingly the case, the emphasis is being placed on on the rights, in this case the right to vote, not the equal or greater responsibility attendant to each and every right.

Here’s my advice: Don’t vote. You heard right, you read it correctly; don’t vote.

Unless.

Links and References

Why We Vote

ACLU Colorado

Contact

Please do reach out with comments or questions.  You can email me at will@resultswithreason.com, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Transcript

The coming November 2018 midterms will be hugely important. Will Trump be impeached, or will he have another crack or two at nominating Supreme Court Justices? Is the country drifting further to more redistribution? Will we take secure national borders seriously? Who–if anyone–is going to successfully address the ridiculous healthcare and college costs?

Advice from others: We are urged to vote, and to encourage others to vote. ACLU Colorado writes, “Voting is one of our basic rights, but it is meaningless if we don’t take time to make our voices heard.” I agree. And it is dangerous and irresponsible if we vote but don’t work hard to understand in depth what we are voting on. As is increasingly the case, the emphasis is being placed on the rights, in this case the right to vote, not the equal or greater responsibility attendant to each and every right.

Here’s my advice: Don’t vote. You heard right, you read it correctly; don’t vote.

Unless.

Unless you have thoroughly scrubbed and understand the issues at hand and the people who are running. And the history behind the issues and the people. Are you listening carefully to the opinions of those with whom you disagree? How many news sources do you consult? Do you regularly read or listen to sources that you know will give you very different views and opinions? If you have an opinion about Supreme Court Justices, have you actually read the part of the Constitution that deals with the role of the courts in general and Justices in particular? And don’t forget the parts about the balance of powers.

Before you support any sort of get-out-the-vote campaign, even the part about getting out your own vote, make sure that campaign focuses on targeting qualified voters. Not just citizens who have correctly registered, but registered citizens who have fulfilled their responsibility to have performed truth-seeking research, applied unbiased logic to the facts during their research, and tested their conclusions through discussion with equally qualified voters who have come to different conclusions. That’s what it takes to be an informed voter. Voting with any less preparation is irresponsible and self-indulgent.

Any right comes with an equal or greater responsibility. Just as, for example, Second Amendment rights come with responsibilities, so does the right to vote. Anyone who possess a gun must take the responsibility to be well trained, take refresher courses and practice frequently. If the gun owner falls short of that, they should either sell their guns, or put them away permanently.

It might be clearer if we look at a more common activity, the “right” to drive. The word “right” seems out of place here, doesn’t it? Don’t we look at driving as a privilege? We need to be trained to drive, pass a test, pay, and follow the rules of the road. If we fail anywhere along the line, we risk losing our driving privileges.

Why isn’t the same true of voting? I get it that we can’t test people prior to voting, but people should test and qualify themselves. In the same way that people should never get behind the wheel if they are unfit to drive (tired, angry, using any mind-altering substance, etc.), no one should vote if they are unprepared. Now don’t come back at me with how irrational, uninformed, and generally wrong other voters are as a way of justifying your casual vote. Stand out. Be responsible. Set an example.

Initially, only white males who owned property could vote. The terrible news was that it was grossly unfair; the good news is that we had an informed electorate. Not due to race or gender, but voter preparation. Voters were informed, had “skin in the game” (property, perhaps some level of participation in the Revolution, etc.), and overall voted a carefully considered ballot.

Example: Have you ever heard of the 1788 “Federalist Papers”? Some have, and very few have read them. If you were assigned them as reading with a major paper due in a college class, you might have considered yourself put upon and complained. These dense works were originally published as a series in local papers, basically the only news source back then, and voters read them and decided if they agreed with what they had read. (No quick glance and a “like” or a quick, negative comment on Facebook.) And agree with them or not, the reader’s political brains were challenged and exercised. This limited group of voters had high voting standards.

The voting franchise was unfairly limited. Over time, we have, correctly and belatedly, added citizens of many types to the list of eligible voters–notably blacks and women.

As we expand the voting rolls, voting standards need to remain high. In fact, as our society, economy, and the world around us all become more complex and more impactful, voting standards need to be raised. The moral and political need to become more fair in expanding the voting franchise is a poor excuse for diluting the quality of the research and thought that goes into deciding important issues and electing the men and women to lead us at all levels of government. We are voting to decide everything from how our local roads and sewers are built and maintained, to how we are taxed, to deciding who the leader of the free world will be.

Here’s a test: If your’s was the only vote during any given election, meaning that the way you voted would decide that election, wouldn’t you dig in and do a good job of researching the issues and candidates before voting? I certainly hope so. And believing that in a democracy every vote counts equally, we can do no less as one part of the electorate. And we should expect other voters to do the same. And we cheat the voters who did their homework if we don’t do ours.

Vote and get out the vote? No.

Vote and get out the qualified, well researched and thoughtful vote? Absolutely.

I publish two podcasts each week; mid-day on Tuesday and Friday. Every week. I am also considering doing these as videos on YouTube, and would love to get your thoughts.

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:

  1. Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper.

Today’s application is again straightforward:

  1. Personal Responsibility. Engage in the political conversation. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe, for what you know to be true.
  2. Be your Brother’s Keeper. Be patient with each other; some will understand what you saying immediately, others will not. Teach and encourage; don’t criticize and reject. Love and lead. Remember, we are all in this together.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act.  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.

Will Luden
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Will Luden

As an author, speaker, public company board chair, family man, a man with many friends (and friends-to-be), citizen and a child of God, I am driven to contribute. One way to for me to contribute is to start thought-provoking discussions.My overall objective is to stimulate “Passionate, Relentless, Reasoning.” My specific goals include getting people to act (only) after Reasoning.
Will Luden
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