There have been a lot of popular myths in our culture throughout the years: Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the female G-spot, "Ghetto-Fabulous," the existence of Dane Cook's talent etc.
There probably hasn't been a more dangerous and widely-accepted myth however, than the belief that voting in a governmental election is a fundamental right which should be availed of at any cost; and that encouraging people to vote -- regardless of their knowledge of the candidates, issues or the correct direction to turn the knob to get out of their front door -- is always a good idea.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, P. Diddy -- a man who knows as much about politics as I know about flying the space shuttle -- launched the single most laughable get-out-the-vote drive in modern history. "Vote or Die" was memorable not only for its painfully ambiguous slogan and those silly t-shirts which bore it, but also for its attempt to convince a generation whose primary cultural influences were Paris Hilton and Ashton Kutcher to exercise their God-given right to alter the course of American history by pressing a single button (and doing almost nothing else).
Understand something -- I in no way want a decision which will affect every man, woman and child in America left in the hands of someone whose last experience with the electoral process was texting TRL for the 132nd time to ensure that L'il Jon & The West Side Boyz remain at the top of the countdown.
It's unfair though to target just Diddy and the relatively few over whom he holds sway.
The fact is that as of today we're three short weeks away from the mid-term elections, and as expected, the vote-at-all-costs campaigns are well underway. They're on TV, on the radio and on the internet -- and they all repeat the same message: "It doesn't matter who you vote for, just vote."
Except that it does matter who you vote for; as we've come to understand all-too-well over the past few years, it matters a great deal.
Voting is indeed a right, but it's also a privilege -- and one which shouldn't be taken lightly; encouraging people to vote without also encouraging them to learn about who and what they're voting for is nothing short of criminally irresponsible.
So here's a different message: if you have no idea what the candidates stand for and what the issues are, do this country a favor and stay home on November 7th.
Because there's nothing more dangerous than an idiot with a ballot -- except maybe the idiot that person elects.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Posted by Chez at 4:37 PM