November 6, 2006

A Brief Editorial About Voting

If you cruise the blogosphere, you will find that there is a meme popping up that tells you whether or not you should vote. When you click on it, you are shown a photo and asked who that person is, and what that person's role is. Then, you're graded and told whether or not you should vote, or whether you need to "research the issues."

Now, maybe it's because I got a C+ on their quiz, but quite frankly, who are they to determine who should vote and who should do research? (Several of the questions related to foreign leaders, and I missed those. Some I misidentified, calling them "Senate Minority Leader" rather than "Senator".)

Believe me, I understand the need for an educated voter pool - we don't want to stuff the ballot box in either direction. However, framing the debate in terms of whether or not to vote - rather than the need to learn more about international politics - does our country a great disservice. This organization's mission (as per their web site) is
to combat the "Get out the Vote" movement that is pushed by organizations that would like to increase the number of uneducated voters to help their cause. encourages people to Vote, but only AFTER they have educated themselves on the policies and individuals for which they are voting. Voting should be considered a privilege and exercised with responsibility and discretion. Just like a final exam, responsible voting requires self-education and thought. When the time comes to cast your ballot, if you don't know for what or whom you're voting, then DON'T VOTE.
I agree with the next-to-last statement - too often, both sides sponsor voter registration drives in order to build their numbers, resulting in bad elections. However, voting is not just a privilege - it is a right granted to citizens. To deny them that right moves us in a dangerous direction.

It's curious because the movement is sponsored by the AARP (believe it or not) - and let's make one thing straight: voters have the responsibility to know what they're voting on. But they are not being fair - it's not about personalities, but about issues. Anyone can fail a "who is this", test - but can anyone discuss issues around stem cell research? The war in Iraq? They are right in that voters need to be educated, but here's a suggestion - take the time to educate them, not belittle them because they can't tell Christina Aguillera from Condoleeza Rice.

(Which I can do, by the way).

So today, as you're surfing the net, take the time to learn about the issues on the table for tomorrow. Don't spread memes without knowing what they're about.

And more importantly, tomorrow, vote or die. It's that simple.

No comments: