Just in time for the elections, the Union-Tribune’s contrarian
Everyone: Voting key to healthy democracy. Evidence: No, it’s not is thoughtful and, I suppose, logical in its own way. Ultimately it’s about debunking one of those oft-quoted things that “everybody knows.”
But seeing the article right before election day makes me think… Don’t vote? Really? What’s up with that?
Much of the piece discusses/quotes three books, The Wisdom of the Crowds, Democracy for Realists, and the Myth of the Rational Voter. The premise of the first book, as Reed points out, has absolutely zero empirical evidence to back it up.
The second tome–invest in some highly
After many words, Reed leads us to this conclusion: “So vote Tuesday–or don’t. It’s no big deal. Believe what makes you feel good.”
The optimist in me wants to believe there’s a bit of sarcasm in the conclusion. After all, Reed’s bio at the end of the article says he “believes in the Chicago theory of voting early and often.”
There’s a darker side to his point, namely, consider the alternatives.
I know there are people with power and influence in this country who believe we’d all be better off with some other system. Maybe it’s Mike Pence’s theocratic utopia. Maybe it’s Jeff Sessions regression to the post-
My biggest fear as the era of industrial democracies ends is that the arguments about collective irrationality will be the basis for rejecting elected representation. Or elections in general. After all, if you buy the premise people are really that stupid, then having a smart guy with a really big brain in charge makes sense. Right?
The people are stupid/irrational/don’t care argument are the ones being used to eliminate school boards around the country. The corporate smart guys replacing them have lots of blue smoke and mirrors at their disposal; the overall ‘results’ haven’t been what most of us parents would consider a good return on investment.
Running government like a business doesn’t work for the simple reason that humans are irrational at times.
For all the irrational, ignorant, and idiotic choices made by the electorate; for all the wheeling and misdealing by politicians; for all the ups and downs of the social and economic welfare of the nation, it’s the totality of our history that counts.
Martin Luther King, Jr had it right when he spoke of the arc of history. He had faith it bends toward justice.
I would argue it simply bends. There is no given that good things will happen unless good people demand it. Over and over and over again.
Furthermore, what is defined as “good” evolves based on our collective e
Large families were a desirable goal when the economy was agrarian. In an era where childcare can cost more than college, maybe a house full of rug rats isn’t such a good thing. Especially if a “house” is out of the question.
There will be and have been good politicians and bad politicians. And it’s demonstrably true that voters are frequently wrong in their assessments. Warren G Harding won by a landslide. So did Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton barely squeaked into office–spent eight years being cast as the anti-Christ–and now the nineties are looked on nostalgically by a large part of the country.
You can say “they’re all crooks” or “my vote won’t make a difference” to justify not voting. Some people even say these things like they’re intelligent observations.
Elections and voting are important, not for the immediate results they produce, but for the channeling of grievances and the expression of aspirations. It’s the process that matters.
I suppose it’s possible to make bread without some kind of grain, but why would you bother?
That process needs to be influenced by activism and involvement going beyond electoral campaigns. Change is incremental and needs to be pushed and picketed and protested for/against.
The concept of MediCare for All would have been a suicidal choice for a political candidate a decade ago. The political battles, from the Tea Party-t
So here we are at the 2018 mid-term elections. Exactly who wins isn’t as important as how we’re responding to the challenges in front of us. (Vote for mostly Democrats, though) Some of the ‘winners’ will turn out to be losers. The act of voting and who we’re voting for is a step, not a solution. And every journey begins with a single step, according to Lao Tzu.
The weekly demonstrations in front of Congressman Darrell Issa’s office led to something much bigger that Democratic candidate Mike Levin’s campaign.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people broke down their (largely) self-imposed barriers and interacted with others. Other groups around the country took heart from what they saw. Doors got knocked on. Phone calls were made. And people living in the 49th district, regardless of their opinions, knew that somebody cared.
There were spats, reminiscent of the Berners vs Hillbots squabbles in 2016. There were attempts by outsiders to hijack the movement.
When it’s all said and done, the folks who participated in this process are going to have new skills, higher awareness, and a willingness to get involved. At a minimum, they’ll be better humans.
So, yeah, it matters to me that you all (including Chris Reed) vote by Tuesday. It sure beats the alternative.
The San Diego Free Press General Election Progressive Voter Guide: Websites, social media links plus more than three dozen candidate endorsements, along with yea or nay on 23 state, county, and city propositions.
The November 2018 Cheat Sheet and Progressive Voter Kit has a little bit of everything, from our endorsements in a printable format, other voter guide info, and answers to questions about the process of voting.
To see all our coverage for the 2018 elections, go here.
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