Why It’s Weird To Encourage People To Vote
Idiocy, Partisanship, and the Unconvincing Mask of Do-Gooderism
Maybe I’m skeptical of people’s true intentions. Maybe I’ve downgraded my view of humanity due to vitriolic partisanship in America the last few years.
Whatever the reason, I think it’s weird when people encourage others to vote. Here’s why.
Brain Surgeon Plumbers
Would you hire a plumber do brain surgery on you? It’s a rhetorical question, and I mean no offense to plumbers in positing it. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t hire a brain surgeon to fix my faucet.
The point is, civics is a duty beyond the physical act of casting a ballot, and not many people live up to that duty. I remember my grandparents sitting at the kitchen table reading their ballot guides, their glasses on the end of their noses but squinting nonetheless, thinking, studying, flipping forward and back through the Bible-paper-thin voting guides, comparing bios and write-ups on candidates and ballot measures, and slowly, shakily, filling in their ballots (in Oregon, it’s all mail-in voting).
Do people still do that?
On a scale of one to ten, how well-versed is the average American on the issues on their ballot, the measure, the bonds, the rationale behind the city’s request for a new precinct in the fourth district, the actual plans (location, blueprints, timelines) for road improvements, etc.?
Probably some do.
I just wonder how many.
Based on how people communicate their political viewpoints, it seems thre are more engaged in the anger and fear and conspiratorial side of politics — the partisanship and personality wars — than they are the actual policies and governing philosophies.
Which is reason number one why I think it’s weird that people encourage other people to vote, knowing that they’re not well informed.
Young People Are Stupid
Reason number two is actually just reason number 1 with ageism.
I was young once, and I’m still not old, and I’m definitely no genius, so don’t take this the wrong way, but young people are dumb. It’s why we don’t allow them to buy tobacco or guns until they’re 18 or alcohol until they’re 21. It’s why you can’t rent a car until you’re 25. It’s why Obamacare let’s “parents” keep their “kids” on their health insurance until they’re 26. It’s why the founding fathers wrote into the U.S. Constitution that you can’t even run for the U.S. House of Representatives until you’re 25, the U.S. Senate until you’re 30, and president of the United States until you’re 35.
It’s because young people are dumb. They are impulsive, emotional, and dangerous.
Young people have less. They are less likely to have a house, a good job, a family, children in public schools, money invested in the stock market. All of this creates an incentive to care, to evaluate changes in leadership and policy, because they are affected by it.
When you have less, you have less to lose, and when you have less to lose you act in ways that are more extreme and irrational than how you will act later in life, when you are older and have more to lose.
That is why the vast majority of Americans oppose lowering the voting age. (Not surprisingly, younger respondents to this survey were more likely to support lowering the voting age. An ignorant man cannot know that he is ignorant; if he did, he would cease to be such.)
If we can’t trust someone to smoke tobacco responsibly, why would we let them pick the next president?
You’re No Saint
A truly civic-minded person would not encourage people to vote. They would encourage people to engage in their communities, to educate themselves about the pros and cons of ballot measures, the governing records and political philosophies of each candidate in the race, nationally and locally. They would not encourage fools to cast ballots just as they would not hire a poor man to provide financial advice.
When it comes to politics, I don’t trust people. I’m sure there are a few Good Samaritans who might offer to help an older neighbor get to the polls, because they’ve never missed an election but it’s harder and harder to drive and stand in line. Those are good intentions.
But not strangers. Not Hollywood actors or athletes or business tycoons who puff their chests with pride and appeal to our emotions with patriotic-sounding talking points about duty and obligation and freedom or stopping the tide of tyranny!
I don’t trust that 50 Cent or Lil Wayne would give someone a ride to the voting booth if they knew that they would be casting ballots for Joe Biden, just as I don’t believe George Clooney or Alyssa Milano would encourage a Donald Trump supporter to get out and vote.
It’s not malicious. It’s just basic self-interest.
If 50 Cent doesn’t want Biden to win because he doesn’t want to pay more in taxes, why would he encourage someone to vote for Biden? If Alyssa Milano believes Trump is like Hitler, she would have to be a Nazi herself to encourage other Nazis to go vote for Hitler.
What You’re Actually Saying
What you’re actually saying when you encourage people to vote is that you want people to vote how you vote. Which is fine. I just wish everybody who’s out pretending to be these saintly public servants, preaching about civic duty and the future of America, would be honest about their intentions.
If you believe Coke is better than Pepsi, you would not encourage Pepsi drinkers to get out and vote. Yet here we are pretending that Trump supporters want Biden supporters to vote and Biden supporters want Trumpers to vote.
They don’t. It’s just virtue signaling.