Politics & Media
Apr 02, 2008, 01:21PM

Don't Know? Don't Vote.

If you don't care enough about the political process to know basic facts, then maybe you don't deserve to participate. From The Eagle.

Nothing cheapens a democracy or ruins it faster than a bunch of ill-informed, politically lazy voters clogging the polls. Here is my philosophy: If you can't name at least one of your senators, don't vote. If you can't name your congressman or even the party they are affiliated with, don't vote. If you can't distinguish between a Republican or a Democrat, please, for the love of God, don't vote. If you vote and you can't support the reasons behind that vote, what you are doing is not registering an opinion but instead diluting the honest, good opinions of others. You are not performing a civic duty, but denigrating the duties of others.

This plea cuts both ways. Both the Democratic and Republican parties' support base is full of people who are, frankly, political idiots. Some Republicans won't vote for Obama because he shares his middle name with an ex-tyrant from the Middle East. Others won't vote Clinton because her presidential duties would interfere with her homemaking responsibilities. If you feel this way, please do not vote. In 21st century America, we have no place for ill-informed or bigoted voters.

Another thing: Please don't vote for Barack Obama because he's cute and you like the way his ears wiggle when he talks. Don't vote for him because when you shook his hand in Bender Arena it was soft and supple. Don't vote for him because that's what the media says young people should be doing. Barack Obama doesn't need sympathy votes.

Another thing; don't vote for John McCain because he is the only white male left. If you can't separate irrelevant, superficial opinions on the candidates from their very relevant political opinions, you should not vote.

Forget P. Diddy. "Rocking the Vote" is a stupid idea. How about "Educate the Vote!" or "Inform the Voters!" Those are honorable slogans. P. Diddy is just like any other politician - he wants your vote because he wants his way. The easiest way to win an election isn't to convince smart, well-informed voters to pick your side, but to find ill-informed, easily influenced voters to follow blindly. Not only are these people easier to influence, but there are also more of them out there.

Both the Republicans and Democrats are guilty of this, and can you blame them? Their jobs are to get elected, and your job is to make sure they deserve it. Each side consistently uses their platforms to spout rhetoric that does little but rally those out there who don't spend time understanding the complete issue. Fight Islamo-fascism or stop the war in Iraq, lower taxes or raise taxes, offer universal health care or private insurance - these are important, multi-faceted issues which deserve debate and attention. If you haven't taken time to understand both your opinion and the opinions of others, then do not vote.

So if you want to vote in November, take some time out of your day and prove that you deserve a ballot. Otherwise, please don't ruin the process for those who genuinely care. In the latest Student Government election here at AU, I didn't vote. Not because I didn't want to, or because I forgot, but because it would be wrong and immoral of me to influence the process of something I don't understand. That's not fair to the candidates who ran for office, and it is not fair to those who put in the time and effort to inform themselves. Apply the same logic in November.

This is a personal responsibility. If you don't meet the criteria, if you miss the cut, then exercise some discretion and sit this one out - please.


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