Voting This Year

Over at Juris Naturalist, there is an argument for more political action instead of actually going to the booth.  What is the argument? Well:

Unfortunately, the process of voting has the actual effect of making their voices meaningless. Due to the aggregation of votes, the bundling of issues by candidates, and the secrecy of ballots, voters communicate virtually nothing to the candidates they elect. First, due to the secrecy of the ballot, the elected candidate will never know how anyone voted. He will never have a reason to care what any particular voter thinks. Second, due to the bundling of issues by candidates, voters who favor one candidate on some issues but another candidate on other issues will not have a way to communicate their actual concerns. Successful candidates will merely throw all their votes in a bag together as supportive of their overall agenda.

This is worth thinking about.  I agree about voting for the president (my vote is meaningless in California because we are not a swing state).  The swing states, as a result of the electoral college, get more say in a close election than the big states (which are often blue states).  Thus, both parties in places like Caifornia and New York (where a large population of America lives) feel like their votes “don’t count.”  I would disagree with the comment above because it is “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”  The elections are not just about people.  In California, there are a number of ways that citizens can specifically change policies in regards to homosexuality, abortion and other important social, economic and political issues through propositions.  I would still agree, however, with his sentiment here:

I have decided that I will instead spend the time I would have spent driving to my polling place, standing in line, and driving back to school again writing a few letters to the people who will be elected.  Call this my Wednesday ballot.

I will make the letters generic enough to be applicable to whichever candidate is elected.  I will write about the issues which I think are most important and most closely related to the office each politician is set to occupy, and I will be able to “unbundle” any set of those issues to particulars, demonstrating the relevance of each. My vote will be specific, personal, and intentional. The amount of information communicated in this way will far surpass even that of several hundred election-day ballots.

Julie Clawson has also written about the excessive mudslinging in the election and why educated is often synonmous to many Christians to mean liberal.  There is such a danger in our society to mold Jesus after ourselves.  If we are not educated, we think that those educated Christian Obama supporters can be written off with the label “liberal.”  Often Obama supporters are just as bad using labels like “fundamentalist” or “conservative” to write off Christian McCain supporters.  Nathaniel does a good job above of showing the complexities of the voting system in our country.  But Julie brings up an INCREDIBLY important point in her blog: We have to be willing to THINK about these issues and not just accept what focus on the family “Christian” e-mails tell us.

6 thoughts on “Voting This Year

  1. Thanks for the link.

    I do think your link to my post is a bit misleading, as my post did not actually make any reference to focus on the family, and I am not aware that any of the emails that I was referring to were sponsored by focus on the family. I wanted to correct this, not to defend focus on the family, but because this could lead to the same kind of misinformation that my original post was pleading for Christians to avoid.



  2. I love the last sentence… In an old post on my other blog, posted something similar to that. I exhorted people to think through the issues. There are more than just two hot button issues on the table. I wasn’t advocating for one candidate or another but after that post, a lot of people in my circle began to label me as “Liberal” and an Obama supporter.. Sigh.. Mudslinging.. Great post. Great thoughts!

  3. Danny, Thanks for making the change, and thanks for your kindness.

    By the way, I have enjoyed exploring your blog and am glad to have discovered it through your comment on my blog and this link. I look forward to further conversations.

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