Ten things I’ve learned from voting

  1. Voting is an inherently altruistic act, because while your actual vote generally makes absolutely no difference (at least within a large population), the principle of an individual act of voting, writ large, determines the government. So, voting is like Kant’s categorical imperative…would society fall apart if everybody voted? No. What if everybody did not vote? Well…it wouldn’t be much of a democracy then.
  2. Because your individual vote doesn’t matter (as above), I understand why many people don’t bother to vote. It’s the same reason many people litter. One piece of trash is meaningless, in the grand scope of things. But I think it’s about the principle. Not voting is as much a philosophical and moral statement as voting.
  3. Strategic voting never works. I used to think that it did, but ultimately, you can’t beat a strong candidate with a boring, uncharismatic, or thoughtless candidate. So get better candidates!
  4. I like to vote, because I like to complain. And I just don’t see how you can complain about a government you couldn’t even be bothered to vote against. That is really the bare minimum.
  5. People say one thing before being elected, and do another once in power. I know it’s annoying and hypocritical and disappointing, but in the defense of politicians…campaigning is about winning, and often we don’t like to hear about reality. People who talk about realistic, complicated, or moderate financial policies generally don’t do too well with voters. We want inspiration! Change! Hope!
  6. Old ladies are just as slow in the voting booths as they are at the grocery check out. Just as plentiful too.
  7. Candidates love photo ops of them voting. Why is this news? Of course they are voting for themselves!!
  8. Voting is heavily clouded by race. Either we vote for ‘our own’, or we vote to get more women/minorities/people with disabilities/etc. in office. Race matters, big time. Why do you think the candidates that win in my neighbourhood are always Chinese or Italian? Because I live smack dab between Chinatown and Little Italy. Of course, white people do it too. Hence…all of our Prime Ministers, ever.
  9. I hate using Scantrons in general, because I always think “what if I don’t write the x correctly, or miss colouring in part of the circle, and my answer doesn’t get scanned?” So…obviously voting creates a lot of anxiety.
  10. We shouldn’t underestimate the value of satirical political parties. The Rhino party was great, because it could poke fun at our system, the other parties, and sometimes offer some genuinely good ideas. Jesters can say what nobody else wants to, but everybody else knows.


Filed under tenthingsivelearned, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Ten things I’ve learned from voting

  1. 4. Couldn’t agree more.
    5. It’s usually more about political reality rather than lying. They may want to do something and fully intend to do it, but then they hit a wall of other groups’ needs and desires, whether this is in the form of their own party and backers, bureaucrats unwilling to carry out their will, them reading the polls and deciding that voters changed their minds, or something more pressing coming up. It’s not that politicians always lie it’s that none of them are soothsayers.
    10. And it gives people an outlet to notify the other parties that they are disgruntled.

    • To your point (5)…politicians who are good at campaigning do and say what is politically expedient. I don’t think that they are all naively wandering into an election, promising the world because they have so much good in their hearts to share! I think people do say one thing and do another, and I think many campaigners know that they won’t be able to fulfill all their promises. That doesn’t mean people willfully lie, but you do what you have to do. It’s a dirty game.

      There are exceptions. I think Obama was legitimately taken aback by the political reality of being a president and dealing with the polarized debate and stubborn Republicans.

      • Everyone does what politicians do, just on a smaller scale: they make all these pronouncements and set all these goals most of which end up being unattainable, due to the reality of life. That doesn’t make the game dirty, it just makes it more like life. I’m sure you make promises to your bosses regarding metrics that are not always realized and then explain to them the factors which led to the stated goals not being realized.

  2. 6. At least the Old Ladies are out voting. Suck it up, Sunshine!

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