Should They Vote?

I’ve been a Republican as long as I’ve been voting.  I registered Republican at 18 without a thought.  In every presidential election since and (with a few embarassing exceptions) in other offices consistently over the years, I voted Republican.  However, I didn’t *realize* I was a Republican, and more specifically a Conservative Republican, until 1992 when I began listening to Rush Limbaugh.  My interest and involvement in politics has grown ever since.

I was raised to understand and accept your duties.  My parents set the example by voting, and I’ve followed suit.  I’ve always believed that it is the duty of an American citizen to vote.  I’ve also encouraged others to vote.  I didn’t care what your positions were or who you voted for, so long as you did your duty.

In the last year or so, I’ve begun to wonder if that’s the right position.

In the late 80s, I voted against Jesse Helms…simply because young-and-stupid me believed he was “too old”.  Sometime in the 90s, I voted against a NASCAR driver who ran for office in NC simply because he was a NASCAR driver – without any knowledge of his positions.

In 2008, someone I know admitted to me that they voted for a third party presidential candidate because they “didn’t like McCain or Obama”.  I can only assume that person believed that, since they had an obligation to vote, a vote must be cast.  Unable to choose among those likely to win, they voted for the sake of casting a vote.  They voted blindly for someone without knowing a single thing about what that candidate believed or promised, knowing only that it was a “safe” vote because that person could not win.

I remember on more than one occasion, before I became politically active, standing before that voting screen staring at a choice I couldn’t make.  I hadn’t heard this little local office was up for election, or the candidates were non-partisan.  What to do?  Sometimes I picked the incumbent.  Sometimes I just picked names.  But, I ALWAYS voted.  I also voted for the sake of casting a vote…and although I always hated doing it, I felt I had to…it was my duty.

How often is this going on today?

How likely is it that this kind of nonsense got us where we are today?

Is this what we want?  Is it what we want even if they happen to vote GOP?

I’m not slamming GOTV at all…if it asks people to consider a candidate or a party, gives people the knowledge to make an educated choice.  But if all it does is bring uneducated people to the polls…does it help or hurt?

Uneducated & uninformed voters handed Barack Obama the Presidency of the United States.  Uneducated & uninformed voters keep putting incumbents back in office.  Uneducated & uninformed voters put the Handsome Man, the Guy with the Nice Voice and the Charmer into office.

This year, I’m leaning towards a new point of view…based on the opinion that only those who have prepared for an election should vote.  In other words…voting is not a duty for all.  It’s a choice for those willing to do the work.  If you aren’t willing to do the work, you should leave the voting to the rest of us.  I will work to educate and inform and I will support GOTV – but I won’t encourage people to vote unless I know they know what is going on in the political world.  Our future is just too important to leave to the uneducated and uninformed.