I’m not going to vote the same as you. And I bet you don’t vote the same as me. And if you can prove me wrong, I have not accomplished my goal in this post.
Like many of us, I’m a pretty big consumer of social media and email and on-line news and blogs. I remain fascinated by the number, the huge number, of friends and acquaintances who insist on thinking their blather (or worse, their attachments and links) left or right will actually affect my vote. Let me assure you, it will not.
A friend on Facebook posted a sincere plea for her friends to stop attempting to change her vote in either direction. Because she is college educated and Caucasian, I think her acquaintances thought they knew her politics, and instead of honoring her request and staying mute, they decided to go forth and bloviate about how damned the country is if President Obama is reelected. They did exactly what she asked them not to do. Oye! Maybe she’s left and maybe she’s right, I don’t know or care. It’s her business and people who presume one way or the other are likely to be surprised.
One of the pleasures of being a well-read (relative) thinking man is that I know the talking points on both sides of most political arguments, and, importantly, I take the time to find out if they are true. That research part is not easy, of course, but unbiased statistics are available and facts are available, too, if you look. My personal experience leads me to vote one way at the same time that my open eyes might lead me down the opposite road. It can be hard to find a party that really represents me.
Which brings me to another serious pet peeve: the presumption that if I vote for a Democrat I must be pro-choice. Or if I’m a Republican, surely I oppose gun control. I do vote for a candidate who represents a party, but if anyone presumes I line up behind some platform dutifully and agree to every plank, well, that’s just stupid. Anyone who does so is allowing others to do his thinking for him. I’d actually prefer a ballot with a dozen ideas listed I could vote for or against. Somebody remember that for the next Constitutional Convention.
Now, if a person who I trusted came to me and admitted he was a legitimate fence sitter, I would feel a responsibility to help him see my way. I want my guy to win. But if someone who admits to feeling opposite to me pulls up a chair and wants to debate, I’m not going to waste my time. He’ll get his points in but he
won’t change my mind, and vice-versa.
This brings me to my core belief regarding Presidential Politics. In America, it really doesn’t matter. That comment will bring howls from the partisans, so get it out. But think about it. Egypt, the Philippines, Venezuela even Russia are countries where if you loudly line up behind the wrong guy, you might lose your home, your business or worse. In America, if the other guy wins…….. what? Yes, people will swear that the other party will bring forth Armageddon or worse, but if you are over forty, somewhere in the past a presidential election went against you. Did anything in your life really change? Really? Not in mine. Each party has started wars, ended recessions and voted themselves raises. Presidents you thought would favor welfare ended up chopping it and one who famously promised not to raise taxes ended up doing just that.
The great American writer Tom Wolfe was asked why he never wrote about American politics. “Writing about American politics is like screaming at a train” was his immediate reply. Ya gotta think about that for a minute, but I think I understand.