Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How Unfortunate

The whole purpose of a participatory democracy is just that, participation. Turnout should never be low if a people understand, collectively, that voting isn't just a right, it is also an obligation. I make a point to go to the polls no matter what the issue might be. Perhaps I am expecting too much from the so-called "responsible citizenry" in this matter, but I don't think so.

Still, the results of the election don't truly surprise me. As a former resident of the city of Atlanta, after settling there I quickly realized that in the Peach State one has Atlanta but is also surrounded by the rest of Georgia. Many segments of the state are far more backwards than Alabama or Mississippi. The fickle nature of the electorate is what disturbs me the most. Galvanize public opinion, run constant commercials, saturate the discourse with election-related news, and spend millions of dollars and you can still only manage to get 65% of eligible voters to even bother to spend five minutes to cast their ballot. Again, I'll never understand, nor forgive people who have to be treated to a three-ring-circus before they'll even do what they ought to do anyway.

I do not understand the psychology of the Proles and I do not believe they or anyone else has a right to be ignorant. That our Founding Fathers assumed people would naturally embrace their civic duties strikes me a little more than an pie-in-the-sky dream. Too often those of us self-proclaimed guardians of "the way things ought to be" embrace a kind of cynicism wrought of frustration with the status quo. In earlier times in this country's history, electioneering was a sport almost in its own right. With constant distraction from media and a sense of powerlessness, the ballot box finds itself the domain of a minority most elections.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder. If the electorate is relatively small, polarized, incurious, and predictable, who benefits?

And if the electorate were larger, better informed, more critical and demanding, and less predictable, who would benefit and who would lose?