I don’t like politics. My writing here is for the sole reason of thinking about democracy as it is practiced today.
So, Obaden or Mcalin? Election shmelection… Who determines it? Let me make some assumptions here…
My first and most important assumption would be that over 90% of voters do not know much about the guy they vote for. When I say don’t know much, I am very gentle.
My guesstimate about eligible US voters’ knowledge:
10%-15% can’t name the 4 main presidential and VP candidates.
20%-30% can’t associate the candidates to their party
40%-50% never read or heard the views or issues statements of the candidates.
80%-90% did not read at least 10 issues and plans for their presidency of neither candidate.
Let’s face it – most people get their knowledge (or lack of) from hearsay, mostly what they hear form colleagues, friends, family etc, which is many cases already a second or third hand information….
They also get bits and pieces they heard on TV/radio/newspaper, that are in most cases incomplete, biased, maybe interviews with celebrities that were brought to shows as Real Time with Bill Maher (nothing against the show, on the contrary) for entertainment purposes, but their sometimes humoristic views, on a stage like that, seed many minds with very unrealistic ideas. “It was on TV” so it must be true.
Or take online videos, as the Obama births certificate questioning http://willnevergiveup.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/lawsuit5/
the 2008 wassup youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq8Uc5BFogE (almost 4 million views)
McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEtZlR3zp4c (over 8 million views)
And almost 13 million viewers of Dear Mr. Obama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4fe9GlWS8
Over 11 million views of Yes We Can – Barack Obama Music Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY
For sure, more people saw these and similar online videos than read the McCain and Obama views and plans. Of course, all of these are great, freedom of expressing views and opinions, the foundations of democracy.
But is it right to vote by only seeing these incomplete biased and inaccurate opinions? If you say nah, people don’t take it seriously, you are very wrong. As an example, these fake videos of cell phones causing corn to pop into popcorn got countless people all over the world to try it (was originally done as advertisement for an Israeli headset manufacturer…). Of course it is not real…
Or should I mention lonelygirl15 on youtube? (New Zealand actress that for a long time was believed by many to be a real story). The list is long. People take written and over the TV information as granted. Even hearsay from friends is used over and over again, usually in a very “creative” way after a few times (ever played “phone”?…).
So, after I establish this issue of lack of knowledge, or knowledge based on inaccurate or incomplete information, let me ask the radical question…
Yes, it is a democracy, but should everyone have the right to vote?
Ha, dangerous ground. That’s the essence of democracy, everyone can influence…
But maybe you should be pre-qualified? Maybe, in order to vote, you should pass a test showing you know at least the basic information about who you’re voting for? Name, party, five to ten major points of view? Have all the answers available right there, so a voter can read them as they answer the questions. Just read once what you’re voting for.
Radical? Let’s take a non democratic organization as the army. Why isn’t it a democracy? Because you can not take the time and risk of having a vote during combat, sure. But also because not every soldier has the ability to make the right decisions because of lack of knowledge, experience and ability to be a commander (call it talent?).
So there are qualified people who make the decision. They are being scrutinized, they pay for their mistakes, but they have the power to make the decisions for their troops because they have the know-how to do it.
Take business. It is not a democracy. There is usually one or a group of people who decide. If they are qualified, the company has a good chance of succeeding, if they are not, well, then not…
My point? Just to make us think. Will you let a 3 year old choose who will be the next president? So why let someone with hardly any knowledge about it vote?
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