As you know, 2012 is an election year. This year we will be faced with plethora choices of very stupid candidates promising all sorts of craziness. Local, state, and Federal elections will dominate the news outlets for the next five or so months. These news outlets will break news that will sound freakishly like this:
OBAMA SLIPS 3% WITH UNDECIDED VOTERS AFTER HE ATE SUSHI
ROMNEY IN THE MARGIN, POS OUTWEIGH NEG FIRST TIME
Two things come to mind when I read these kinds of headlines:
- I think Greece actually got this one right.
- WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE?
Opinion polls are dubious at best, and at worst they influence elections. They are worded by professionals who intentionally try to confuse the people who aren't smart enough to get their phone numbers placed on the national do not call list. They say things like, if you had to choose what the worst trait of the candidate is, would it be A, B, C, or all three, and then these operatives use that data to say most Americans believe said candidate is a bastard. Yeah, democracy at work.
But even if these polls aren't great, they tell us that a significant number of Americans don't know who they are going to vote for in the presidential election. Now that is the really shocking part. It would be one thing if the argument was that the two party system doesn't allow for quality candidates to make it to the general election. Yet that isn't it! These people really have trouble choosing between two very different parties.
Sure there are areas where both parties stink equally. But there are some really HUGE differences between them. And while I am a liberal and support President Obama in his reelection (abet with much less energy than I did last time), this isn't a question of my politics verse yours...this is a question of understanding the fundamental differences that these two parties represent on a national level.
Here are just a few areas that if you don't know where you stand, perhaps you shouldn't vote until you do some research. I have provided some Clif's Notes on where the parties stand to simplify.
AbortionDems - YESRepublicans - NOEnvironmental Protection/ Regulation of BusinessDems - YESRepublicans - NOPublic SpendingDems - YESRepublicans - NO*
Dems - For all (at least most of them)
Republicans - For heterosexuals (at least most of them)
These are MAJOR issues that anyone paying any level of attention would understand as different. How is it possible that a significant enough group of people can't tell the difference between the parties that have such divergent positions on key issues that elections are up in the air for so long? These aren't arcain policy positions.
Like I said before, it might not be nuance but that people are just stupid. But this goes deeper than that, I think.
I believe that people want to feel relevant and our political media has hammered into our heads that the undecided voter is really the only one that matters. But here is a message for those of you pretending your indecision makes you important to the political process: You do not matter until you influence more than yourself and even then you probably still don't matter.
*As long as this public spending helps poor people. (I still am a bit political)