Voting: an exercise in self interest
October 4, 2004
Election years are always interesting years. The candidates are really trying to impress you on how informed they are on the issues and what they are going to do with these issues if you elect them to office. Our job, as the electorate, is to try to make our way through the “information” to understand whether this is truly the candidate talking from their own beliefs, or the “spin doctors” way of attracting you to vote for them. You can apply this formula to the issues on the ballot as well.
I think that voting is the most important right I have in the United States, because our country was built on the social contract idea that if government fails to act in the best interests of the people it governs, the people have the right to replace it with a government that does act in their best interests.
Therefore, if members of government fail to act in the best interests of their constituents, the people have a right to vote them out of office. So if I don’t vote, I have no right to complain about what the government is doing. This applies to all levels of government, from school boards, county commissioners and city councils up to the president and Congress.
I first voted in 1976. I had turned 18 in 1975, but had not registered to vote, so when it came time for the 1976 presidential election, I voted for Gerald Ford because I had had the opportunity to shake his hand (do the members of the MCHS marching band of 1974-75 remember shaking his hand?) after playing the “Ruffles and Flourishes” for the president at a political rally in Grand Junction in October of 1974.
That was my only reason for voting for him.
I was not an informed voter at the time. I can honestly say that I do not remember any of the issues he campaigned about.
You can be a member of any political party you want in the United States and vote for anyone you want.
Remember, there is no mention of political parties in the U.S. Constitution.
The Constitution has been amended to address political parties and elections, but the framers of the Constitution had no idea in 1787 that political parties would be the basis of our voting today.
Thanks to Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson’s disagreements on major issues dealing with ways to set up the government, political parties were born.
When you register to vote, you are not registering as a member of the Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians or any other political party out there.
You are signing up to be able to vote for the person you feel is acting in your best interests, or will act in your best interests if they are new to the office, for that level of government.
Read the amendment. Ask the question, what will the amendment do for me if it passes?
If you like what the amendment will do for you if it passes, then vote in favor of it.
It’s that simple.