Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I Won't Tell You For Whom You Should Vote

Nation, I belong to a sub-class of human observer that Ken Chapman and others refer to as "The Influentials". 

This isn't a reflection of status or economic power, but rather a label that reflects the fact that, when people are wondering what's going on in their world, or for whom they should consider casting a ballot, they look to me for guidance.  Not because I'm smarter than they are (unlikely), not because I'm well-connected (somewhat more likely, but still far from a sure thing).  It's because I pay attention - because I'm interested, and I have time.  I've got no exceptional qualifications in this regard, other than simply that - interest, and time.  And so, when the time comes to debate an issue, form an opinion, or cast a ballot, my email fills up, and my phone rings.  "Who should I take a look at?"  "Where do the candidates stand on MY issues?"  "Who should I vote for?"

That last one, you can imagine, isn't being asked by English teachers.  At least, not in those exact words.

The fact of the matter, though, remains that I get asked to tell people for whom they should vote - and it's not something I'm comfortable doing.

I can tell you what *I* think of the candidates, or their campaigns.  I can break down a candidate's platform for you. I can go over the details of why some things may or may not work.  I can tell you "take a look at this candidate".  But I feel VERY uncomfortable telling people how to cast their ballot - because that's a democratically sacrosanct area.  Only YOU can decide who, if anyone, has earned your consent to be governed.

This is why I've never endorsed a candidate on this site, even if they're a friend of mine.  And it's why I'm not going to start now.

I give you more credit than that.

There's a commonly-held sentiment among some pundits, particularly among professional journalists, that the public needs to be "led" to certain decisions.  That the flock, without the firm shepherding of the media, can't make good decisions.


I give you more credit than that.
I believe, in my heart of hearts, that if I do a good job of getting you the information, and providing you some service as a "translator" from political-speak to English, that you can make good decisions.  You're smart.  Your opinion matters as much as anyone else's - including mine.  Your vote counts just as much as mine or the vote of anyone else who reports on this stuff.

I encourage you to take a look at the issues, and decide what matters to you.  Look at this site, and at others like (for analysis) or (for raw information straight from the candidates).  Figure out which candidate speaks to your issues, and cast an informed ballot.  Encourage your friends and family to do the same. 

Because when we make INFORMED choices, we make GOOD choices.

The voters always get the government they deserve. An active, informed electorate makes good choices.

But it's THEIR choice to make.

It's YOUR choice.

So make it.

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