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Old 01-19-2004, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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voting, a citizens responsibilty... the key to the future

Knowing full well that everyone in here is strongly opinionated and very different, I'm throwing this out. Our country has enourmous problems and so much potential at the same time... obviously I don't need to start listing things, but I think the key to solving them lies in our voting system:

First of all, after the last presidential election we should've learned a lesson and reformed, but we didn't. As a side note, I was living in Uganda at the time and we had many american experts there helping them reform to a multi-party system. Then america majorly botched its own elections and the embassy was very emberassed when the Ugandan govt. asked if they should send experts to us next time.

Of course this issue has many facets and is very tricky, but there should be much less money in campaigns. This isn't meant to be anti-republican at all, and obviously you need to money to put your face out there, but that money should be provided by the govt to open the candidate pool for president. Which leads me to my next point...

that many citizens of america blatantly disregard a founding stone of democracy and the republic. What no one seems to understand is that the world wasn't always like this, having a govt. to watch over you and in many cases mess up with your life, but still serve a valuable purpose. We have the privelage of a strong (and not so repressive) govt and we are allowing this privelage to fall into disrepute because we are not exercising our DUTY to vote. In order to be represented with a good govt. you must vote and vote well.
The biggest shame falls on those who don't vote at all... some say its because it doesn't matter, it wont change anything... well Im sure sitting on your ass does a lot of good too. Others dont give a crap... to those I would suggest living somewhere where no one gets to vote, like say zimbabwe, because there your vote wont count for crap.
I will be punished for saying this, but the slightly lesser shame falls on those who vote, but do not vote responsibly... I'm not saying everyone should vote for who I want, thats just stupid, but they should vote with a broad picture of more than one issue (need I mention abortion and the bible belt, even though I know its their right to vote on solely one issue), and think of the future instead of the past. Think of your kids in poverty instead of 500 bucks on your pocket next year... giving a rebate on a debt just puts the next generation in trouble.

Anyway Ive rambled and would like to continue this conversation, especially with somone who disagrees so respond please. Oh, and hoping this doesn't harm my position that much, I can't vote yet, Im 17, but I'll be at the polls in a year and every time after that.
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Old 01-19-2004, 04:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There is no 'Irresponisible voting". You vote based on the way you think, not somebody else. You are in fact saying that people should vote for what you see as "the right (or reponsible) thing".
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Old 01-19-2004, 04:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You know, if you spend less you don't need more tax money. Also lowering taxes does not always lower government revenue, think about that one.

Not voting is also a GOOD thing. If you don't take the time to learn the issues, why the hell should you vote? I know plenty of people like that, and it would be irresponsible for them to vote.

I'm sure you think you way is the best way, but its just your way.
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Old 01-19-2004, 04:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Milkyp, that's ungenerous at best. Irresonsible voting is voting because you like the way the candidate looks or you haven't bothered to figure out what they say they're going to do and whether you agree with it, or at very least figured the political angles from electing someone from that party. In all honesty, how many people do you think voted for the Terminator or Conan rather than Ahnold? He might make a heck of a governor, but macho is no way to pick 'em.

That voting for Bush for any reason is to my mind irresponsible in its shortsightedness, is just indicative of honest disagreement. If someone listens to what he has to say, understands it, agrees with it, and (against all odds and past experience) believes it, then the right thing for them to do is to vote for the schmuck, and tell me to go to hell when I call them a fool for doing it.

Admittedly, though, bullzam would have a stronger point if he hadn't actually suggested what he believes (as do I) to be responsible policy.

Bottom line: there is a difference between voting responsibly, for the guy you think will best serve the constituency, and voting for the guy with the responsible policy. Policy is all a matter of trade offs and value judgements, so labelling something irresponsible and making it stick takes a hell of a lot more work than just picking the politico you think is best.
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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in response to ustwo and milkyp thanks for your feedback, i know I came off strong and missed some things so here are some extra points:
I agree with toophat that I'm not at all saying people should vote for who I believe they should vote for, only that they shouldn't vote for image they should learn more. It is perfectly reasonable to think that two people, like say myself and milkyp, could learn about the candidates, spend some effort thinking, and pick two different candidates and that would make me very happy because my goal is not for people to vote my way, but to put in effort in voting.
This goes further to what ustwo was saying...I think you missed my point when you said:"Not voting is also a GOOD thing. If you don't take the time to learn the issues, why the hell should you vote? I know plenty of people like that, and it would be irresponsible for them to vote." Obviously I agree with you that if you dont know then dont vote... my point was that it really is the duty of a citizen in a democracy TO know and then they should vote. Also, of course there is the school of thought that by lowering taxes you release more money into flow and more small businesses start up etc. etc. I'm no genius in economics, but I'm sure there is some legitemacy to that, but I doubt most people were thinking about the possible economic welfare of our economy with a boost rather than their tax rebate in the mail and the new pool in their backyard. Also, I have no problem with paying higher taxes as long as the money is going to the right place, like public campaign funding or new energy research and not into the military... however, thats a whole other topic, just as thorny, and before you attack me, I'm actually just a little bit over halfway on the war in Iraq. Thanks for listening
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you want people to care more about voting, you need to make sure their vote actually means something. What this country needs is Instant Runoff Voting:
Quote:
What is instant runoff voting? Instant runoff voting is a method of electing a single winner. It provides an alternative to plurality and runoff elections. In a plurality election, the highest vote getter wins even if s/he receives less than 50% of the vote. In a runoff election, two candidates advance to a runoff if no candidate receives more than 50% in the first round.

How does it work? Voters rank candidates in order of choice: 1, 2, 3 and so on. It takes a majority to win. If anyone receives a majority of the first choice votes, that candidate is elected. If not, the last place candidate is defeated, just as in a runoff election, and all ballots are counted again, but this time each ballot cast for the defeated candidate counts for the next choice candidate listed on the ballot. The process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting the ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote. With modern voting equipment, all of the counting and recounting takes place rapidly and automatically.

IRV acts like a series of runoff elections in which one candidate is eliminated each election. Each time a candidate is eliminated, all voters get to choose among the remaining candidates. This continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote.
http://www.fairvote.org/irv/faq.htm

Nothing will ever change if the people aren't made aware of better solutions. If you think Instant Runoff Voting is a good idea, write your representatives.
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
that it really is the duty of a citizen in a democracy TO know and then they should vote
Quote:
but I doubt most people were thinking about the possible economic welfare of our economy with a boost rather than their tax rebate in the mail and the new pool in their backyard.
While I argue there is nothing wrong with wanting a pool in your back yard with YOUR money (aka not confiscated by the government) that’s not important. (Though I am saving for a hot tub)

What I think your problem is overestimating people. Many people don't care unless something is threatened. If Bush wins or loses, their life won't change much. Why they are like that I don't know, maybe its education, maybe its family environment, maybe they are just stupid, but they don't CARE, and as such they are easily led. Unless they WANT to take the time to learn, I don't want them voting.
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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again this comes back to my basic point, these people dont feel threatened... I agree with you completely, of course nobody cares, americans are known worldwide for not caring. But how about you try living here without the government controlling things? then people would really care... I dont have the figures but I'm sure voting percentage when we declared a revolution against England was close to 100... everyone cared when there wasn't a government taking care of things. That war and the civil war are examples that people used to care, many southerners enterd the confederate army because somone was invading their homeland. Now we don't' see anyone invading american soil so no one cares... makes sense. However, just because the shock is gone, doesn't mean it isn't still our duty to care. Obviously I don't presume to think if I just tell everyone they should care I can change the world, this is more of an academic question trying to get to the root of the problem... which some would say is that people dont care... true... but this is the effect of a cause... people forgetting what its like to live in a not as secure environment where it is your duty to care.
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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oh, and I totally support the hot tub, especially under the moonlight
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Old 01-20-2004, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
mml
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo

What I think your problem is overestimating people. Many people don't care unless something is threatened. If Bush wins or loses, their life won't change much. Why they are like that I don't know, maybe its education, maybe its family environment, maybe they are just stupid, but they don't CARE, and as such they are easily led. Unless they WANT to take the time to learn, I don't want them voting.
While this may sound a bit sharp, I think Ustwo has a point. I still feel that it is every citizens duty to vote, but duty does imply that work is involved. People need to learn about the issues and candidates before voting, but that seems to be behind catching this week's episode of Average Guy 2.

I used to bitch and moan that neither of my brothers-in-law ever voted. Finally, they got tired of me and registered and voted. Now, I knew they were not going to register my party, but I felt they should still vote, and this they did. They had no real idea about some of the local issues and candidates, but voted party line on candidates and just guessed on the propositions. After the fact, when we were discussing the issues they were flabbergasted when I explained the propositions to them, several of which passed. Sometimes it may be best if the uninformed don't vote, that or they get informed.

Freedom is the greatest responsibility of all.
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Old 01-20-2004, 01:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by bullzam
... I dont have the figures but I'm sure voting percentage when we declared a revolution against England was close to 100... everyone cared when there wasn't a government taking care of things.
Not that it matters, since he was banned, but I hate to leave this out there uncorrected.


The actual break down of opinion in 1776 was about 1/3 were for independence, about 1/3 were for the crown and 1/3 were the swing block/didn't care/leave me alone.
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