Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Please don't vote!

Today, The Tennessean published a signed editorial from David Plaza, "Nashville, it's time to vote; no excuses. Let's get out in force on election day." This editorial is much the same as an editorial that appears in every newspaper in every city prior to every election. In it Plaza says, " Nashville voters, we need to do better on election day Thursday." He gives stats on how Nashville has grown but voter turn out is dropping. He says, "Citizens have a duty to uphold their institutions and participate in the democratic process."

If you are reading this blog post, then I also want you to vote, because if you are reading this, then you are obviously someone who cares about local government. If you are going to vote, and not sure for whom to vote, look at this page for my endorsements if you trust my judgement.  If you do not trust my judgement, nor the judgement of anyone else who has made suggestions, and you have not independently arrived at a decision for whom to vote, then please don't vote.  Please don't vote for someone just because you recognized the name. Please do not vote for someone just because they had a lot of yard signs.

I have never believed that a large voter turnout of uninformed people makes for a stronger democracy. I would prefer fewer people vote who are informed rather than masses of people who are not informed.  Below is a previously published blog post urging people not to vote. I could update it by changing the names of some candidates and some examples, but the message would not change. Don't be shamed into voting! If you don't care about politics don't let someone shame you into voting. You don't have a duty to vote!

Please don't vote!

Tomorrow is election day and probably in tomorrows newspaper there will be an editorial that says you really ought to vote and that shame on you if you don't vote.  While I want to turn out the vote for my candidate David Fox, but if you don't give a damn who is the next mayor, if you don't normally pay attention to politics, then don't vote.

You will be told you have an obligation to vote. You do not. Just ask Barack Obama. Before becoming president, as a U. S. Senator, he abstained from voting on very many occasions and on very important issues. He simply voted “Present” time and time again. So, if Barack Obama did not bother to vote while serving in the US Senate, why should you?

A lot of people - important people, never bother to vote. Do you know who Bill Frist is? He is a famous Tennessean who was former Senate majority leader. Before he was elected to public office he didn't vote for 18 years when he could have voted. John Edwards? He was a former Senator from North Carolina who almost got the Democratic Party nomination for President a few years ago. He has since been disgraced in a sex scandal. Anyway, until he ran for office he hardly ever voted. My point is, that if famous politicians like Senator Bill Frist, and Senator John Edwards did not bother to vote until they decided to run for office, why don't you just wait until you decide to run for office and then start voting.

Remember some years ago when you voted for Obama and the people who wanted you to vote for him told you that if you did not, that any number of bad things might happen: homes would get foreclosed, unemployment would increase, a war would continue, and we would all die from global warming?

Well, you voted for Obama and all of those things happened anyway, except we did not all die from global warming, but his administration did nothing about global warming so you wouldn't have died from global warming anyway.

OK, a few years ago you wanted to vote because that was a historic election and the Nation elected its first Black president. I understand that. You did your part. You were part of history. That is not the case this time. This election is just boring. It is not a historical election. It is just an election for mayor of Nashville. Be honest. How excited can you get about Megan Barry or David Fox?

Some people will tell you that not voting is a sign of a weak democracy and a sign that you just don’t care. Well, I am here to tell you that not voting is not a sign of a weak democracy or not caring. You could interpret not voting as a sign that things must be going so well, that people see no reason to vote. When the actions of government are so unimportant that people don’t feel compelled to vote, that is a sign that people must be pretty content and pretty certain that those who do vote will make the right decision. Not voting is a vote of confidence.

You should not let anyone shame you into voting. You should not vote unless you are real informed and confident in your decision. Don't let anyone tell you it is your patriotic duty to vote. It is unpatriotic to cast an uninformed vote. What if you vote the wrong way and the person you vote for does something to really screw up the world? Do you want that responsibility?

Voting casually without being certain of your vote is wrong. Casting your vote should be a sober, thoughtful decision. Casting an unsure vote is sort of like driving drunk. So, if you don’t feel certain that you are qualified to vote or have adequately studied the issues; please don’t vote. If you haven't been paying attention, don't vote. If you get most of your news from Saturday Night Live and The Colbert Report, and don't know about Metro's debt obligation and what the property tax rate is, then please do not vote.

Some people will tell you that if you don’t vote you have no right to complain. I don't know who started that lie. It is just not true. By not voting, you are not giving up the right to complain.

I don’t want you to vote. You see, if you don’t vote, my vote carries more weight. If only 33% of the people vote, it is like I am voting for three people; if 50% of the people vote it is like I am voting for only two people. I don’t want you to dilute my vote. Let me vote for you. I have studied the issues. I am qualified to vote.

Voting is difficult. It is very complicated to figure out how to do it right. The new electronic machines are real difficult to figure out and anyway, with the electronic machines, how do your even know your vote is counted? Also, the lines are often real long and it can take a lot of your time. And, it might rain tomorrow.

You do know that if you vote, you will probably get called to jury duty? Also, I understand that this year immigration officials will be at the voting places looking for illegal immigrants. There are always a lot of police at the voting places too. A lot of outstanding warrants are served on Election Day. Voter registration records are public records so the police know who will be voting so it is easy pickings to serve warrants. I have heard that officials also stake out the voting place to look for people who are behind on their child support.

So, if I were you, I and I didn't feel well-informed on the issues and qualified to make a very important decision that will have an important impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,  I just wouldn’t vote.

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