Monday, October 13, 2008
PSA - Why You Shouldn't Vote.

If you go to an office party, there are certain things you shouldn't talk about. Three of them, really: Sex, Politics, and Religion. The reason is simple. You're supposed to act professional. That means not offending people, and everyone knows that there's no better opportunity to cheese someone off than by voicing a strong opinion on one of the big three.

The same thing is doubly true if you're any sort of public figure. Smart public figures never stray into these dark waters because they know it's the PR equivalent of shutting your dick in a car door. Not only will the result almost always be awkward, embarrassing, and painful, but people will talk about it for years afterward. You'll never live it down.

For example, let's say you read my book and you like it. So you want to like me. But then you read on my blog than I eat my bread with the butter-side-down. Then you're horrified, because you're a staunch proponent of butter-side-up. So you swear off reading my books forever, convince your friends to do likewise, and as a result, I eventually end up naked in a ditch somewhere, penniless and dead of scurvy.

I've finally come to grips with the fact that I'm a bit of a public figure, though the thought makes me somewhat uncomfortable. But I'll be damned if I'll ever be smart about it. I don't like the thought of going through the rest of my life biting my tongue and thinking, "Can I say that in public? Whatever will they think? What if I offend someone?"

No. I'd much rather you hate me for who I am, than like some false face that I fake up for the blog. Screw that ten times.

So with that said, here we go. I'm going to shut my dick in the car door and talk about politics.

Ready?

Yeah, me neither.

*****

An open letter to the American populace.

Election day is coming up. That means that for months, you've been bombarded by all manner of forces encouraging you to vote.

I, on the other hand, would like to encourage you to do nothing of the sort. Quite the opposite in fact.

I'm not being sarcastic here. I'm not trying reverse psychology. What I'm saying is that I would like you to consider, seriously, the possibility of not voting in the coming election.

The problem is this. People seem to think that low voter turnout is the problem with elections. But that's simply not the case. All this Rock the Vote bullshit? It's just that, bullshit. If you think voting is a good idea because MTV told you to do it, then it is entirely possible that you are not very smart.

And if you are not smart, I'd really appreciate it if you didn't vote in the coming election.

For example, I was eating dinner the other day at a local restaurant and I heard someone at a nearby table say, "I'm voting for McCain. I heard Obama's into gun control. Nobody's taking away my guns."

I'm not making this up. I'm not exaggerating or paraphrasing. These words have been echoing around in my head for weeks, and it's entirely possible that I will never be rid of them.

If this sounds like something that might come out of your mouth, you need to realize that you are not very smart. I'm not saying you're a bad person. I'm not saying you're evil. What I'm asking is that you consider the very real possibility that you might not be capable of casting an intelligent vote.

Let repeat myself just for clarity's sake. If you're willing to throw in with one candidate based on senseless fear and "something you heard" you are not well-informed, and you shouldn't vote.

Again, I'm not saying you're a bad person. What I am saying is that the fate of the nation is probably too complicated for you to deal with properly. You should stay home on election night and watch some Nascar instead. That's right. Nice, comforting Nascar.

Similarly, I recently overheard someone say, "I'm voting for Obama. It's about time we had a cute president."

Oh anonymous young lady, on election night, please stay at home and watch America's Top Model, or whatever you insipid, feckless, witfucked pogs do for entertainment. I say this simply because all available evidence points toward you not being smart enough to vote.

Well... let me correct that. You *are* smart enough to vote. All of you are. You are also smart enough to design a skyscraper or assemble a nuclear bomb. You *can* do these things….

…But you shouldn't. You shouldn't do these things because, odds are, you do not possess the knowledge base and critical thinking skills to do them *well.* That's the problem.

Think for a second. If you were riding along in a plane, and the stewardess came up to you and said, "I'm sorry to bother you. But our pilot just fainted, can you fly a 747?"

Any rational human's response to this situation has to be, "Shit no. I can't fly this thing. People would die."

(Except if you're a pilot, of course. This analogy won't work if you're a pilot. Sorry.)

What amazes me is that sensible people who would refuse to pilot a plane because they don't know enough to fly, will, without hesitation, rush out to vote as if they're fully qualified. The result is that a mass of well-intentioned but ignorant people go into the booth and start pulling levers like they know what they're doing….

…But they don't. And because of this, slowly, our county begins to spiral out of control, spewing smoke and diving toward the hard earth below.

One final illustration.

About a month ago I was giving Sarah's friends a ride somewhere. Two 17 year old girls.

Sarah turned around to face them in the backseat and said, "If you guys could vote, who would you vote for?"

One spoke up quickly, "McCain. It would be cool if we finally had a woman vice president."

"Yeah!" the other one chimed in.

"Really," I said. It wasn't a question, just a statement. "Really," I said. "Wow."

"What?" one of them asked. "What do you think about Palin?"

"I think she's ridiculously underqualified," I said. "And her social policies are horrifying."

There was a pause from the backseat.

"I guess I'd vote for Obama then," the first girl said.

"Me too!" said the other.

This, in my opinion, is a terrifying snapshot of a large section of the American voting populace. They will decide who to vote for based on the information gathered from television commercials, Fox News, and youtube videos. Others will vote based on fear, based on misinformation, based on what their friends told them.

This year when I go in to vote, I know what will happen. I'm going to stand in line, and I will see some young college student, voting for the first time. Some young man, some young woman. They will be beautiful, bright eyed, and excited about participating in democracy.

Then I will see them wearing a T-shirt that boldly proclaims their political allegiance. And I will know that this beautiful young person is going to vote for a politician whose platform is pure poison to their future. I will see a young man ready to vote for a politician who will cut government funding to his university, raising his tuition and making it even harder to get a student loan. I will see a young woman ready to vote for a politician who will actively oppose her hopes for equal rights, good health care, and reliable birth control.

They will vote for politicians who will make it harder for them to get good jobs in the future. Politicians who will pollute the land and poison the waters. Politicians who will let write laws that will undermine the their right to free speech, then turn around tell them who it is legal to love.

These beautiful, young, hopeful people will go in and vote, fully believing that they are acting in their own best interest. They will vote believing that they are responsible citizens. That they are doing the right thing, that they are good people.

This last, at least, is true. They are good people. They have the best intentions. And they are slowly, confidently crashing my plane.

The truth is, no politician will every give you everything you want. But one of them will be better than the others. One of them is probably looking out for your best interests, and the others are looking out for someone else. If you aren't smart enough to figure out which is which, that's a problem. If you vote for the wrong one because you saw some catchy youtube video, then you are not a good human being.

So please. If you think you might be uninformed on the issues, consider not voting. If you are uninformed, not-voting is actually the responsible thing to do.

How can you tell if you're uninformed? Here's a tip: if you've spent more time planning your Halloween costume than learning about the election, you probably shouldn't vote.

If you're having doubts about whether or not you're well informed, well…. congratulations. Self-doubt is the foundation stone of critical thought. If you can admit to being unsure, there's a chance that you might actually be a rational, intellectually articulate human being. I salute you.


The next step is to get informed. Here's my advice on that.

First, be aware that your voice counts much more in local politics that it does in the presidential race. There are going to be all sorts of names on that ballot, not just McCain and Obama. Once, my friends and I got together and realized that if we voted in a block, we would control a full 10% of our town's votes in our particular district. That is power.

Secondly, make a list of all the loud people you know. The people who are always sure of themselves. Political pundits go on the list: Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Bill O'Reilly. Other candidates include personal acquaintances, relatives, and co-workers. Most bloggers belong on this list. So do I.

Got your list? You need to stop listening to the people on it. You need to take every piece of information they've ever said, and pull it squirming and fighting out of your of your head, because odds are whatever they told you is terribly skewed, if not an outright lie.

Sixthly and lastly, think of the people who you respect. Not someone you're fond of. Someone you respect. There's a difference. For example, I'm fond of the friends that I play board games with, but I respect the scrawny math teacher I once saw step fearlessly into a fistfight to save someone from getting their ass mercilessly kicked.

Ask the people you respect what they think about the election. Then ask them *why* they think that way.

Thirdly, think of someone you know that's smarter than you. Someone more informed than you. This is the person who, if you were going to buy a car, you would for their help. Not because they know about cars, but because they're smart, and they they're good at digging up information.

If you're having trouble thinking of someone like this, here's a hint. They are usually unassuming, considerate, and they listen more than they talk. Good candidates are teachers, librarians, and some journalists.

But honestly, occupation doesn't matter much. For me, this person is a friend named Andy, and I don't think he'll be offended if I call him what he is. A computer geek. I know other smart folks, but Andy tends to be my go-to guy when something is complicated, and I can't be bothered to do 10 hours of research to untangle the issue myself.

I've done my research on the election. I know quite a bit. But I still plan on talking to Andy before the event because I don't doubt for a second that he knows things I don't. Even better, Andy isn't afraid to argue. Best of all, Andy is more than willing to tell me when he thinks I'm full of shit and being utterly wrongheaded on an issue.

In brief, he is my favorite sort of friend, and I have no doubt that he will help me get my head on straight before I go in to vote. I hope you have someone similar in your life.

Geh. That's all. The pillar of burning rage inside me is guttering low, leaving me feeling kind of shaky and hollow, same as always.

If you're still reading this, I'm sorry. It's way longer than it should be, and has cost me a whole night's work on the book. But if I had gone this whole election without saying anything, I would have felt irresponsible. I would have felt by saying nothing, I was effectively committing a lie of omission. A coward's lie.

Good lord. Do I leave the comments on for this one? Though I know better, I think I will. I'm going to consider this a test, if y'all can behave like civilized human beings in the comments below, discussing politics politely and rationally, then it will give me renewed hope for the world. Good, honest conversation about the issues with other intelligent people is the key to understanding. Socrates knew that.

If things degenerate into snarky backbiting and proselytizing in the comments… well… then I guess I'll just heave a deep, weary sigh, and another little piece of me will die.

So yeah. Comments. Disagreement is fine, so long as we're polite and rational.

Did I mention polite and rational?

Polite and rational.


pat

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129 Comments:

Blogger merus said...

You may not be able to rely on the internet to be polite and rational, but you can rely on them to respond with a hearty "first!"

I'm not in America, and therefore can't vote, but I did some research into the Democratic candidates. I always thought it strange when people later picked up on the theme that Obama's got a little cult built up around him because I knew exactly what policies of his I supported. Of course, they're policies that I think have been referred to once, briefly. They're like, online. It's not that hard to get a sense of the issues, seriously. Thirty minutes with Wikipedia was enough for me to dismiss Ron Paul as a crackpot. It is totally not outside your grasp to take the reins of the country you have been given, and as a foreigner I implore you to actually give a shit about who's driving this planet? Seriously. Being an ignorant fucktard affects us all, not just you.

I live in a country where voting is compulsory. It's interesting how it changes the game to include a whole bunch of people who don't really care but have to come up with some way to justify their decision. In my local elections, because I'd just moved in and forgot about election day, I ended up voting based on the attention paid to the campaign. The challenger's block (not many parties in local politics) had produced a terribly amateurish flyer and had some silly handmade signs outside complaining about rates. I figured that complaining about rates and services was kind of the go-to issue if you're running against the incumbent when there's really nothing wrong, and

For federal and state elections I'm a bit more informed. I just find the local elections a bit silly, really. They'd be more interesting if they actually had any responsibilities other than make it harder to build things and maintain the public areas.

October 13, 2008 4:13 AM  
Anonymous Wilfred said...

Hi Pat,

A very good article. Sadly you are right about most people not knowing what they are doing when they vote.

Here in The Netherlands we have some very simple tools that help people find out who they actually agree with on the issues instead of just on their gut feeling (though that also plays a part).

There is even one for the US election in English that you could use. You can find it here:

http://www.dag.nl/kieskompas.htm

Not surprisingly I managed to score in the extreme left/progressive corner, as I think the majority of Dutch do.

October 13, 2008 4:25 AM  
Blogger Arevanye said...

Good candidates are teachers, librarians, and some journalists.

Awww, I love me some Pat today.

I'm voting for Obama because...George R.R. Martin told me to.

Okay, that's not the reason I'm voting for "that one", but I think it's cool that GRRM is backing my guy. That's acceptable, isn't it?

October 13, 2008 4:49 AM  
Blogger Charles Schultz said...

Curious, just how does one get one's dick stuck in a door in the first place? Does this have something to do with the boss's wife?

My biggest pet peeve about the US elections is that there are essentially two parties you end up voting for, whether you like it or not. Either you vote for one of the dreaded parties, or you vote against it by voting for someone else. What kind of sense does that make? I do not want a "Republican" nor a "Democrat" in the White House. How do I get that? If voting for Nader could get me there, I would do it now. But Nader winning the elections?

Possibly one good thing that might come from having folks not vote would be if they were to do so with the clear intent of "Hey, the candidates suck!" Or at least be able to send some kind of message that tells the upper echelons that there is a boycott going on because the system is screwed up.

Whether people are smart enough or too dumb to vote is a tricky issue as well. I would ask "Why does one require any amount of savviness to cast a vote?". Really. Why is it such a game?

What if the elections were held by Nigel Lythgoe? I bet more people would vote, and it would be a true popularity contest; one giant national homecoming court.

In closing, I do feel bad for all earnest, honest, sacrificial men and women who have laid down their lives over the years during the time when fighting wars with other nations actually meant defending our real frickin' rights. But that's another story.

October 13, 2008 5:03 AM  
Anonymous Ben said...

I agree. A poorly informed populace is the bane of Democracy.

I'm guessing that a lot of the people that like your book, and therefore show up to read the blog, are probably more informed than your average bear. Soin some ways you might be preaching to the choir here.

So, if you don't mind, I'm going to spread this link around a bit, with the hope that some other folks out there might be shamed into doing a little research.

Normally, I'd ask, but with you, I'm assuming it's kosher. You're savvy enough to know that once you post something up online, people are going to link to it...

October 13, 2008 5:27 AM  
Anonymous MadRussian said...

Pat,
This is my first time posting on your blog, although I read it regularly, and first of all I just want to say that I love your book.

Now, on the subject of politics I just want to say one thing. All too frequently I see people hate each other solely based on their political opinions. I find that absurd. I fully expect people to vote in their own self interest and based on their own morals so when a poor person votes for a candidate that will increase taxes on the wealthy and provide him/herself with more government based freebies I find that very logical. At the same time I fully expect a wealthy person to support a candidate that will give businesses tax breaks and reduce taxes and government wealfare/social spending.

I find that these days I can't even get into a rational political discussion anymore because people will hate you as a person for having opinions and views that disagree with their own. I think that both parties have completely demonized each other so if you are a member of the GoP you think anyone voting democrat is a bunch of homo baby killing commies, and if you are a democrat all republicans are fascist gun toting racists.

I would just like to urge everyone to be a little more tolerant of opposing viewpoints. Realize that people who vote differently then you aren't necessarily wrong in their reasoning, it's just their outlook on life is different then yours. Learn to agree to disagree and let the votes decide this countries' future. I think both candidates and both parties have valid reasons to vote for them, the only hard part is deciding which ones best fit your personal values, morals, and opinions.

Lastly I really liked that you didn't expressly endorse one candidate over the other. Yeah, I know from several points in your post that you're voting for Obama, but you didn't urge others to vote for him unlike other authors on their blogs. (see GrrM, who needs to spend a little less time on politics and a little more writing his 4 year overdue book.)

October 13, 2008 5:53 AM  
Blogger Cassie said...

I think MTV's rock the vote is a good idea to get the ball rolling. Now they need to have a follow up like "Rock the informed vote". It is sad that at least in my area, some of the minority communities that will feel the most change from these elections are the poorest shows come election day (quoting the local news, which may or may not be completely accurate).

I would not vote for McCain just for a female VP (BTW, she is under qualified. He should have just taken Tina Fey.) Nor would I vote for Obama just to get a black person into the White House. It's like Bush getting a second term just because he got all the Christians to say "He's my Christian brother. Gotta vote for him!" We all have seen how that turned out! (Just so you know, I'm a church going, Bible reading preacher's kid so I can talk about my people)

October 13, 2008 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Kip, wears pants said...

Pat have I ever told you I love you?

Not in that creepy fan way, or in the "Gay for Pat" type of way. But in the "holy shit, finally someone who knows what the hell they are talking about, and is not afraid to say it, I wan tthem on my team" type of way.

I totaly agree with what you are saying, granted I vote in an odd way myself.

I personally subscribe to the view that we are fucked either way we choose, mainly because politicians treat politics like some sort of popularity contest (Which in a sense it is). But too many politicians want to do what makes them popular with the voters, not what is actually good for America.

So what I do is sit back and watch the options given to me. I don't listen to their words, but I watch them, their body language, and movements, I get an idea of their character based on this, and I vote for whichever I like more.

Mainly for the reason that I would rather be fucked by someone I like, than by someone I don't.

October 13, 2008 6:47 AM  
Blogger Durham said...

I'm not American, so this will just be a comment in general on politics.

The moment politics goes to hell is when candidate X starts to care more about what his opponent would do badly instead of what he himself could do well.

Call it mudslinging or whatever you want, it just pisses me off and has absolutely no productive value. You just make a dick of yourself. Unfortunately in contemporary politics it applies to everyone.

Let me clarify. Saying that I could do this better than candidate Y is perfectly fine, you're highlighting your positive points. Saying that candidate X is a bad candidate because he didn't pay a parking fine fifteen years ago (just a stupid example) doesn't add anything...

That is one of the major reasons why I don't vote. I consider myself quite well-informed, I even try to sift through the bias present in the newssource I read (which happens to be the BBC, but that's beside the point). I don't vote because I'm not informed, I vote because I don't want to vote.

It's not that I don't agree with the ideas candidates have. Some of them have some pretty good ideas. I just don't feel like giving my backing to someone with the "typical politician personality".

I'll have to totally agree with the electorate being misinformed and generally stupid. Take when France was voting about the European Constitution (I'm not French either). They voted no because they didn't agree with the policies of the president at the time. Very mature...

Anyway, I don't really have the time to go on a rant, got to get back to work...

October 13, 2008 6:50 AM  
Blogger Matt Street said...

So...who's ready for Pat's sex and religion blogs. I know I am. No really, I am. I'm not being sarcastic; Pat, when are you going to write a juicy sex blog?

October 13, 2008 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,
A very long blog and it leads to even longer answers. I understand what you mean but isn't the entire voting system just a popularity contest.

I'm also from the Netherlands and we mostly vote for the party, with a preference for a person. But in the US you just vote for a person. And if this person has not been poor or has a son in the army or a handicapped kid they have to fight harder for the votes. I don't think you can fix the elections by stopping the 'dumb' people to vote. A popularity contest is more about the person then the ideas. It's a shame but that's the truth.

October 13, 2008 7:18 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

You've made a really excellent point, Pat. It's not cool for people to just... vote, arbitrarily. It scares me a lot.

The quote you had about voting for McCain? I have a friend who literally said that same phrase to me last fall. I was blown away.

I hope this helps a lot of people, because it surely helped me realize I need to research more too.

October 13, 2008 7:33 AM  
OpenID kslorelei said...

Pat,

Thank you for reinforcing what I was telling both my college age children to do on election day. The best way to change the status quo is to do it locally.

And thank you also for being honest. I respect honesty, above all things.

Jon
Kansan
USA

October 13, 2008 7:34 AM  
Blogger Steve H. said...

Pat-o-rama~

You may dismiss Rock The Vote but dare you begin to disregard the infamous "VOTE OR DIE" campaign!? I mean Diddy has come out and said if you don't vote you will DIE! DIDDY! And who wouldn't want to get their election knowledge from Diddy? After all, he told BK to stay open later.

Someone up above commented on the sorrowful aspect of our US political machine and the fact that we end up with only a Dem or a Rep in the seat of power and I, too, find that to be a travesty. These two wretched parties have snatched all control over the years and they have so bullied the populace into believing that they are the two TRUE political voices...despite the fact that George Washington himself warned the American people to beware of political parties.

Continually trolling about for one of these two keeps us in nothing more than the same cyclical bullshit we've experienced for decades upon decades. But the voice of third party candidates is stifled by the media who, lets face it, are in the bag for Obama and proudly waving the receipt of sale, and by the two main parties who successfully block them from the mockery known as "debates." But, I often hear people say "You know, I'd vote for Bob Barr because I like what he has to say, but he can't win, so I'm voting for Obama."

Imagine if people actually ignored the pressures of the media (which is crap) and actually voted for who they believed was worthwhile from ANY party....the possibility of a third party candidate making serious headway would be a well-earned blow to the bullshit 2-party establishment. Unfortunately we live in a society that prefers a lesser-of-two-evils approach as opposed to a pick the person I think is best approach.

I'm proudly Independent. I have friends who are staunch Republicans and friends who are staunch Democrats and one, apparently, who has decided she is a Socialist. Some make more of an effort than others to be aware of things. Some don't.

One thing I would point out as something that ends up as worrisome as far as my own friends go is that it is my Dem friends who are more vitriolic and hateful and loudly so, accusing my Rep friends of any manner of evils. Some have even joined a Facebook group named "I Hate Republicans" and on said page someone professes to be more "open-minded and accepting" than Republicans are. Really? In a group called "I Hate Republicans" you really want to pat yourself on the back about being "open-minded and accepting??" Really?

What is sad is that in order to get to the heart of the matter one has to avoid the politicians and their spin-meisters altogether, because they just spoon-feed you bullshit you want to hear in order to get 30 second soundbytes for news telecasts that fail to deliver any legitimate and unbiased analysis. And so if you want any modicum of factual content you have to dig like a madman (MAYBE glancing at Wikipedia but I wouldn't go there for any real subjective facts as any yokel with an id can modify the content). Getting the real info is a slog and after a 60 hour workweek I gather that many folks just don't care to spend that much of their remaining time pulling teeth to get some truth.

So if you cut out info given to you from that person who gives you info, and you cut out Limbaugh and Moore and Hannity and FoxNews, and lets not forget MSNBC, CNN, ABC, any newspaper, any radio show, eventually you're left with no way to get any info and you're right back where you started...wondering just what the hell to do and who to believe. Because even that one respected friend has to get their info from somewhere, and chances are it is from any of the aforementioned sources, which have all been decried as untrustworthy.

Fact is, no matter who you turn to, whether you respect them or not, you're going to get a biased view. In the end, I still maintain you have to expose yourself to all of it, not ignore all of it, and make your decision after considering all the evidence in front of you and deciding for yourself what is valid and true.

I just had jury duty. We didn't just ignore evidence that was presented. We had to look at all of it and decide what was right, what was wrong, what fit, discuss the scenarios, etc.

Voting should be the same way. Look at it all. See how the pieces fit when you pull back and examine it. What fits, what doesn't.

Then pull the lever.

But for the love of God, stop voting for a letter after the name of candidates.

October 13, 2008 7:39 AM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

Man, some of these commentors got some lungs on 'em!

Discussing politics in the military is a very slippery, one-sided slope, one of which I typically find myself at the bottom end. Anyone who has chosen the military for a career beyond their first enlistment pretty much has their political party lined up. I just keep my mouth shut.

October 13, 2008 8:03 AM  
Anonymous jeff hotchkiss said...

Unfortunately, it's not just young people. I saw a truck this past weekend with the following written sloppily in Sharpie on the tailgate:

It's God bless America
Not God damn America
NOBAMA!

October 13, 2008 8:08 AM  
Blogger Karl Ruben said...

Thank you so much for some very thought-provoking advice on making an important decision. I'm not an American citizen, so I won't be voting - but I think what you're saying can be easily applied to other kinds of decisions.
That said, I was kinda riled by one thing you wrote in your piece. I would think that using NASCAR and America's Next Top Model as examples of the kind of entertainment enjoyed by people-so-stupid-they-shouldn't-vote doesn't really have any effect other than galvanising those who look down on said entertainments, and alienate everyone who enjoys them. I guess this is just a rhetorical tool you're using, but even so, judging (or measuring) people's intelligence based on the kinds of entertainments they like is something I would think a self-professed geek/nerd such as yourself would want to rise above.
Sorry for the nitpicking - like I said, I think the gist of your post was very edifying and inspiring.

October 13, 2008 8:10 AM  
Blogger Brock Cusick said...

Pat, do you know what the best thing about this post is? You only have to write it once. You can repost this word for word in four years and save yourself a day's work - just switch out the names. :) Being informed is always "Best Practices."

Good post.

PS- Wilfred, nice link. I found that compass to be quite accurate. It correctly pegged me as favoring neither of the present candidates! :)

October 13, 2008 8:11 AM  
Blogger sparkly_jules said...

Amen, brutha'!!!

October 13, 2008 8:17 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

I am now completely overwhelmed by words. Thanks.....? Im off to actually watch that second debate, I think.

October 13, 2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Kinson said...

While I agree with some of your points (ie: stupid people shouldn't vote), it seems to me that you went back on your own first point midway through your post. At the beginning you mentioned that public figures, like yourself, should not vote because it may anger some of their fans which way you vote. Later you seem to accidentaly admit who you would vote for, and, that you plan to vote. I am just going to file this post under the, "celebrities shouldn't be political - I can still like them anyway" part of my mind.

October 13, 2008 8:26 AM  
Blogger Sailor Matt said...

@Karl: I think the TV show reference is an illustration of how the owners of these political comments have sealed their own fates by fitting themselves so nicely into the stereotypes society has assigned them.

When I read Pat's blog, my initial emotional response was that Pat was pointing out the stereotypes these people were perpetuating, not actually making the assignment himself. Break the mold, break the bonds, so to speak.

October 13, 2008 8:29 AM  
Blogger Chro said...

See, here I thought you were going to tell us that we shouldn't vote for any of the candidates because none of them have a beard. ;)

I know exactly what you mean, though. I live in the bible belt, where people come up with any excuse to vote against Obama that doesn't involve them looking at the issues. "I just don't trust him" or "He's a Muslim, no matter what he claims" are the top two that drive me nuts. The third I hear is sort of a valid issue, but they're completely misinformed: "Obama's going to raise taxes." Naturally, these aren't people making more than 250k a year, these are people who don't even make 50k a year.

I intend to vote, but I've been watching this election since the primaries. I know where I stand on each issue, and I know which candidate is on my side for the vast majority of them. I declare myself an independent, because my thoughts on each issue don't align exactly with either party. And I'm proud to do so.

Of course, instead of writing this huge, long post, you could've just told everyone to go watch Swing Vote. That's pretty much the movie's entire concept.

October 13, 2008 8:41 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I've been following the presidential race closely for like six months now so I suppose I'm "well informed."

But I'm still probably not voting for the national race. Call me cynical or apathetic but I really don't think that either candidate is going to rescue the economy, health care, the national debt, or social security. Campaign promises never match up with results... except maybe with James K Polk.

More than that, the issues I really care about are on both sides of the fence so I can't just comfortably vote along party lines either.

That said, I am voting in the local races, and I'll keep paying attention during the last presidential debate - hoping that one of them can change my mind. In the meantime - meh.

October 13, 2008 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Kalligenia said...

I'm not an American citizen, but I'm married to an American and I'm so very glad that I'm not allowed to vote. I get a throbbing vein headache even after watching a minute of politics on the news. I grew up in Canada and the politics there aren't any better. You may think you have more parties to choose from that have better odds, but really, when it comes down to it, you know how it's going to end up.

I have seen and heard so many idiotic and frightening things said about the politicians in this election. I think there should be an exam people have to pass to see how informed they are before they vote!

October 13, 2008 8:57 AM  
OpenID darcblayde said...

Hi Pat...
Big fan of your work, and a member of your facebook list...and this is the first time I've commented...
Is that because I don't love your book, no it's not...it's because I can't say anything that hasn't been said already...
But when it comes to politics everyone has a different view.
I have to say your post was fantastic...I'm in England but I've heard people over here say that noone will vote for Obama cos America won't accept a black president...shows you how informed our populace is...
But importantly I'd like to refer to a comment made elsewhere in this thread...and add my two pennies worth...
My partner refuses to vote...
Not because she is uninformed...though she will be the first person to say that she isn't...but because there is no abstain option on the ballot paper...
She wants to be able to...(and though I vote I agree with this)...make a protest by ticking a "none of the above" box and informing the powers-that-be that she believes no-one is suitable in the role for her opinion...
Now IF i were able to vote in the US elections I know where I would vote, and in the next British general Election I know where I'll vote...but I, like my partner, would feel much more comfortable if, at the bottom of the ballot paper, there was a box marked "None"...

DJP

October 13, 2008 9:04 AM  
Blogger jharnum said...

respect, Mr. R.

Though I agree with much of what you said, what resonated most was the willingness to put yourself out there, and the rationale behind the act. Keeping it real is worth nearly any price. No intelligent or worthwhile conversation can come from toady, sycophantic sensibilities. Kudos.

A semi-related article on political caricature that extends and informs this discussion is worth a read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/arts/13conn.html?th&emc=th

October 13, 2008 9:20 AM  
Blogger Karl Ruben said...

@SailorMatt: I think you might be spot on about that - in any case, your point is really good. Thanks for schooling me!

October 13, 2008 9:24 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

Hey Pat, I'm a huge fan, and have been reading the blog for a while now, never posted. Let me start by saying, nice post. I can really appreciate where you're coming from, but I appreciate more where you went. At the beginning of the post I was thinking to myself, "this is the same garbage John Stassel was on about" this past Friday on 20/20. But you then separated yourself from his "holier than thou" piece by actually encouraging people to become informed. Stassel just wanted to be controversial and encourage people to not vote (I am trying very hard to omit my rant on his personal political views and how they would be served by this strategy).

I do, however, have a bit of an issue with the discouragement of voting in our country. I would rather it just be an encouragement to become informed. My wife served in the Peace Corps for two years in a country with a more than 60% HIV infection rate, is 85% below poverty level, and has only one major road. They consistently turn out over 90% voter participation. In a country where Minnesota and Wisconsin are looked upon as having two of the highest voter participation rates, yet neither tops 56%, it saddens me that we would sooner encourage less participation than greater education.

Having said all that, I get it. Those of us who do pay attention and keep ourselves informed (as the posters here seem to be) are in the minority. I personally think the onus is on us to spread the idea of becoming informed to those who would rather get their political information from Entertainment Tonight or People Magazine.

On a separate note, I would highly discourage anyone from using Wikipedia as a source of information on anything of any import. Be it research for school, to verify an historical fact, or (and this above the rest) anything political. As the US Presidential race becomes more and more negative, if you think either party is above editing their own, or their rivals' entry for their personal gain, you are sadly mistaken. I persoanlly use NPR as a reliable source. I read the BBC website as it is an impartial observer, and I make sure to visit places like factcheck.org to verify any information that doesn't ring true.

Just my two cents.

Now, Mr. Rothfuss, if you'd be so kind, Back to Writing! I have an addiction to feed. ;-)

October 13, 2008 9:35 AM  
Anonymous carmstrong said...

Not voting in an election says just as much, if not more, than voting. An ignorant and ill-informed citizenry are, sadly, mostly to blame for allowing these contests to devolved into competition between the lesser of two evils, rather than who is best for the country.

Sadly, the only qualification for voting is being in the age of majority.

Good editorial, Pat!

October 13, 2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger Micah Cowan said...

The "heard that Obama's into gun control" is probably the unfortunate result of the NRA's bizarre ad campaign that makes exactly that claim.

FactCheck.org has thoroughly debunked this, which of course has prompted the NRA to question FactCheck's impartiality and independence. :?

TruthFightsBack.com (which actually isn't impartial or independent) has a decent summary of FactCheck.org's analysis.

But no, I haven't missed your point, Pat. Regardless of whether or not it's true (which, again, it's not), no one should be voting from hearsay.

October 13, 2008 9:58 AM  
Blogger Robert Crandall said...

This post proves something I've long considered true:

Longs posts beget long comments.

Here I thought I'd be one of the first to comment, and therefore write a decent length, intelligent comment, but I'm too late. Chances of this post being read are very low. I'll try anyway.

Good post. I agree with almost all of it. I've followed the advice here already, believing in it myself. After a lot of research and attempting to educate myself, and talk with people I disagree with (though I respect), I came to a startling conclusion:

I personally believe either (presidential) candidate will be good for our country. Both candidates have the ability to shake up Washington. Despite advertisements and biased news (on both sides of the spectrum), I don't think either candidate will destroy the nation. And both candidates will be better for us than the current Administration. Most of the time, I won't even say who I'm voting for. (For me, this election was selected by vice presidents. Statistically speaking, we're due for a president to die in office. Who's more likely: the first black person in a nation that still harbors silent [and not so silent] racists, or the oldest person ever to get elected in the first term?)

But what's scary, and what makes me almost cry, is that people like me won't decide this election. Intelligent, educated people make up a very small percentage of voters. It is the attack ads I've taken care to avoid that will ultimately sway the people who do decide the election. I also see them in the street and on blogs, and I burn in rage at their utter stupidity.

How sad for America :(

October 13, 2008 10:01 AM  
Blogger FortuneCookieSecrets.com said...

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years." ~ Alexander Fraser Tytler

When you can't say it eloquently enough, allow some one else to say it better.

Pat, love the book, love the post. Am only sorry that we live in 1984. This country, and the world, are at a crossroads and unfortunately (that's really funny since I own a fortune cookie company!) most American's, well intentioned or not, have no understanding or appreciation for how weighty a decision this is.

It doesn't matter weather you believe in gun control or not, or abortion, or gay marriage, or any of the other so called "issues"... News Flash, there is a MUCH deeper and bigger picture than all of the petty differences we are taught to look at and believe in.

Thank you Pat for the perspective. Honestly, I like you more than I did before. And this post was so heartfelt, I am sending you some cookies! Then on November 4th I will watch the masses vote me out of business...

October 13, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger BJ said...

I think the best possible qualification to become president of the United States is to serve as the governor of one of those said states.

October 13, 2008 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Bo said...

dugg


http://digg.com/political_opinion/PSA_Why_You_Shouldn_t_Vote

October 13, 2008 10:17 AM  
Blogger Wysen said...

I came here to see if stinky cabbage was being tossed around and I'm leaving dissappointed.

/not really
//glad it hasn't devolved into R/D arguments

October 13, 2008 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Well said, Pat. However, one thing strikes me as problematic: for the people your blog post is instructing there are way too many words, dude.

October 13, 2008 10:25 AM  
Blogger eric said...

ooooohhh... am I going to be the odd man out and disagree? Not entirely -- I DO agree that uninformed voters are the bane of our electoral process, because of the venomous hatred they tend to spew. And I ALSO agree that the best way to become informed is to talk to those whose opinions you respect.

In fact I would add one more step to that -- find people you respect who are voting for opposite sides. Because gaurenteed, respectable people are on both sides, and if you can't find one on a particular side... chances are you're so surrounded by groupies that any reasonable hope of being truly informed is already out the window. Honestly, when races are practically 50/50, and you can't find one respectable person on the other side, the problem isn't with that side, it's with you. That should be common sense. To say otherwise is to proclaim that "all supporters of candidate X are tards" which should be, umm, common un-sense.

Problem is, these races are close. And Obama and McCain are ridiculously similar. Iraq policies? Probably identical. (Unless "leaving Iraq when Patreus says we've won" and "pulling out from Iraq unless Patreus says we haven't won yet" are different). Energy plans? Environment? Close enough (if not identical) that how much they accomplish on this front won't be determined by their platform, but rather by their ability to get things done.

Health care- different! But here's the thing -- they are both trying to solve the problem, and both plans have risks. This is an issue you can vote on! If you think you know enough to tell which plan, if either, will actually work, that is, and that's some _serious_ research.

So you know what? With platforms this close, I don't mind people voting on intangibles. 'cause again, these guys agree on what the problems are, and sometimes agree on how to fix them. Enough so that if my candidate loses, I won't even be upset!

But talk (especially stump talk) is cheap. And enacting solutions is hard. So voting for the one you think might actually be _effective_ is, well, maybe a good way to go!

Of course this is a horribly gray area -- Obama will have congress behind him, he can get stuff done! But McCain has experience and has reached across the aisle before, he can really get stuff done! Oh but wait, he went and chose Palin, who whether you like her or not, was clearly chosen to primarily to steal uninformed votes, so maybe he's not so great...

And so on and so forth. The thing is, the candidate most perceived as able to get things done, will from that have the political capital to in fact get things done. And if that isn't a scary feedback problem I don't know what is...

But what it comes down to is this. You can argue (and I guess I am) that the most important thing, in our political system, in order to get stuff done, is for the president to be popular, and to stay popular. Or if you don't want things to get done, make sure you've got the unpopular guy in office.

Since most people right now want solutions and not the status quo... a popularity contest for president might actually make sense.

Now, if you happen to believe that these two candidates are significantly different on an important issue, you're howling at me now.

But I don't -- or at least where they are significantly different, I can't tell which is _right_.

So I want whichever one will be effective.

Which means they need the support of the "uninformed masses".

Which means I want uninformed people to choose the president. See, democracy works!

October 13, 2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger Mike Toot said...

I've long said that the franchise should be limited in some way. Self-selecting based on ignorance would be great. Sadly, the Dunning-Kruger syndrome states that incompetent people rate themselves as highly competent, even when shown evidence to the contrary. (The corollary is that highly competent individuals consider themselves less competent than they actually are. Great summary at Wikipedia, and it explains a lot about many things in life.)

Extrapolating to the election, it is the ignorant who are most likely to cast votes. Kind of sad.

October 13, 2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair and balance post Pat, although only a liberal would feel like he or she had to make this type of post or be a coward.

My take, as one who used to really care, it doesn't matter who you vote for, your life will continue on as it always has. Politicians will let you down (yes, even Obama).

Politics masquerades as something meaningful, but it's hollow. Find something that is actually meaningful to you and the ones you love.

October 13, 2008 10:50 AM  
Blogger Robert S said...

I totally agree with this. On the news recently they told us about a woman voting for the first time in her life for Obama. Her reason, she wanted to see a black president. To make it more ridiculous, she was in her 60s. This woman had passed up her chance to effect her country's future 10 time in her life, but now because of someone's pigmentation she was willing to vote! If you agree with where he stands on the issues then go for it, but don't vote for him because of some skin cells.

October 13, 2008 10:56 AM  
Blogger Baron said...

Pat, love your book and read your blog regularly, but I'm going to do whatever the hell I want to get ready to vote.

Tell me, when does one become "informed" enough to vote? What sources do I need to check so that I become "an acceptable" voter? How many issues do I need to weigh before I get your blessing? Voting, like freedom of speech, is my right. And I am entitled to do with it as I may -- either waive it, squander it on some foolish premise (like voting for Obama because of what Tyra said during America's Next Top Model), or prepare with care and responsibility, like reading the proposed legislation voted on by the candidates during their time in the Senate. That's why they call it freedom. I am free to do what I want while preparing to vote, and no one has any greater right to keep me from doing it the way I want to.

In my opinion, do people vote for "the wrong reasons" and make poorly reasoned decisions? Absolutely. But they are allowed to, just like how you are allowed to lecture them about how they are voting in a poorly conceived manner. Again, that freedom thing.

October 13, 2008 11:06 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Pat, I find many of your thoughts and ideas quite refreshing and that includes this current one. I do believe that everyone should vote, but if one does vote they should do so after becoming informed and really thinking through everything. Most reasons I hear for a person's vote are completely meaningless and superficial. Thank you for your blunt and unapologetic opinions. Keep up the complete awesomeness you have heretofore demonstrated.

October 13, 2008 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a tad disappointed that you made this post, but that doesn't really matter because you shouldn't care what I think anyway.

I just want to bring up the 24th amendment. In this discussion, it has been mentioned that there should be qualifications to vote, and that kind of violates the 24th amendment (or at least the idea of the 24th amendment).

As a very general trend, more educated people tend to be in the middle and upper classes. Any restrictions on voting rights would effectively be a class restriction, which goes against the very idea of our country. Well actually the founding fathers would have liked that idea, but they aren't infallible.

The idea that less intelligent people, less educated people, or less wealthy people should not vote is saying that they don't have a say in the government, and that is just one step closer to the downfall of our democracy.

October 13, 2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger Micah Cowan said...

@anonymous,

This isn't about restricting votes to specific classes. This is about asking people to not vote about things they haven't taken the time to investigate and/or understand.

Do you really want people to vote for their president based on what they "heard"?

October 13, 2008 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Jaimo said...

Pat, you opened up a can of worms! I just wanted to throw in a comment from a friend of mine who "won't vote for Obama because he doesn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance". Of course, had my friend researched this himself, rather than spout rumors, he would see it is entirely untue.

October 13, 2008 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Abe said...

Having read your post, Master Rothfuss, there are only two things I have to say:

First, I wish everyone followed the "don't vote if you're uninformed" credo. The country would be a nicer place if citizens and politicians alike didn't vote on issues they didn't understand.

Secondly: Butter side down? Butter side down?! You monster! My god, and to think that I respected you. Butter side down... What is the world coming to?

October 13, 2008 12:28 PM  
Blogger King Sheep said...

I love you Pat, but I don't agree. While I agree that many stupid people vote, encouraging them not to do so is a fool's errand. Additionally, I fear that anyone who is swayed by your reasonable argument is likely to be someone who should vote.

Our democracy (even if it is mostly a republic) is best served by everyone voting (stupid and smart alike). We've lived with the consequences of uninformed voting for the last 8 years, but the choice of Bush had more to do with the limitations of a two-party system than idiots pulling levers. Also, I have to call you on your false analogy with the plane flight example. Voting is not a highly skilled, life-or-death endeavor - you just wish it was. Your logical fallacy goes the core of my disagreement. An ideal democracy includes everyone's vote, even if it is based on cuteness or rumor.

Were we living in the same town, we'd be drinking triple shot mochas and trying to keep our voices down. But in the online forum we struggle with the same limitations that face politicians, namely there is no discussion, only sound bites.

October 13, 2008 12:28 PM  
OpenID darthslacker said...

I appreciate this post, just for the simple fact I hardly ever hear any one have the guts to say "don't vote if you aren't educated on the issues" or something to that effect.

I am thoroughly sick of both candidates and political parties-as well the media which seems to be fickle and unable to be impartial with any sort of consistency. I am also sick of idiots on both sides: the "You're an uneducated, inbred, idiot if you like Palin" camp and the "Obama is a communist Muslim" side.

No one seems to feel that even if you don't like another person's choice for president/vp, they might actually have some valid reasons for voting for them.

I hate that type of thinking. I don't like Obama's politics, or Obama himself, but then other people might identify with him more-even if they aren't part of the "Obama is the Messiah" crowd. Does that make them America hating, terrorist sypathizing, commies?

Stereotyping just sucks. My brother and sister-in-law are a married couple, with a baby, helping to run and manage a family business. And they will probably be voting for Obama, but they aren't America hating, left wing, elitist, fanatics by any means.

And I like Sarah Palin. Not the "worship the ground she walks on, she is without sin" type of like, but the "she's got flaws, but I still like her and share a lot of social views with" type of like. And I'm a college graduate with a degree in Studio Art and Russian, with an Art History minor. Currently I'm employed as a police officer and exhibiting artist. Oh yeah, I'm also a 28 year old women, half Filipina and half caucasian, vegetarian. That profile hardly fits the stereotypes I see/hear on the media and from people all around me.

And I think at least 1/2 the people voting are going to the polls with these idiotic stereotypes in mind.

Seriously, if you are going to vote, don't do it for the "superficial" reasons. What difference does it make what color someone's skin is? Don't vote for them or against them just because of that reason. And don't think that if someone doesn't agree with you they are stupid or bigoted.

October 13, 2008 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Christophe_H said...

As much as I don't like ignorant people going to the voting booth, theres really nothing anybody can do about it. Its their right to do so. Unfortunately, and your absolutely right, people judge the canidates off of irrelevent facts or opinions.

But the only way to win over ignorance is to do something about it. Ignorant people will vote because alot of them are too stubborn to listen to reason. So let them vote if they want. We have the knowledge that reason and education beats ignorance every time.

As for your "crushed dick", "I'd put a poultice on that, or it'll swell terrible." Thanks for the opportunity for others to voices their comments.

October 13, 2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger Fe2O3 said...

Pat -
Amen and Hallelujah! I have worked as a Poll Worker in all of the elections over the last 10 years. It is truly sad to have someone approach me (at the polling place) during non-partisan local elections to ask me which candidate is the Republ-ocrat. After I explain what a non-partisan race is and why the candidates don't indicate a political party, I get a blank stare, folowed by, "But, which candidate is the Republ-ocrat?" It makes me wish part of my job as a Poll Worker involved deciding who was informed enough to vote.

I agree individuals can make a bigger difference at the local level. But individuals can also make a difference by being involved within a specific party's nomination process. For a long time after I could first vote, I considered myself an independent voter and avoided party affiliation. However, I found myself increasingly frustrated at the choices I was given come election day. So, I picked a party and got involved in the selection process. My wife did the same. It didn't happen overnight, but through continual involvement, even when there wasn't a Presidential election going on, we joined with like-minded people and made some changes within our local and state party operations and candidates.

Choosing good leaders isn't just something we do every four years in the ballot box. It is a continual process and everyone needs to be involved at every level and step of the way. It's also easier to stay informed if you are continually motivated to do so.

Great post! Thanks.

October 13, 2008 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Harold said...

Hi Pat,

Unrelated to this particular post but can you confirm that Wise Man's Fear will be coming out this time, in April?

Thanks,

Harold

October 13, 2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger TheTheory said...

A lot of me really agrees with the premise that uneducated voters are scary... still, a large portion of this population had to fight too hard, too long to even get the ability to vote (*cough* women, African Americans*/cough*) that I think it is more dangerous to start encouraging non-voting, regardless of the reasons.

October 13, 2008 1:26 PM  
Anonymous fae said...

Pat,

Are you a Machiavelli fan? Not necessarily on the whole "A good leader must be a good liar," front. But perhaps on "The general populace should not be trusted to know what they want and vote for it because they don't really know what they want."

October 13, 2008 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Kip, Sage said...

I would like to point out this:





**********************************
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH DEMOCRACY IS THAT APPROXIMATELY 50% OF THE PEOPLE VOTING HAVE BELOW AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE.
**********************************





so speaks Kip

October 13, 2008 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good candidates are teachers, librarians, and some journalists.

What happens if you are one of the above mentioned teachers and you have NO CLUE who you are voting for? Seriously, I have such a difficult time deciding and learning about the candidates that I almost decide not to vote.

October 13, 2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I like the post but i disagree with almost everything you said. The biggest problem with the uninformed voters, are the one's voting for Obama because he's black. Which is more than half his support. That is the sad truth. He wouldn't even be in this position if not for his skin color. Also one question for you pat. Why do you think Palin is Unqualified? I think your forgetting that she is running for vice president, and also she has more "experience" than Obama and Biden put together. What have they ever ran? A city? A state? Nothing. I never understood how someone can criticize Palin about experience and still support Obama, it's kind of like an Oxymoron. When i think of Obama i think of someone who steals money from the rich, and gives it to the people who slacked off. I think of someone who turns away the better applicant for college to meet there quota of "lesser income students". That makes me sick to think about. I think of A person who supports the murdering of millions of human beings a year through abortion.

October 13, 2008 2:26 PM  
OpenID pdxtrent said...

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep trying to decide what to have for dinner."

I feel I am reasonably informed, and know who I am voting fr, barring a major change in the playng field. That said, I am nt thrilled with te two party system either, but it's the only game in town.
I am glad to see you didn't use your soapbox to try to cnvince people to vote for 'your' canidate, and that your doing your best to discourage the idiots of the world from voting. Of course, if their reading a doorstopper the size of your book, they're probably ocassionally picking up a paper or newsweek as well.
Keep up the good work, and thanks for the thoughts.

October 13, 2008 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Bill McCarty said...

This is probably the best article on the election that I have ever read. Thanks Pat. Now, if only there was a way to get all of the people who need to read it to read it...

October 13, 2008 2:33 PM  
Blogger eric said...

@michael

Although I probably count as "on your side" I can't agree with your post.

First there's the pro-choice==pro-abortion problem. It's possible to support the right to an abortion without promoting the practice itself, just like it's possible to promote free speech without promoting people saying dumb things. Obama falls in this category. And he rightly points out that the bigger problem is with the teen pregnancy rate, and supports programs (including abstinence programs) to reduce that.

It's fine to think that's not going far enough, and that there's a need to at least allow states to make laws protecting unborn humans, but you shouldn't call him supportive of abortion.

You also mentioned quotas for "lesser income students" -- this is a huge improvement over race-based quotas, and Obama has supported that change. The issue is that performance in high school does not equate to performance in college (at least that was obvious looking around when I went to college). If you want the best students possible, you have to take into account their entire lives up to that point. From that point of view, a rich student with pretty good test scores is probably not as qualified as a poorer student with reasonable test scores. It's not about what you already know, it's about your own ability to learn. If your school couldn't teach and you learned anyway, you should get a leg up for that. Now, you can disagree with gov't enforced quotas, saying the schools should be free to do what they want, but there's nothing wrong with idea of a quota.

As for the experience issue, there I agree with you. Executive experience is important, and neither McCain nor Obama has it. Palin has a small bit of it at least. Unfortunately that's not why McCain chose her, otherwise he would have gone with Romney...

And the stealing from the rich and giving to the poor bit... that by itself isn't a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing when done in such away that the poor stay just as poor as always. Which is why welfare reform happened. As a pro-lifer, I'm assuming you also give to charity (or at least you ought to), and charities generally don't worry about how deserving their recipients are, you know...

Hope this helps stop any incoming flames...

October 13, 2008 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick, how do you feel about Hillary Clinton for the write-in?

October 13, 2008 2:52 PM  
OpenID arcaneja said...

And here I was thinking that I couldn't ever possibly like you any more than I already do.

Very well written.

October 13, 2008 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

I liked the whole post, but I especially agree with the part about Andy. He's made of awesome.

October 13, 2008 3:17 PM  
Blogger Wysen said...

@Michael
That makes me sick to think about. I think of A person who supports the murdering of millions of human beings a year through unjustified wars.

FTFY

I'm sorry, I have a hard time not feeding trolls when I have zingers to feed them with. They are just so cute and cuddly.

On a far more important issue related to this blog, how come Blogger doesn't allow for strikethrough HTML tags? *sad panda*

October 13, 2008 3:30 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

@ baron and christophe_h: Voting is not a right. It is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. It is a privilege enjoyed by the majority of the populace, yes, but felons are unable to vote, regardless of the motivation or nature of their conviction. The spirit of the 24th amendment is to not unfairly restrict the privilege of voting to those that are eligible to vote, but there is nothing in the Constitution guaranteeing the vote.

As for my personal views on the subject, I don't think that there's a definite line that should be drawn anywhere. Of course, people should become educated on the issues and the candidates, but, even if they aren't educated on the politics of the particular election, anyone with a passion for an issue should be able to vote about it.

That's not all, though. People shouldn't just be educated on the primary issues, people should also be educated on every aspect of the political process and all the parties. Regardless of how the "two-party system" works, third party candidates and issues have an undeniable and disproportionate influence on popular issues. The efforts of the Populist and Bull Moose parties of the past had an immense impact on the issues immediately after each election, even though they didn't elect many candidates. The fact is that as little as a ten percent vote, even a three percent vote for a third party candidate will force the issues that they stand for into the main stream. The Green and Libertarian parties of today have enjoyed huge success in bringing their issues to mainstream attention, even though they have very little traditional success at the polls. Third parties are historically powerful.

So, if I may, I would like to suggest and encourage everyone who deems themselves intelligent enough and well enough researched to vote to do a little extra research, and make sure that they are voting for their correct party. If you find that you agree more with the Green party, the Socialist party, the Libertarian party, even the Nazi party, join that party and cast your vote for them. That way, you vote for the change that you truly wish to see in the world and the nation. In that way, a third party vote has more influence than a Republican or Democrat vote.

That being said, if you find that your ideals and allegiance lie more closely with the Crats or the Repubs, please, don't compromise yourself. Vote for who you believe in. But don't dismiss third party candidates out of hand. Just because they "won't be elected" doesn't mean that a third party vote is wasted.

October 13, 2008 4:10 PM  
Blogger Steve Saus said...

Good Lord, look at all the comments.

Pat, I think you should be telling people what you think. Because you're scary smart - or at least, managed to pull off a good enough act to fool me for a couple of panels.

Oh... wait.

You did, didn't you. Damn. That makes my whole rant just fizzle. Argh. Now I have to edit my blog post, and... sheesh.

Great writing, nonetheless.

October 13, 2008 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you slammed your dick in the door buddy.
I respect the fact you spoke your mind, and think it's great you spoke about something you believe in. Here's the but; you told us we were bad people. My self esteem went down some that's for sure. I'm not even old enough to vote, and I came to grips with the fact that I can't separate the truth from the lies in this election. I tried, but no matter what I read, I fee like I'm being lied to.

You called me a bad person man.

I'm not mad pat, just disappointed. Remember that you have people hanging off your every word, even young people like me. I have faith that your a spectacular writer, and that next time you speak your mind you'll think of a less insulting phrase than 'bad person'

October 13, 2008 4:13 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

anyone know a good site for a fair, balanced, decent comparison between the policies of obama and mccain?

October 13, 2008 4:40 PM  
OpenID formerlytom said...

"Again, I'm not saying you're a bad person."

A DIRECT quote from pat's article. Before you try to put pat through a guilt trip for posting his feelings learn to read, please.

You also bring up the issue with famous AND considerate people. It's not that they "slam thier dick in the door", it's that they try to be considerate and polite while still expressing thier individuality. Then someone comes along and slaps them in the face, telling them that they cant have an opinion, even though it is well written. Even if you dont agree with the person, and im not saying pat is right, you should still respect him as someone willing to put his "neck on the line".

Please never try to make a considerate and kind person feel bad for posting something, especially when you don't even spend the time to read what he's saying.

Sorry if it seems like i'm attacking and turning this into what pat doesn't want it to turn into but i cant let someone get away with an outright lie like that.

October 13, 2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Ross said...

Pat,

I do find it a bit odd you say that people who are swayed to vote by flashy ad campaigns and celebrities shouldn't, then you, a public figure, tell them NOT to vote. That's the pot calling the kettle black, my friend.

Also, reading your post it makes it obvious who you tend to vote for. That just helps to further sway impressionable voters, making the situation even worse. To your fans your opinions matter so first telling them not to vote and then making your political affiliation clear only further muddles the situation.

You can't fault people for choosing to back a candidate who supports their beliefs. I grew up in a house where my parents owned guns and I learned to use them responsibly. Now as an adult I own several and hearing Obama's policies on gun control bothers me. Then again, I don't like school vouchers so I disagree with McCain there. But the man who gets my vote is the one who I feel best represents me and my interests and beliefs. That's the wonder of democracy.

I realize that since I'm largely disagreeing with you and being a bit uppity about it I will incur the wrath of your maniacal legion. To this I say: bring it on, I have the 1st amendment, the 2nd, the 8th, and the 24th.

Lastly, to whoever said voting isn't a right and isn't mentioned in the constitution: read it again! Most notably the 8th and 24th amendments. Clearly you should have taken more of Pat's post to heart.

October 13, 2008 5:48 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

While I respect your point of view, Pat, I think it would have been more productive (and a lot less negative) to just talk about how people could get themselves more informed about the election. Everyone who can vote shouldn't JUST vote, they should get themselves informed about what and who they are voting for.

October 13, 2008 5:49 PM  
OpenID heartfully-cai said...

@Baron

"Tell me, when does one become "informed" enough to vote? What sources do I need to check so that I become "an acceptable" voter? How many issues do I need to weigh before I get your blessing? Voting, like freedom of speech, is my right. And I am entitled to do with it as I may -- either waive it, squander it on some foolish premise (like voting for Obama because of what Tyra said during America's Next Top Model), or prepare with care and responsibility, like reading the proposed legislation voted on by the candidates during their time in the Senate. That's why they call it freedom. I am free to do what I want while preparing to vote, and no one has any greater right to keep me from doing it the way I want to."

QFT. Who gets to decide when I'm informed enough to vote? And who gets to decide my intelligence level based on who I'm voting for? At least thats how it feels when most Obama supporters hear I'm supporting McCain. Hey, he's not my favorite canidate, he's even more left than most of my beliefs, but he comes hell of a lot closer than Obama. Am I not allowed to vote based on my beliefs anymore because the Democrats think their's are the "right" ones? Women fought for my right to vote, people fought for the right to vote as minorities and I think its extremely important to keep our right to vote the direction our country takes regardless of how you or anyone else views our reasons for voting. I can vote because of any reason I want.

October 13, 2008 6:06 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

@ ross: My apologies, I wasn't quite clear when I said that. Voting is mentioned in the Amendments to the constitution, however, all of those Amendments mention ways in which groups of people cannot be discriminated against in voting (i.e., on the basis of sex, race, and age). The only Amendment that mentions voting for itself is the Seventeenth Amendment, and that is exclusively in relation to Senators. In addition, it has been interpreted as providing for the direct election of senators. However, nothing in the Constitution, or any Amendment thereof, guarantees the right to vote. There are federal and state statutes providing for voting, but if Congress or the Supreme Court were to say that we couldn't vote anymore, only U.S. Senators would have any accountability to the people. The Eighth Amendment, by the way, protects against Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

October 13, 2008 6:54 PM  
Blogger Sebastien said...

Very good, I mean I don't know if getting a good job from a 16 year old who can't vote is going to make your day, but I am glad you wrote this.
It is unfortunately true basically everything you said and that is one of the major problems with todays elections. I can't vote, but I talk to other people who can and I don't know whether to laugh or sigh in exasperation. There is a difference when I talk politics with my friends who can't vote, because thats just for fun, but I am still amazed by how little people know or pay attention to the news.
People cite that it is there "right" to vote as given by universal suffrage that we have in America. But what is the point in exercising that right if you don't know why or for what reasons you are voting other then your friend told you to?
I was watching a show a few days ago where, I forgot who, goes on the streets and asks random Americans questions about our nation. And if you are American who cannot answer questions such as how many states are there and how many senators are there, I begin to question the ability of our education system, which I am in, and do question. There is always room for improvement and nothing is perfect so everything will have critics but I have strayed from the topic. Sorry.
Anyways good article Mr. Rothfuss and can't wait for your next novel.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

October 13, 2008 7:10 PM  
Blogger Steve Weyerts Jr. said...

I’m smart enough to know I don’t know enough to vote. Seeing as I’m not old enough to vote, perhaps this is acceptable. But even if I was of age, you wouldn’t be seeing me at the polls. The majority of what I “know” comes from the biased views of my pompous friends and relatives—not to mention those atrocious political ads.

This year, I’ll do you all a favor. I won’t vote. Even though I can’t.

October 13, 2008 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Mark Schroeder said...

Ah, me. This is the Pat I remember from the TLC table, where I once was scolded (while Pat chuckled) for loudly explaining why I thought evolution was broken (not fictional, just no longer working so well). God it's been a long time since I've heard a good Rothfuss rant. Didn't realize how much I missed them. That was a lot of fun.

October 13, 2008 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Athena said...

The basic truth of this post is that it was the spirit with which our entirely government system was constructed. Everyone out there telling you that every-vote-counts in a presidential election has forgotten what they learned in high school government, and has not been paying attention to the numbers of the past two decades.

We have that little thing in the middle, the Electoral College, as we call it. This is the thing that makes it so that we don't actually vote. Look back to the figures and see the last time that majority-vote statistics matched the actual counted vote. We aren't truly voting anyway. We already have a stop-gap that filters our votes so that we don't fully make these decisions, because the people who created our government felt as Pat does--that the general population won't invest fully in politics, enough so that they make educated decisions.

And yeah, if this is the kind of sentiment called "elitist" the only thing I can think of to counter it is that, well, it's the truth. There is a reason why our Founding Fathers didn't want just Average Joe going out to vote, and it wasn't just so that everything would stay the same. They didn't feel that Average Joe had a true investment in the politics. What do you care about a politician's policy on land-taxes if you don't own land?

And also, I like what someone mentioned about effectiveness. Remember that just because a politician believes a certain way and has certain policies...that doesn't mean that Congress does. And the President is still, even here, largely a figure-head. In the end, they'll probably end up doing things and signing things against their policies, and even against their moral values...just because they have to in order to accomplish other goals. That's the frightening truth of politics. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter that much who is president, particularly when the candidates differ on so few points.

The only significance of it is that you should know what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how much you'll really accomplish in doing it.

October 13, 2008 8:47 PM  
Blogger Incubus Jax said...

I feel you pain Pat, I do, I just don't know how to fix the problem. Howard Stern went out and asked people if they felt good about Obama picking Sarah Palin as his Vice President and they said "yeah I like her".

Look, I couldn't even make this up, I'm too tired.

I think the most telling problem is not really education as much as people have accepted that they're going to get screwed no matter what.

And I get that. The president is one man, and it's a tough job. I suspect whoever gets in will spend their first term cleaning up Clinton and Bush's problems.

And yes, I said Clinton - because it was his de-regulation of Fannie-Mae and Freddie-Mac that led us to where we are today.

Granted, we all make mistakes - Clinton even tried to tighten the reigns back down in his second term - but the Democrats have blocked every chance.

And that's what bother's me about Obama - his economic adviser is the former CEO of Fannie-Mae; a guy who took the golden parachute on his way out.

Kind of ironic, given Obama's tough talks about CEOs who do that.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think regardless of who wins the nation will be better off. Aside from the Fannie-Mae guy, I really like Obama. But I'm still not 100% sure either direction.

But maybe it IS education after all.

I mean, in the state of Washington, they've finally decided to bring back "failing" grades for High School students. For the last three years, you could only get a "no credit" which didn't count against your gpa.

Seriously.

So, if you got one A and six N's, then you had a 4.0. But now you can get what you really deserve.

Again, I couldn't make this up. I'm too tired. Google it.

And here's the most telling part - do you know what everyone's upset about with this announcement? That Athletes might become ineligible.

Which is a whole other topic that really pisses me off...

October 13, 2008 8:55 PM  
Blogger Incubus Jax said...

Puff Daddy: "Vote or Die!"

Stan Marsh: "What the hell does that even mean?"

October 13, 2008 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Hey Pat,

I enjoyed what you said about the uninformed voting but I would instead rather talk about...

OH, WHAT THE HELL!!! Did anyone watch those debates and see both candidates shrug off pointed questions to instead attack the other candidate? I believe that I'm fairly well informed on the issues at hand--spending six years in the U.S. Military will encourage most disenchanted youth to start using their minds to try and figure what political cluster fuck got them stuck in some random desert battlezone... but I digress.

I want to vote for a candidate who would stand up in front of an American audience--I want lights, cameras and action--with some solid, nondescript color as their backdrop and I want them to tell the unforgivable truth...

"Hi, I'm [Insert name here] and I stand for [insert a list of random hot topics] and I'm running for president."

I want no shitty bands playing in the background, no Cindy Sheehans in attendance, and no crazy white women screaming about how they can't trust an A-rab... I want honesty in politics and people who aren't afraid to give it... I'm done with megalomaniacs; Barack isn't the messiah--he can't fix this country in four or even eight years, and John McCain is no maverick and he hasn't been for a long time: He's an old man who wants to die rich and fuck some machine gun wielding, moose pelt wearing alaskan woman before he dies... Well, that's my soapbox for the evening.

Thanks for listening... I do love a nice political discussion.

October 13, 2008 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Mac said...

Pat:

Wow. Big balls you have there, buddy. I can appreciate that.

As an aspiring fantasy novelist that has finished his first novel and is currently shopping around for a publisher, I've encountered a bit of resistance because of the subject and tone of my book. Like ANY aspiring novelist, after having read my graphic, cynical, philosophical tome gazed into by what Lamar Pye might refer to as a 'square john,' I am then addressed with one of two questions:

1. Why can't you write something like Harry potter?

2. Why can't you write something like Nicholas Sparks?

I think this says a lot about the American literary landscape. Some people think that writers should be neutral when it comes to sex, politics, and religion. When I encounter those people, I direct them to a part in my novel wherein my protagonist is offered a preteen girl as his . . . "pleasure companion" by the powers that be for the evening. He turns it down, of course, and is made quite angry from the encounter. Strangely enough, nobody thinks that I should remain "neutral" about THAT.

I don't believe in "playing it safe" as a writer. I believe in telling both sides of the story, butas a writer, it is my pupose to convey a POINT. If that means upsetting people because I disagree with their views on sex, religion, or politics, so be it. We can't always be "neutral". I think those folks that demand "neutrality" in literature are those least likely to be informed. My family has always been fond of saying, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'. So if I want to call human traffickers evil, psychotic criminals, I shouldn't? I should say, "entrepenuers" instead?

I should hope not.

Kudos for stating your opinion, Pat. This time, I agree.

October 13, 2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Pat, i think you could have made your point without bringing your own political agenda into this. All i got while reading your post was the hate towards Mccain. If you support Obama then just say it. But please, don't act like your writing a neutral article all the while tearing down republican values.

October 13, 2008 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Mark Schroeder said...

bj:

The governor as best qualification standard would likely have disqualified the following from serving: Washington, Adams, Madison, Jefferson, Lincoln, Bush Sr., Eisenhower and Grant.

Also, the following presidents (and in my opinion, bad presidents) were governors: Carter, Andrew Johnson, Nixon, Hoover, and Grover Cleveland. Oh, and W.

Doesn't mean you can't be a good president if you were a governor (see the Roosevelts), but experience as a governor doesn't mean much if you've got bad ideas and, more importantly, bad judgment.

October 13, 2008 9:54 PM  
Blogger Incubus Jax said...

... and then there's this:

http://www.bpmdeejays.com/upload/hs_sal_in_Harlem_100108.mp3

These are people who ARE going to vote, who would RIGHT NOW, and should not. Please, give it a listen. It says it all.

October 13, 2008 10:37 PM  
Blogger Karlo said...

Pat:

The backseat duo chiming in for a woman candidate brings back some shudder-some memories. 'Bout eight years back here in Puerto Rico - where I live - a woman governor ran on the ticket with all sorts of messianic (I shit you not) messages of how she was running to save Puerto Rico from the spawn of Satan (here I'm being sarcastic, but only a little), which of course was her opponent, as well as for the honor of our little island stepping into the twentieth century inasmuch as woman's liberation. I remember soooo many people commenting to me that they were going to vote for her because it'd be cool to have a women governor. When I asked whether this decision was backed by knowledge of her platform, or the issues she was claiming to attend, I'd get a blank stare. Inevitably, I'd ask: "So you're gonna vote for her 'cause she's a woman?"

"Yeah! It's about time a woman was in charge!"

I'd sigh, and say: "Well, next elections I'm gonna help a chimpanzee run on the ballot 'cause it's about time a chimpanzee got a chance to be in charge."

Of course, the person would bluster that THAT wasn't the same thing, it was ridiculous, yadda-yadda-yadda. Unfortunately, that did not provoke any critical thought because the woman candidate won. And MAN was she bad at it.

I believe that in part, people have forgotten what the vote truly represents - delayed, supremely channeled aggression against the governing body. The message that has been reinforced is: don't protest, don't march, don't engage in any civil action against the government because you'll have your say...except that it's every four years, a-and there's only couple of candidates that are supposed to represent you...What about when your congressman or woman or governor or (gasp! Dare I say it?) head of state doesn't cut it? The people shouldn't have to wait the remainder of the term to let them know of their displeasure. Activism should always be an option to let your government know, y'know, you're mad as hell, and you're not gonna take it anymore. Don't get me wrong: louder is not necessarily better, but smarter wins the day most of the time. Petitions, calls to your ombudsman, state or federal legislators, or whomever is in charge, or any type of activity like it should follow any bad policy-making or bone-headedness.

October 13, 2008 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm voting for Warwick Davis.

October 13, 2008 11:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

"Here's a tip: if you've spent more time planning your Halloween costume than learning about the election, you probably shouldn't vote." Very, very true.

For a couple of years, my standard comment for a really stupid person has been, "And that guy's vote counts the same as mine?!" So I'm right there with you. Right to vote? Of course! But with the attached responsibility of doing it well, please.

I dislike the two-party system. I don't really like either, and third options just aren't qualified and/or don't survive in a two-party system.

October 13, 2008 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.weebls-stuff.com/wab/rally

Okay, you have to know that weebl and bob like pie.
But this toon just is the perfect match to your blog.

October 14, 2008 3:41 AM  
Anonymous Cecrow said...

I'm in Canada, but if I understand correctly on the American ballot you can put a checkmark next to the name of the person you want to be the next president. We don't get to do that; we're based on the British system, so we can only put a checkmark next to the name of the person representing our area. The party with the most areas voted in gets its leader as Prime Minister. This explains why our elected leader might soemtimes have a weird accent or isn't particularly handsome: because our system ensures that doesn't matter.

Sometimes this just plain stinks, when you like the local guy but not the associated PM would-be. However - maybe better than the American system in the sense that your President would-bes need to have sparkly clean broad-appeal personalities and character traits, and will endure every rumour under the sun about their personal lives like Hollywood stars - basically, trying to win a popularity contest. There's probably a ton of very knowledgeable people who could do wonderful work and have impact as President but who would never win a popularity vote based on their personal image; so they'll never get the job, and that's kind of too bad.

It's also too bad, as you say, that this offers people easy ways to vote one way or another on slight pretexts. Suppose I heard Obama likes "Name of the Wind" so I hope you vote for him! If that's the sort of thing that could sway who the next President is of the most powerful country in the world, that's more than a bit scary.

October 14, 2008 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

I didn't have time to read all the 88 comments before mine (it's probably up to 99 by now), but from what I gather, my comment won't go with the majority here.

I'm an accountant and a mother of 4. I find the time to do my own research still and I'm not into redistribution of wealth in this country. If someone is rich because they've worked hard all their life or came up with a really good product, then they have every right to keep a good part of their money. I wouldn't want Pat to give me a portion of the proceeds from his book (although it would be a nice chunk of change) because I didn't work for it.

I also think that politicians should be honest about their policies. I don't think it right to call something a tax cut when it's in fact a welfare check from the IRS disguised as a "refundable tax credit".

I don't think it'll be hard to guess who I'm voting for, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop reading Pat's books. If I stopped reading books just because I didn't agree with the author's political or religious views, then I'd be missing out on some really great stories. Besides I think debating is a good thing. Everyone gets their views out into the open and there's actually something meaningful to talk about. Life would be boring if all we had to talk about was the weather so as not to offend each other.

October 14, 2008 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Some Other Eric said...

Wow! What a great post. Thank you for writing this. I agree wholeheartedly.

I wish you would have included that if the best candidate isn't Republican or Democrat, it's still okay to vote for them. Voting to be a part of the winning team is also very bad.

Thanks.

October 14, 2008 9:59 AM  
Blogger Jordan R said...

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SECRET PRISONS

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WAR BASED ON LIES

dont vote

100 THOUSAND DEAD IRAQI CIVILLIANS

dont vote

GOVERMNENT SPYING ON YOU

dont vote

RECORD SURPLUS INTO RECORD DEFICIT

dont vote

POLITICS OF FEAR

dont vote

GUANTANIMO

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HABIUS CORPUS DEMOLISHED

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CONSTITUTION IN SHAMBLES

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WAR FOR OIL

dont vote

COSTLY HEALTH CARE

dont vote

UNDERFUNDED SCHOOLS

dont vote

October 14, 2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger Cat Rambo said...

Great post, Pat, and useful discussion in the comments. Thanks for shutting the car door.

October 14, 2008 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Miriam said...

There are 2 other support people in my office with me. One is undecided, but informed and one is voting for McCain because she is convinced (I shit you not) that "Obama is the next Antichrist". I refrained from asking her who she thought the PREVIOUS Antichrist was. It seemed like a futile conversation at that point.

I know who I am voting for, I am very clear on it and the reasons for it, and I am genuinely interested to know why other people are voting for who they will. But the sort of knee-jerk completely absurd and unfounded responses like "obama is the antichrist" and "mccain is a retard". those things drive me crazy.

October 14, 2008 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Adam M said...

@Laura,

I completely agree. I believe that if someone worked hard for their money, then they have a right to it. It wouldn't be right for us to ask Pat to give us a cut of his book royalties. We didn't write the book, he did. He deserves all the things his projects bring him.

Also, I believe what Michael said has some merit. As much as I love Pat's book and enjoy his blog, I disagree with him. It's obvious his post is anti-McCain/pro-Obama. However, that's the wonder of this country. We can all express our opinions. Pat has his views and I have mine.

As for me, here are a few things:

(1) I believe in the 2nd amendment right to bear arms. I am against gun control.

(2) I am pro-life.

(3) I believe in Civil Unions but not marriage for same sex couples.

(4) I do not believe in adding extra taxes to Americans who earn more so everyone is equal. Russia tried that, they called it Marxism.

Now, those are social issues important to me. When November 4 rolls around, I will vote for the President who supports my issues.

Thank you for your time.

October 14, 2008 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

I've heard a lot of people talking about how they don't believe that taking a persons hard earned money is right... Okay, I agree, point taken. A tax hike on the rich isn't stealing though, it's creating a more even playing field. Trickle down economics--a staple of the Republican financial system--doesn't work... If you're middle class and you believe that it does than you're foolish... Let's look at the stats... Pick your favorite oil company... they've seen profits in the billions... Now look at the average worker in the U.S., they've recieved a raise of 3.4% that means that if the average worker makes 1300 dollars every two weeks they recieve a biweekly raise of around 34 dollars... the CEO of your favorite oil company will recieve a bonus in the millions. Taxing the rich isn't wrong, it's proper... We're all literary here or we wouldn't read an authors blog... When you think of higher taxes for the rich, think Robin Hood, it's easier to swallow.

October 14, 2008 5:23 PM  
Blogger Alex Moore said...

Well said. The foundation to all you've said, however, is a thorough understanding of 1) The Constitution, 2) the Bill of Rights, and 3) the Declaration of Independence...followed up by readings of and about our founding fathers.

If people do not understand why and how we -- and as nation -- came to be, then they can never be truly informed. What scares me, pounding heart, trembling fingers, scares me, are the well-intentioned do-gooders who want to save the world (not in the religious sense), but will destroy the very foundation of our nation to do so.

October 14, 2008 9:53 PM  
Blogger Nichola said...

You know, I'm not surprised that it was you who wrote something inspiring (in the truest sense of the word, without all the baggage) enough to get me to comment. Like merus, I live in a country(Australia) where voting is compulsory but I can definately see where your coming from and let me assure you that there are people like that in every country (I should know, I'm friends with some) but I disagree with your recommendation that they don't vote for one simple reason: VOTING IS NOT COMPULSORY. Let's face it, anyone that easily swayed probably doesn't care enough to go vote. In the meantime, there are people out there who DO care but who have low self-confidence and would put themselves in that category. Besides, everyone has a right to express their opinion, no matter how ill-concieved it may be.
On a little aside (because everyone needs a chace to rant every now abd again), why is the US's election so important that it needs to be big news in EVERY country in the world. Most people in the world couldn't name the australian Prime Minister, let alone when he was elected or say who our head of state is (Kevin Rudd, 2007 and the Queen of England, just so everyone knows).

October 15, 2008 3:57 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

If you don't think Obama will tax the poor and middle class then you are truly dillusional. There aren't enough rich people and corporations in the US to pay for all of his proposed programs. Robin Hood is a BAD analogy because it assumes that the poor won't be taxed.

If businesses are taxed too much here, then they will move their operations to another country that has lower corporate tax rates. Raising taxes on the rich and corportations will reduce the money available to pay employees. Less money equals job cuts. You don't have to be an accountant to figure that out.

October 15, 2008 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I'm planning on taking Pats advice. There are plenty of other things I could do with my time.
The political positions of both Vice Presidential Candidates was enough to convince me.
Good luck to the rest of you though!

October 15, 2008 1:45 PM  
Blogger Sorpigal said...

I salute you.

I fully endorse and support your perspective as embodied here. I have never said it as well or as persuasively, thought I have tried.

I would go a step further than you and say this: Not only should you not vote if you're not informed and not only should you become informed, you should not vote for the lesser of two evils. You should attempt to locate a candidate who represents you entirely, or at the least does not oppose the things you strongly support. I wont vote for Obama, though I am a liberal, because I cannot agree with most of the things he wants to do. The fact that McCain would be worse is unimportant. Instead I will vote for a third party or, as a last resort, /I will write my own name in/. This is a de-facto "none of the above" option. When no one represents your views, /vote for yourself/! If you can't get behind a candidate, don't vote for him anyway. Vote for someone you actually believe in.

Objections will be raised. Someone will say that this is a waste of a vote as your third party option will never get elected. Though this is true, it's unimportant. There is a fallacy at work here: If you vote for a candidate who does not help you and with whom you do not agree this is not a waste of a vote, but if you vote for someone who doesn't get elected it is. By voting for yourself you are voting not no-opinion but more-options-please. You can't make a difference yourself, but if enough people start doing this perhaps one day a message can be sent.

The encouragement of voting assumes that the voters will inform themselves first, but it *also* assumes that they will vote for someone who works for their best interests. Instead what we see is people voting for one of the two major parties even if, as is often the case, neither party's policies are in the best interest of the voter. Now that is a waste of a vote!

October 15, 2008 3:44 PM  
Blogger Ccomp5950 said...

Pat,

I was linked to your post and then told you had a book.

based on this post alone you may be up there as one of my new favorite authors.

I'm purchasing Name of the Wind tommorow.

Just promise me you will never make up an alternate dimension just so you can describe dresses.

October 15, 2008 11:39 PM  
Blogger Ccomp5950 said...

Pat,

I was linked to your post and then told you had a book.

based on this post alone you may be up there as one of my new favorite authors.

I'm purchasing Name of the Wind tommorow.

Just promise me you will never make up an alternate dimension just so you can describe dresses.

October 16, 2008 12:05 AM  
Blogger ripshin said...

To paraphrase Mark Twain:

Do I believe in uninformed people voting??

Believe it??

I've seen it!

In fact, I'd like to see a lot more of it...but only if you're voting for my guy. If you plan on voting for the other guy, then I'd have to wholeheartedly agree with Pat. Don't vote. You shouldn't. It'd be a crime.

On a more serious note, though it seems to be the "soup de jour" to complain about a two-party system, I think that people tend to overlook some of the benefits that it brings.

I truly believe that the two-party system affords the citizens of this country a buffer against extreme politicos ending up in control of the most important office of the land. Both parties' candidates have to conform to the majority of the "base idealogy" that his/her party stands for. There's a huge moderating effect offered by this.

And again, I tend to believe this is a good thing (even despite the fact that I have to be willing to compromise some of my strong political beliefs).

If you're interested in a political figure who most closely represents your views, well, that's what the House is for. You'd be amazed at how much influence you can have on your specific Representative, simply by showing up at his/her meetings, writing letters and etc. This is where we're supposed to have our views represented.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

rip

PS: ccomp5950 - I have it on good authority that the "wheel" in the title is a direct reference to a spinner's wheel, and testifies to the fact that the author was, in fact, secretly working for the textile/fashion industry (sort of like Zoolander).

October 16, 2008 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Hey Pat,

as most of the people hear i am a big fan of your book. And disagreeing with you won't stop me loving your stories.

I guess you are right about most people beeing complete morons and too stupid to be allowed to decide the fate of the country.

It would be nice to have
a. Exclusively intelligent, informed voters
b. a benevolent dictator

Both options would work quite nicely except that this won't ever happen/work. So we are stuck with the system as it is.

But telling people not to vote if they do not consider themselves intelligent enough is dangerous: Consider the type of people who will listen to this type of advice. If i am not completly mistaken they can be categorized in two catgories:
1. mildly intelligent people with low self-esteem
2. not-so intelligent but sensible people

The truly stupid people will either not listen to such advice, won't care or will simply believe themselves apt to vote. And unfortunately the awsomely stupid people are very (very) numerous and will vote anyways.

Now you tell a part of the community (well you adress everybody but always consider who will listen to you) who is more apt to vote than a large part of the voters not to vote, which won't improve the result.

I do not remember who said it but it's quite true that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for the other possibilities"

Cheers,
Chris

October 16, 2008 12:17 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Yes, we should subject voters to an examination at the polls to see if they are qualified to vote.

Better yet, let's assess a voting fee. Only those that have the wherewithal to pay the fee can vote. Then we won't have to create and administer a costly examination. Those uninformed voters are probably the least able to pay a voting fee anyhow.

Democracy solved!

Don't worry Pat, I won't hold it against you and I'll continue to read and enjoy what you write...

October 16, 2008 3:01 PM  
Anonymous John Nevets said...

Interestingly enough I did just vote today (absentee ballot). I must say I was still a bit nervous I was ill informed (especially at the local level). In fact one caught me completely off guard, and so I didn't vote on it.

So Pat what is your take on the new Portage County county building?

October 16, 2008 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

And this is why the forefathers of the country invented the electoral college - because they didn't trust the people to vote smart, regardless of who the voted for.

Ask me whether I'd want my neighborhood electing a politician or the faculty of a college, and I'll take the faculty anytime. That's basically how the system works, anyways, except I can't pick who the faculty is.

October 16, 2008 9:37 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Pat,

Thanks for that. We just had our federal election here in Canada, and I've been facing similar feelings of frustration over how uninformed some of my friends were.

It simply isn't enough to vote--You need to care enough get informed and make an intelligent decision. I think that's something that needs to be said more often, and I appreciate you doing so so skillfully.

Again, thanks.

October 17, 2008 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should do a grammar check before you go pointing the finger at people for being stupid. Just saying.

October 17, 2008 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Ron said...

So, who should we vote for? :)

October 18, 2008 5:40 AM  
Blogger chris said...

I've always thought that voting should have to be done in essay form.

October 19, 2008 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Alexa said...

First and foremost, Pat I LOOOVE the book. Secondly I got this email recently and thought I would share it with all of you. What happens in this election could make or break our government as i will outline below . .

About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh , had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years"

"During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. from bondage to spiritual faith;

2. from spiritual faith to great courage;

3. from courage to liberty;

4. from liberty to abundance;

5. from abundance to complacency;

6. from complacency to apathy;

7. from apathy to dependence;

8. from dependence back into bondage"

Where does that leave our country and how much longer do we have?

Vote wisely, or not at all

October 19, 2008 1:09 PM  
Blogger Karlo said...

Hm. A two-party system, you say? Well, the two- or more-party system would be great, except for a behind-the-curtains bipartisan alliance that exists in most mature two-party systems. This means that much of what you would see as dramatic, knock-down, drag-out fights on C-Span are about as real as your favorite wrasslin' program - take the PATRIOT act as a anecdotal example of how the bipartisan alliance works. Bob Parr admitted on television that he didn't read the bill - not partially read it, nor skimmed it; didn't read it AT ALL. Given the repercussions of that dandy of a piece of legislation (y'know, wiretapping, etc.) it's amazing that the PATRIOT act got through congress at all. Another example: the voting for the initial war against Iraq. No proof of a real connection (in fact, international press agents said quite the opposite, but were shushed out of the U.S. media) between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, no proof of WMDs going out the gate, but representatives and senators from both sides of the aisle voted resoundingly in favor of sending troops to Iraq as well as Afghanistan. If this doesn't smack of a bipartisan alliance, then what does?

Did you know:

Since the Kennedy administration, social aid programs (y'know, help for the poor in the U.S.) have continuously been cut in favor of upping the military budget?

When the average person on the street is asked if they support welfare, they're vehemently against it, but the same question phrased differently ("Are you in favor of social aid programs to help the poor?") gets the opposite response?

The majority of tax adjustments since the Kennedy administration to present have continuously benefited the rich and the ultra-rich of the U.S.?

That the difference between the regimes of North and South Korea are none whatsoever? (Both are dictatorships, which begs the question: why is the North on the U.S. shit-list?)

When one learns of such things, it seems that the biggest division between the political parties is not Republican vs. Democrat, but both power structures united against "We the people. . ." If a bipartisan alliance is the truth, then in reality we have a Single-party state, that lines up the enemies of the state so we can have our Morning, Afternoon and Evening Hate. . . watch out: all of us may end up being Winston Smiths. . .

October 19, 2008 2:45 PM  
Anonymous HelsBells said...

Pat - I read your blog for the first time today and thought this piece was incredibly well written and really interesting.

I agree with much that you said but I think I differ on a couple of points.

Firstly, I think that if you don't vote then you don't get to complain about the state of the country/town.

Secondly, if someone disagrees with ones opinion it doesn't instantly mean the person with the opposing opinion is a moron. Yes, it CAN mean they are stupid but you have to find out why they have the opinion first before you judge it.

October 20, 2008 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Fan of Democracy said...

I came to your blog looking for a release date for your next book (my wife and I have a bet whether your book will actually come out before George RR Martin's).

I was glad to see your comment (I don't agree with it but I was glad to see it), and -- because I'm a pedantic son of a bitch -- I will explain why.

WHY I WAS PLEASED TO SEE THIS COMMENT

I completely agree that a rational person in the business of selling fiction (or hardware or pancakes) might be well advised to refrain from political commentary because it will not likely help sell books, or pipes, or pancakes, but it might cause someone to go to another vendor for their needs.

The willingness to make your thoughts on a political topic known despite the fact that it may carry a financial penalty falls, in my judgment, within the broader definitions of bravery and patriotism.

I respect George RR Martin for the courage inherent in expressing his views (which I happen to agree with) despite the fact that he's probably lost some readers as a result, and I also respect Orson Scott Card for risking his readership by expressing his views (which I find barbaric). Though I find Card's views abhorrent, I am grateful for the fact that he values some things higher than book sales figures and he's willing to put his money behind his mouth.

I very much respect you for making this comment in the same way as I respect Martin and Card so thank you for that.

WHY I DISAGREE WITH THE VIEW YOU EXPRESSED

Obviously, from the weight of the comments here, your views are widely shared. And even I will agree that there is something a tiny bit spooky that we have a form of government where a vote from a Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School is accorded the exact same weight as Paris Hilton's vote.

However, to bow to the spookiness inherent in the fact that government school deans and runway models share an equal vote in selecting our leaders is to give up on democracy. By analogy, we could ride a roller coaster and then later complain that it was a bit of a jerky ride, but to do so would be to reject the whole concept of roller coasters.

While it is true that college deans and fashion icons may have the same vote in who gets selected as our leaders, they do not have the same voice in who we elect. If the better informed voters speak their minds and if the less well informed voters also speak their minds, I believe that the views of the college deans will sway more voters. For example, I truly believe that Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, eloquently articulated, will sway more voters than Lindsay Lohan's endorsement of Obama.

This is not to say that I agree with those who complain "I'm tired of hearing celebrities endorse political candidates and issues, what does a singer or actor know that he or she should be cluttering the news programs with their views on Darfur and the presidential race and stem cell research ..." If a carpenter or plumber came to my home and, while at work on my rickety house, shared his or her views on the presidential race, I'd be glad to hear them. The last think I would say is "you're just a carpenter so STFU about the presidential race." I would not automatically object to Paris Hilton speaking her mind any more than I would reflexively reject my plumber's views, but it would be less likely to sway my vote unless I earned that Paris Hilton and plumber had really informed themselves in an insightful way before expressing their views.

Part of the challenge of democracy is not just coming up with good ideas, but in communicating them to the public. If a public policy is so poorly articulated that some low-information voter doesn't understand the policy or why the policy is a good idea, that is a failure just as surely as failing to come up with the good policy in the first place is a failure of democracy.

I'm glad to see the government school deans vote and I'm also glad to see the Paris Hiltons vote, because both categories of votes show an interest in our how our society is run. In a well-functioning democracy, it is the task of the government school deans to help make sure that the Paris Hiltons know how their interests are served (or betrayed) by various candidates.

--

So, in conclusion, when is your book coming out?

October 20, 2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Thank you for your enlightening and most enjoyable segment of political commentary. To assuage some of your fears, I am a 22 year old Ivy League graduate with strong liberal views who, in retrospect, spends far more time debating politics and policies than is entirely healthy for the average young, attractive 22 year old female. Rest assured, there is a small but committed portion of those of us who have half a brain who are working diligently to ensure that the world does not go to hell in a hand basket.

Additionally, I applaud your advice to those individuals who either do not know enough to make an informed decision or do not care enough to seek out the information necessary to do so. For individuals in either of these two categories, staying home really is safer...for everyone.

October 20, 2008 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Lord Bard: Minstrel of the Medieval Band of Moo said...

::bows to a master of words:: wit and thought and my favorite author all built around the coming election, if i may be so bold as to call it that.

though i think the whole thing is nothing more than an elaborate ruse and a festering media frenzy, what has been said in this blog is the best advice anyone in any public position could give.

all i can say is that, regardless, i wont vote. i think i still have the ability, though im unsure... but i dont think i will vote. i honestly cant see that we have any decent choices between the two parties at the forefront of the race. logic here would dictate that either of the two will win, based on the many past years experience. hence, i can say i have better things to do than waste my time on a useless choice when i know a monkey with wings and a fezz will end up pulling strings at the top of the chain just to see what wonderful bananas might fall loose.

i wish everyone here and everywhere else, voter or not, the best of luck in future life. pat's plane has been heading closer to crashing since day one, no thanks to the political party system (which in essence is based no more in logic than reality shows are real) being the publicity hungry childrens game it has become.

therefore, all things being said, i wish you all luck, i hope we end up better for atleast a term, and i refuse to spend a frivilous moment on frivilous camera hams.

if i had money, id run and crash the proverbial plane, just like anyone else, but id make a genuine effort to make things work better rather than chasing an ideal of one side or another and trying to tag myself with party lines based on my personal opinion of various pointless issues that a government has no place in.

goodnight, good luck, and don't get caught and die.

J

October 20, 2008 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You bassically summed up what I have thought since I saw the first "rock the vote" ads

October 23, 2008 8:44 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

This post has been removed by the author.

October 26, 2008 11:58 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

1) Voting is a privilege that we are fortunate to have because we live in a so-called democracy. Let's remember that and keep it precious. Always vote--you could live somewhere that doesn't offer that option.

2) When young, and voting the first time, youthful reasoning is leading the way, and youth aren't always necessarily as mature, wise, politically informed, experienced, etc. as say, me--a middle-aged person. (Not that I necessarily have a great measure of all those admirable traits, but this is just my opinion anyway.)

3) I agree wholeheartedly that we should be thoughtful and informed when voting, but the presidential election is very very different than a local election--and to quote you Pat, a little piece of me dies every four years as I dwell on the fact that the national election process is not set up to support or even pay attention to the people anymore, anyway.

4) Pat, the truth is every politician is a politician. That's why I'm not running for any office at any level of government. I am not a politician. It requires a certain type of personality. There is not one politician out there that I trust. We cannot believe anything any politician says prior to the election. They can say what they will, whether they believe it or not, and once in office the game changes so much--all of those promises and articulate dreams and nasty lies, and such--all go in the round file.

5) Can a politician truly get elected and go on to follow through on what they believe in? Can they do their job according to their own values. Can they be in a position of power without being biased? I say no.

6) Until another party grows strong enough to overcome the money and power of the two parties, and until the Electoral College is replaced by a system based on popular vote--Vote for the party that will do the least damage and will support some of your values.

7) Afterward, if you have the ambition and the energy--go out there and try to make a difference yourself.

October 26, 2008 12:01 PM  
Anonymous belenustenebrae said...

"...toward you not being smart enough to vote."
You don't have to qualify to vote, that's the whole point. (Unless you count being alive and of age.)
You can be a pro-gun, pro-life, pro-tax cuts for the rich, pro-war, pro-what-you-name-it or a righteous evil blockhead of a bastard and still get to vote. That's what's beautiful and horrifying about it.
Yes, it'd be a great world if all x-phobic persons and half-baked fools didn't vote. Lovely. Lovely and elitist. Or only in ideal world.
Unfortunately, informed voters are like informed consent... in an ideal world we would all be thoughtful, kind and critical people who based their decisions on an informed and researched basis. But ideal worlds are for idealists.

"They have the best intentions."
Well, you know what they say about good intentions, they pave the road to hell.
When worried about dumb, uniformed votes, becoming politically active is a good way to go. Hold lectures, tea parties, whatever. Then when it all goes to hell, you can take the high road on a high horse and in extreme satisfaction say “I told you so”. The people in the plane with you will thank you for it.
However it might not be as satisfying as imagined, seeing that the ones who crashed the plane will most surely be the ones who think they are not responsible and therefore deaf to your words. Bah, it’s always 50-50 in hindsight.

It makes me smile that you end with “polite and rational” since you just called any number of people stupid, “insipid, feckless, witfucked pogs”. Hem.
Frankly, I prefer a blank vote to no vote. When I really don’t understand an issue (when it concerns economics my mind goes ‘zzzt’) I vote blank, because I think it’s important to cast my vote, to be active in my democracy. Even if it’s in a minor way. If not I might just as well live under an autocratic rock.

October 26, 2008 3:23 PM  
OpenID friedrichmauel said...

Hello Patrick,
or Pat as everyone calls you. (I like the Patrick in it's german pronounciation thought)

I might be stepping into fire commenting on your vote or don't vote discussion beeing a german, but I'll do it anyways. Having been present in America at the last vote beeing a Highschool student (foreign exchange) I got a good impression how voting in the rural states works. I lived in Central Illinois in the Decatour Area, Assumption/Moweaqua if that by chance does say annything to you. If not don't bother, s nothing of importance ^^.

What stunned me when I was living on a Farm 5 miles out of town (if you can call a tousand inhabitants that) is that people do even know that there is a vote. No newspapers, no national - only local news and no information whatsoever of international affairs. My host family is a good family in all means. They were very kind, they care and they have a goal in life. But they shurely don't know nothing about politics. As does most of the people around. They know about church, they know about harvest and that arabic people are evil :-/.
I was terryfied by the vote discussions we had, the father going for the democrat (I can't reacall his name) and the mother going for Bush. She was so pissed that Terry would vote him (an libalist on birth control and someone not too active in religion) that it felt like she was gonna divorce over it. Not that the democrat was a bright one but anybody I think could have done a better job than Bush. (my international viev. The discussion had nothing but feelings involved no arguments as such he does this and he does that. I was somewhat shocked by the sillyness of that discussion. Your examples recalled this from the black spots in my mind where traumatic things like that tend to disappear to. The conclusion I drew from that and that still exists in my head ist that a lot of the malinformation of americans ist the miseducation in school. Before University!!
Here in Germany for example we have to do prescribed lessons very different from the american system and we have to learn about history first which later on divides to History and Politics of our country of europe and of the world as such. This does not make us smarter people, or better in any means and most of us Germans don't inform them much about the voting affairs but at least if we want to we can learn what is needed to become a responsible Voter. I didn't realy reach that although I had the best history teacher who's advice is still with me today. Thank you Mr. Burg. But the time we had was just not enough to learn enough about american politics, I had actually learned more in the german history and politics lessons.
I think that this missing information is one of the main problems why americans tend to not know about their poitics. They just never learned that that actually can be interesting and makes sense.
This is an now outsiders viev and may have changed in the last four years but I don't think so.

I find your advice personaly very helpfull for it is not only of use to an american but also to somebody like me who will vote for the first time next year. It makes me think about my decision that I will have to make having 5 importand political partys to vote for.
I just want to thank you.

And please excuse my bad english, I am definitely out of practice writing english.

October 28, 2008 5:54 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I have often wondered... what are the chances that the same ratio of uneducated voters cast their ballot for each candidate, negating their effect? I can sleep at night because I believe it's possible. Just a thought.

I truly believe that this or something very well like it should be required reading for every registered voter two weeks before they enter the booth or fill in that little block on their mail-in ballot (we Oregonians have that standard, which only makes it easier for the apathetic and uninformed to skew the vote).

Thank you, sir, for your eloquent argument.

October 30, 2008 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Kyle @ Home Insurance said...

Great article. My favorite part was when you said: "If you think voting is a good idea because MTV told you to do it, then it is entirely possible that you are not very smart."

It is scary to think how many uninformed voters are headed to the polls on Tuesday.

I was listening to a hip hop radio station yesterday and someone called in and said "I am voting for Obama because I'm tired of being on welfare. It's about time that big companies like google give me a little something to get my life together. I don't really care too much about the taxes cause i don't have a real job, but Obama is gonna change our country and take care of people like me." Get a job moron.

November 1, 2008 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

And yet, my first thought after reading this was "Thank heavens! Somebody abbreviated "y'all" properly!"

I wish you weren't right about people not paying attention to politics and then voting. I also really wish that some people would think through their reasons for voting one way (whichever way it might be) slightly more than just because one of the candidates "wouldn't be able to kill Putin if he needed to." (I kid you not, I actually heard a guy say that and be, pardon the phrase, dead serious about it. And he meant personally do it, not send someone else to do it.) So, just to clarify, you want someone who's capable of murder running the country? Yikes... If you support McCain, okay, please just put slightly more thought into it. If you support Obama, fine, please just don't let it be because you think he's cute.

November 1, 2008 11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmmm....I'm gonna have to say McCain because of his more conservative (but not rabidly so) stance on social issues...and his vastly greater experience in both Federal Government and international relations

despite his choice of running mate

November 3, 2008 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this post is so old its growing mold, but I was just reading through your blog archives, and this one really made me smile. I don't normally go and look at the comments on each blog, but I did on this one (because I was curious if it did, in fact, degenerate in to a snarking match), and after reading them, I got a little tickle to put my two cents in for anyone else who has nothing better to do than read year old blogs like me.

Really, I can't say I put a lot of thought into the political machine. I agree, however, that one should only vote on the issues about which they are well informed, so my ballot last year had more blank spaces than not. I also agree with many commenters that no matter what, even if some profound astrological event were to allow a third party candidate to be voted into office, you still get a politician. I'm not saying I could do a better job, after all, that's what they do, but we've all studied history, and I for one cannot remember an example of a career politician in any era who actually managed to maintain a modicum of honor and honesty. In short, I'm embarrassed to admit I've allowed myself to become rather jaded.

All that being said, I cannot express the horror I felt when, just days before the election, in a discussion about the presidential candidates, my co-worker looked at me with wrapt, bug-eyed horror, and said..."but you know, Obama's a Muslim!".

That right there, that was a OMG moment for me, and I don't have many. Seeing as how no one will probably read this, I will not run through the gambit of thoughts and emotions that rolled through me at that moment. Suffice to say that it ended in what Pat might describe as a "frothy rage" that someone so ignorant that they would actually utter this comment in what was up to that point a fairly intelligent conversation, would actually be casting vote affecting the future of the country I live in.

On a side note, I live in Hawaii, and while I am in danger of once again exposing my jaded nature, I feel like most people here probably voted for Obama based on the high school he went to (which is where all the rich kids go). As most people here are lucky to get that far, where you graduated from high school carries some heavy social clout. I grew up here, so I can say this, and it ensaddens me.

Aloha!

November 19, 2009 5:10 PM  
Blogger Micah Cowan said...

@ Anonymous,

Boy do I hear that. I was dismayed to see a Facebook friend's status read "XXX hopes we elect an American citizen for president tomorrow".

I become increasingly depressed by the base levels of informedness and critical-thinking skills that seem to be present (or otherwise?) in the country in which I live. I mean, a (narrow) majority of the population still refuses to accept human evolution.

November 20, 2009 1:30 AM  

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