My Pre-Vote Statement

Well, tomorrow is the day when Americans flock to the polls and decide who our next batch of government officials will be. Very few will be voting based on the policies and records of the candidates. We are a nation of celebrity worshipers, electing an American Idol. I don’t feel qualified to appoint any military commander, let alone the Commander-in-Chief, do you? It’s absolutely criminal that the average citizen is asked to make a decision, which directly decides the life or death of American soldiers. For Christ’s sake this isn’t a game. This decision can’t be made with superficial arguments about faith, race, character, or poise. I’m not a West Point grad. I go to community college and I have a job. I don’t know jack-shit about the economy and I certainly am not able to decide which candidate has the best plan for it. I think that I’m woefully unprepared to make this decision, but I’m as prepared as most everyone else. I disagree with this system. I think it costs lives. We would be wise to change it. Temper this popular vote!

I’m going to have to quote Churchill here:

In other words, sure democracy has its problems but what do you propose we replace it with?

Upon re-read you may just be advocating changing how we practice democracy. If so I’ll agree with much of that and I’ll say that I expect that to change about the same time human nature does.

I’m still leaving the first part though because I just like that quote.

That’s a bummer for you. Who the hell else is supposed to make that decision? I feel like I’m perfectly competent to decide. I’ve spent the last year listening to issues. Whoever wins the presidency is in for a very rocky road. I’m absolutely confident that I’m making the right decision for the future of America. Obama may not be able to straighten out the economic morass in four years, but I am completely sure that America will be viewed in a vastly more positive light if he manages to win. If our economy still sucks after an Obama presidency, well, McCain would not have been able to do any better. I’m completely excited about this election.

Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.

If not us, then who?
Dictators think they and they alone know what is best. Most dictatorships don’t work very well in the long run.

Why not us? I may not be able to put together a plan of campaign for Iraq (and apparently neither could top military brass until just recently), but we are capable of choosing intelligent, calm and reasonable people to make these decisions for us. That’s the decision you are asked to make today: which candidate you feel/think will do the best job in managing the challenges before us. Surely you’ve had profs at that community college whom you felt were great teachers? And some that you realized just didn’t have what it takes to impart knowledge? Presidential elections are much the same–look at each candidate’s characteristics and then decide.

Cite?

What a scary OP. I hope he’s not serious.

What’s so scary about it? I largely agree with him.

Really? You don’t see the problem in arguing against Democracy on the grounds of national security?

Yes, actually, I do. The president isn’t a general, and it’s not like the popular vote determines troop deployments or battle plans. I do feel qualified to evaluate the policies proposed by the candidates.

PUH-LEASE. The popular vote already counts for very little - how much further devalued can it be? Basically you’re proposing a military junta run things, since it’s “too important to be left to civilians.” To say the least, I disagree.

I can’t vote in US elections, but after reading the OP I wanted to contribute this bit of wisdom about the US election from a blogger in Cuba. If you read spanish you can see the full post here: http://desdecuba.com/generaciony/?p=518 , if not I’m pretty sure the blog offers a translated post, but for some reason I can’t figure it out.

The post is longer, but this part seems appropriate as a response to the OP:

"Así que todos estamos expectantes de quién saldrá ganador este martes 4 de noviembre. Los que tienen hijos que sólo pueden venir a visitarlos cada tres años, confían en que el candidato demócrata flexibilizará los viajes a la Isla. Otros apuestan a que la mano dura de los republicanos logrará forzar las aperturas que hemos esperado por décadas. Ante el pronóstico reservado que muestra el interior de nuestro país, hay quienes aseguran que el resultado de hoy pondrá en marcha o descarrilará –definitivamente– el carro de las reformas en Cuba.

Yo preferiría que lo empujáramos nosotros mismos, pero muy pocos quieren cambiar la labor de profeta por la ardua tarea de hacer que las cosas ocurran. Hasta la hora que escribo este post, el caprichoso vehículo de los cambios parece estar varado al borde de la calle. Tengo mis dudas de si lo acontecido este martes lo impulsará a moverse."

Translated:

"So it is that we anxiously anticipate who will be the winner this Tuesday, November 4th. Those with children in the US who can only come for visits every three years, trust that the Democratic candidate will ease restrictions on travel. Others bet that the tough stance of the Republican will be able to force the opening that we have been awating all these decades. In view of the of predictions coming from within Cuba, there are some who are sure that today’s result will push forward, or derail - definitively - the cart of reforms in Cuba.

I would prefer that it was us pushing that cart, but very few are willing to trade the work of the prophet for the hard labor of making changes. As of this writing, the capricious cart of changes appears to be stranded on the side of the road. I doubt if the results from this Tuesday will move it at all."

Indeed. Before I opt for a military junta to run things please point (the OP) to historical examples where such a government has been a good thing for its citizens. More than that, provably better than a democracy.

Not really. I mean, I’m not arguing for dictatorship. But there should be some way to disenfranchise the idiots.

Even granting the dubious argument that restricting the vote to a certain elite leads to better policy, giving people the right to govern themselves is about justice, not policy wonkery. Here’s a simple thought experiment: Why do you think we enfranchised women, blacks, and those 18-21? Was it because we thought doing so would lead to better economic or military policy, or did it have something to do with justice?

I’m sure it had a lot to do with justice, but it also’s also because America has a belief, as the Declaration of Independence puts it, “that all men are created equal”.

It’s be nice if the OP offered up an alternative.

That principle doesn’t explain extending enfranchisement based on age, for example.

But even if it did, justifying enfranchisement by the principle of equality just as thoroughly repudiates the OP as justifying it based on notions of political justice.

France. Most definitely France.

While I agree with you completely, I truly believe this is the sentiment that makes 25% of the nation still approve of the job Bush is doing.

Not that they aren’t wrong, that’s just where they’re coming from.

If it helps, I’d be happy to serve as Supreme Unchallenged Dictator for a bit, while the details are worked out.