Thursday, December 16, 2010

Voting Against Your Interests?

Just a few thoughts on "voting against your interests"--a phrase that is frequently applied by left leaning columnists and bloggers to those in the lower and middle lower classes that vote Republican. These days it is most frequently attached to those who support the "Tea Party" candidates and activities.

The implication is that the vote for the Republican is a vote that will hurt the person of a lower class--that Republican proposals and ideas favor only the rich. That Republicans will cut benefits that help those of the lower economic strata, that Republican economic theory and practice only helps those of higher incomes without benefit to anyone else.

It reeks of class conflict, this phrase. In addition, it makes voters sound selfish--like what's in this for me?

It has been said that if voters can cast votes that result in money coming to themselves that that is the "end of the republic." Voters that vote Democratic are often seen by hard core conservative Republicans as voting for continued entitlements and hand outs. This idea, mixed with latent racism, is especially applied to Black voters.

Painting with such a broad brush has a lot of hazards, one of which is indeed igniting a class war. However, the mere fact that people can apply such ideas to voters means that the idea of voters voting only in their self interest and not for the good of the country as a whole is a valid concept. This then begs the question...

When you go into the voting booth to flip the levers, put the X in the box, tap the screen, punch the card or fill in the oval, are you thinking primarily of how your vote will benefit your own self interests or those of our entire country?

1 comment:

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Although I often (not always) vote Democrat (don't shoot me!I know you wouldn't) I also think this phraseology reeks.

Who it disservices the most is the Democrats, who end up looking like hand-out idiots, when they might have any number of concerns (foreign policy, threat policy, economic policy).

In truth, the Dems are an uneasy coalition of conflicting interests--that's why they can't get a good message out. The Republicans are on their way to finding out what that feels like.

Selfish voters--I think we enshrined that in the self-interest part of the Constitution or the Federalist papers or somewhere like that. But we also only let people vote who had possibly READ things that would enlighten them--and a lot of that class was still "joyriding frat boys". Now few people read those enlightening things. The spark is gone.

We should have (and maybe still can) ramped up education to help with enlightened part of self-interest as we increased suffrage.

Without enlightenment, the voters are messed up, and the nation too.

Just what pops into my head.
Great post, though--I'll be thinking about this all day!

Ann T.