So I voted, despite being utterly fed up with the current state of politics and politicians in the country. I would have felt guilty if I hadn’t voted. But the truth it, I completely forgot it was an election day, until I saw the tweets start coming in on Twitter this morning. That’s how much attention I’ve been paying. Maybe that’s pathetic on my part, but I look at what’s going on–especially here in Washington–and I get so worked up by it that it’s all I can do to put it out of my mind.
The elections around here were just local. Representatives, district supervisors, school board members. If I didn’t know anyone on the ballot for a particular office, I skipped it. I wasn’t going to vote for someone I didn’t know anything about. All told I voted for maybe four offices and one issue. The issue was a bond issue for $275,000,000 for improving schools. I voted no because I didn’t really understand what was being asked of me and I don’t particularly trust politicians to be responsible spenders.
I voted, for what good it will do, but my vote was one of complete resigned apathy.
I hear a lot of talk about heroes, especially from politicians. It seems like a lot of hand-waving to me to distract folks from the fact that there are 587 cowards running this country. I’ve said it before, and I’m convinced it is true: if our representatives had spines, they’d find solutions. The solutions might not be easy, but who said politics was supposed to be easy. It takes courage to be a leader and that is exactly why we have no leaders in Washington at the moment.
I am sorry that you are so disenfranchised with the current state of affairs in Washington. That seems to be fairly common occurrence now. Unfortunately there is a big subset of the population that do not even feel guilty for not voting. Believing that their is no point.
I do not know if this is cultural or not, but I do believe its something that can be changed through education, and encouraging people to stay informed as to what is going on. I do not normally plug my own blog, but I posted something on it recently http://cutestlanding.blogspot.com/2011/11/get-your-stats-out-of-my-edumacation.html. All I have left to say is that I hope you can afford to send your children to private schools.
Sara, thanks for the link, I read your post a few days back. As someone with a background in political science (that’s what my degree is in) I know full well the potential value of voting, which is, of course, why I vote. But I will admit to voting not so much for any candidate but as a statement against mediocrity. The entire ballot was one big BLAH. Of course, you get what you pay for.
I’ve also argued on numerous occasions (here, for a recent example) that education is the key to solving many of our problems. The problem of course, is that is not the opinion held by the majority of people and in a representative democracy, you go with the majority for good or ill. You can’t force people to be educated. You can’t force people to spend money on education. And so here we are. We are no longer a nation of Thomas Jeffersons and John Adams, where education meant something more than just rote learning. We are far from a nation of critical thinkers, which is what we should be aiming for. We are, instead a nation of Justin Biebers and Lindsay Lohans. Or worse: Rush Limbaughs.
Against stupidity, the very gods themselves content in vain. Or as Harlan Ellison has said, “The two most abundant elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
I think were we disagree is in the fact that if you were to present people with the choice between, bad education, good education or no education they would choose no education, and to compound upon it we do not even offer the majority of people that choice, we offer them, bad education, or no education.
Sure there are people who would choose no education, but I do not think they are the majority, even in a culture that does not always emphasis education as you say.
“The problem of course, is that is not the opinion[education solves problems] held by the majority of people and in a representative democracy, you go with the majority for good or ill.”
There is no easy solution. But cutting funds to programs that do work, cutting funds to the only programs that exist without substituting them with a new program is not a good approach. Not trusting politicians with money as an excuse not to fund education is contributing to the problem. If we have a public education system, we have to either trust the government with the running of it, or change the government, and the only way you can do that is through educated and informed voters.
Just to be clear: the improvements in the measure that I voted against seemed to be capital improvements: new buildings, fixing existing ones, etc. Nothing to do with actual education. I’d be happy to spend $275 million on actual education. But part of the problem is that the measure itself is unclear, unless you are a lawyer and I’m not voting for something that I don’t understand. That would be silly.