Baal

Social Issue: Voting - Right or Responsibility?

Recommended Posts

Conversation started in the SFM Election thread and I figured I'd make it into its own thing.

 

I have always viewed voting on any official in any capacity to be more of a responsibility than a right.

Outside of rare cases, not voting only says that you don't care enough to vote, and I have no time for you. 

It has also always been my view that if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about any elected official.

Fight Me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Educate yourself, form an opinion, express it. Anyone who says they're not voting as a "silent protest" is kidding themselves. You can protest all you want against the governing bodies, but if the recent state of things has you riled up, one of the best ways to create that change is by making your voice heard. At the very least protest the bodies that you would rather see in office because they uphold some of your morals.

Fuck write Santa Claus on the paper for all I care, at the very least vote for your local/state elected officials, where your voice is heard and matters.

Be the drop that starts the ripple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The right to vote is established in the Consitution of the United States (where Baal and myself are from, as are many members) In article XIV. It is expanded in several amendments. Each state in its own constitution establishes the right to vote. There is no argument I can think of that strongly challenges these laws. Every citizen of the United States has the right to vote without being abridged except where allowed under specific circumstances, all of which are related to losing that right because of criminal offenses. If there is a good argument for how voting in the United States is not a right, I am curious to hear it.

 

As for the responsibility side- At what point does a lack of voting change the United States into an Oligarchy instead of a Democracy? Is that a change that should be allowed to happen? Can the United States be truly considered a republic in the absence of a strong majority of votes in the electoral process?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, MadCast: Munsa said:

If you pay taxes and do not vote, do you have a right to complain about public action?

If the action is taken, even in part, by an official you had the option to vote for/against, I say no.

 

And as far as abstaining as a protest, it accomplishes nothing.

 

Edited by MadCast: Baal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fall distinctly on the side of the libertarian argument that anybody should have the freedom, under a modern liberal state with freedom of speech, to complain about anything they want, no matter of you consider that justified or now. To force people to vote under threat of punishment, is ludicrous, in a free society, you should be free not to vote, never mind the bureaucratic nightmare of keeping track of such a thing. I consider anything that forces someone to actively do something, a step toward totalitarianism. (before I get this response, prohibition form doing something, eg. theft, does not fall under the same umbrella to my mind). From a political standpoint, if one looks at states such as Australia, when compared to NZ, as a quite analogous state, Australians, in my experience and reading, as well as watching the last several elections in both states, Australians seem to me to be LESS politically educated than their neighbors, and I would argue that this comes from the standpoint that in a compulsory state, system is sluggish and unresponsive, and in a voluntary state, the respective political parties have to more closely listen to what the people they are campaigning to represent desire, and work harder to get those votes vs. a compulsory system where a large number of people have no distinct idea what they are voting for and leads to larger levels of tribalism in my experience. 
This is not to say I am against voting myself, I pay attention, and when I have a distinct opinion, I vote, eg. the Scottish independence and Brexit referendums, and their respective elections. 

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's an either/or thing. We can't argue it's not a right, at least in most countries. As to whether it's a responsibility, I think it depends on the way you're voting. It might be your responsibility to vote, but if you're doing so uninformed just to say that you've voted, and that you've exercised your right as a citizen of wherever you are, I'd say you're being more irresponsible than responsible.

In Chile, voting was mandatory for a long time after the military dictatorship. They had taken that right for so long that they felt it was their responsibility to make it an obligation so we wouldn't forget how important it was. That law is gone now, and the amount of people that go vote has gone down significantly to the point where I think it's only half that are voting. I'd honestly rather have that, than have people voting randomly because they are being forced to do so by their own government or other kinds of peer pressure. 

As to the argument of complaining, I understand that people have the right to say whatever they want, but I honestly don't care for the political opinion/rant of someone that didn't vote since there is no excuse for you not to do so. I share the idea that if people didn't vote, it might feel like they're saying "I don't care enough" or "I have no time for you", but I also understand that some people don't vote because they are not informed enough, and I appreciate that too.

Edited by MadCast: Hitori

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To both @MadCast: Hitori and @MadCast: majorhoward, shouldn't all citizens take the time to be educated on what they're voting for?

I clump that in with the voting responsibility itself.

I will die holding the view that if you could have made an effort to something, even in a small way (read: voting,) but didn't, then you forfeit your right to complain about it.

If it's worth opening your mouth to bitch about, it's worth taking the effort to change it.

 

I'm not arguing for or against a compulsory system. I'm arguing that people who care enough to complain, care enough to vote, full stop.

Should there be mandatory voting laws? Probably not.

Should the general populace that these votes affect care enough to get off their collective asses and make an educated vote. Without a doubt.

Edited by MadCast: Baal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I might ask then @MadCast: Baal, propose that there are zero parties that I share ANYTHING in common with politically, should I then have to go down the local church hall, and spoil my ballot to have any right in your view to complain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, MadCast: majorhoward said:

If I might ask then @MadCast: Baal, propose that there are zero parties that I share ANYTHING in common with politically, should I then have to go down the local church hall, and spoil my ballot to have any right in your view to complain?

Even if it's a matter of picking the least worst option, yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suppose you were given the choice by someone of a dollar bill, a cookie, or nothing. If you took the bill, you discover that it is fake. If you take the cookie, you discover it's actually tampered with and is so hot as to cause pain. If you take nothing, you find you get punched in the mouth. Would you not have a right to complain in any or all of these situations? If you knew going into the situation that some, or all, of the bait and switches were true would you have the right to complain?

By what magic does marking a circle on a piece of paper give the right to complain, or its absence abridge it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me preface this by saying that complaining too much is bad for anyone in any instance. 

But I think “instrumental complaining” can be incredibly helpful for people who need to constructively deal with their negative emotions and find solutions. 

This type of “complaining” allows us to experience and understand our negative reactions and come up with solid solutions. 

For example, if you confront your partner about overspending, that would be instrumental complaining. And it would be a healthy and constructive way to process the emotional baggage while keeping focus on the solutions. 

My point is that this is an important way people can process things. Which is why I think someone “not having the right to complain” is silly in this instance. It’s like saying someone doesn’t have the right to process their negative emotions in order to understand their political positions, and it also feels like a way to gate-keep someone who may be unable to vote for an extraneous reason. 

All American citizen’s have the right to vote. And I agree that we have a responsibility to vote and be invested in that vote. But I don’t think people who don’t vote subsequently don’t have the right to complain. In fact, if they learn to complain the right way, it might instead help them to vote. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose Right to complain was the wrong way to put it.

A more semantically appropriate term would be the ability to complain without coming off as just whining.

Specifically in America, our voting process tends towards the long side. Local elections generally involve a couple months of campaigning, while presidential elections (somewhat absurdly) involve almost a year of it. With this much time to learn about whatever issues candidate x, y, or z focus on and their stances on them, we have more than enough opportunity to form our own educated opinions and vote accordingly. There is easily enough time to marshal and analyze emotions brought up by whatever issues pertain to the candidates.

 

Not taking the time to do so, and then following that with an uneducated vote, or none at all, then whining about the results of the election comes off as more than a little spoiled.

"I didn't make any effort. Why aren't things the way I want them to be?"

 

And @MadCast: VoShay that's an oversimplification of the issue and you know it :P

 

 

Edited by MadCast: Baal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, let me relate a story then. While I was on deployment in Iraq, I didn't have time to learn about the issues, or form informed opinions about the candidates running, both for PM and in my local (where my legal place of residence was). I was still asked to vote by my OC, I chose not to because I didn't have a sufficient knowledge of the party manifestos, do I have the ability to complain without coming off as whining? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@MadCast: Baal I don't necessarily think so. Despite all that campaigning, you can't know if there is an issue the candidate will flip flop on; You don't know if the candidate is only blowing smoke up the public's ass when they mention an issue (and gracefully dance around any policy about it), or they don't have an answer yet, or if they never intend to follow through whether or not they make a promise (though most candidates at least attempt the majority/all of their campaign promises based on research, ironically). There's a lot of things Democrats and Republicans don't typically campaign on that are kinda part of their platform but they don't spotlight usually. Hypothetically, You don't know if a given Democrat or Democratic legislature is going to basically ignore gun control or instead try to pass an extreme bill to send to the Supreme Court as a constitutional challenge to District of Colombia vs. Heller. On the flip side, for a Republican majority or candidate, you don't know for certain if they will ignore or challenge Roe vs. Wade with an extreme bill. These and countless other things aren't campaigned on. What if you, pursuant to the current example, are okay with where the 2nd Amendment and Abortion rights are? There's no third party for you to vote for with any hope of even sending a message most elections, let alone electing a candidate. If you abstain because of those issues and then talk about those issues, are you whining? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@MadCast: majorhoward Military service is an exception in this, as in many other cases

And if the more than 40% of eligible voters that abstained last election went for a third party instead of refusing to choose between a harpy and a racist tangerine, that may have changed. At the very least, one or both of the big two would have to look long and hard at getting their shit straight.

If you don't like either candidate, vote for a third party. Write in someone. Do Something. Doing nothing then whining about the results is asinine.

@MadCast: VoShayAbstaining from voting based on whether a candidate might flip on an issue is absurd. It also accomplishes nothing either way. As the majority of candidates for major offices, both federal and state are career politicians and thanks to FoI, you can look at their past votes, it's fairly easy to tell where they stand.

The big recurring point is abstaining accomplishes absolutely nothing, and if you don't try to accomplish something, don't whine when someone else does.

 

Edited by MadCast: Baal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incumbent to your point, my friend, is the idea that voting does accomplish something, and that something is the direct intention of all those who voted for the winning side. Many districts are gerrymandered such that the primary mostly or entirely determines the winner in a local election. It can be legitimately difficult to know the real positions of two judges or two school board candidates, or exactly what they do. Beyond that, many voters feel powerless to affect change in the system because of ossified structures and perverse incentives in business, lobbying, political parties, partisanship, and a host of other factors. Can such a broad stroke of the brush be used to paint every abstained voter in every election as a feckless whiner who deserves to not like what is happening and has happened and therefore should learn to be better, where better is just 'vote for anything?'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they were able to vote, didn't, and then complain about the result, yes.

Voting does accomplish something. As I continue to say, not voting doesn't.

We have a far from perfect structure. That has been made abundantly clear. Districts get shuffled around surprisingly often. If the biggest problem you or anyone else has is the structure, their are candidates that will attempt to change it.

Local elections will always be a bit of a mixed bag, but many candidates, at least in my experience, are willing to answer questions on their positions.

And better isn't 'vote fore anything.' Better is take an hour and look up who/what you're voting on. Most of us here spend an hour or more gaming a night. People spend an absurd amount of time buried in their phones. Take even a small portion of that time and educate yourself.

 

 

Edited by MadCast: Baal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allow me to pose another scenario that has happened to me, I know we are not in the same state, but indulge me. 

In the past, I have lived in districts where there is only one candidate running, from one party, should I vote for them? Should I abstain? When there is LITERALLY only one person that can be elected, even if only one person votes for them, does your proposal still apply that I cannot whine if I did not vote?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no option to write in a candidate here, it is considered a spoiled ballot in that case. If, as you say, it is then not an election, do I retain my ability to complain without insult then?

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another question, then. What if the barrier to voting is too high? For example, closed voting locations and strict ID laws have been leveraged in many districts to disenfranchise specific groups of voters, by making it difficult or nearly impossible to vote (Arizona had 8 hour lines in the 2016 Primary in districts where the number of poll stations were cut 80% or more; ID laws in New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin to name a few states made it difficult or impossible for students, the poor, the elderly, and others who may not have government-issued photo ID available or may even be unable to afford it let alone get to the DMV to purchase it- some counties in the southeast [such as several in South Carolina] have just one DMV in the entire county. For a non-driver 60 year old to bus across the county to get a photo ID seems to be more than a little bit of a barrier; for anyone living in poverty to do so at a cost of 100 dollars or more across paperwork, applications, fees, and fares it can be untenable). 

I do not in this instance argue that every person who does not vote has the same justification of righteous anger towards political actions that someone who votes does(however, I do think all citizens have every right to express their concern with the state of the Republic). I argue that the statement 'if you don't try to accomplish something, don't whine when someone else does' is needlessly reductive and misses a massive amount of grey in the issue at hand.

Edited by MadCast: VoShay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the barrier to vote is too high, it falls on the people who are able to vote to change that.

There is no all encompassing statement to be made to cover every possible scenario, so this is the closest I've got: If you can make an educated vote, do so. If you can but don't, quit bitching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.