Maybe Some People Should Just Stay Home

I’m really looking forward to Election Day because the possibility for real change for a better America is within reach. (By the way, how’s Obama’s hope-y, change-y thing working out for you?)

I’m still stunned he won 53% of the vote when only about 20% of the people in this country call themselves liberal.  Despite what that 20% would like the rest of us to believe, this country has been and remains a center-right nation.  As I’ve said many times, a quick Google search would’ve alerted any breathing, conscious and thinking person that then Sen.-Obama would govern from the far left and not from the center.  So, while he enjoyed a 68% favorable rating in January of 2009, many Americans who voted for him have now figured out what he’s really about and his approval rating is down to about 45%.

Lots of things disturb me about the way many Americans view the voting process.

I often ask myself whether the majority of Americans really know what’s going on?  I know far too many people who don’t watch the news because “it’s depressing.”  Hell, yeah, it’s depressing when you read the unemployment stats, record foreclosures and how this government is hemorrhaging our money.  But ignoring it doesn’t make the problems go away.

It’s clear that too many people lack any knowledge about our politicians and spend more time researching cars, refrigerators, laptops and cell phones.  I’ve even known people who’ve never voted in their lives, which is absolutely shocking to me.

And I’m always stunned at the turn-out numbers for every election.  Mid-term elections, like the one coming up in a couple of weeks, are expected to draw a significantly lower number of voters than presidential elections.  I don’t get it.  Why every person of voting age isn’t at their polling place is beyond me.  Ever since I’ve been able to vote, I’ve done so.  Even after the early announcement that President Reagan won the election in 1980, I still went to my polling place before closing time and cast my vote for him.

I recently posted an article about term limits which I believe are essential to avoid career politicians and corruption.  I’ve seen people respond by saying, “we already have term limits, they’re called elections.”  But does the average American actually know who their politicians are and what they stand for?

Recently, I saw a segment on the O’Reilly Factor in which John Stossel went out on the streets of NY and showed people pictures of Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner but, from the footage I saw, no one knew who they were.  It’s mind boggling that so many people couldn’t identify Nancy Pelosi, arguably the most powerful woman in America and next in line to the Presidency after the Vice-President, or John Boehner, who, if all goes well in a few days, would take Pelosi’s place as Speaker of the House.  It’s downright frightening.

O’Reilly asked Stossel to go back on the street and ask people under 25 whether they could identify Vice President Biden from a photo.  The following week, Stossel reported that 8 out of 30 young people didn’t know who the Vice President was from his photo!

Now, I’m sure I’m going to read comments like, “well, did you know who the Vice President was when you were 25?”  Well, I certainly knew that Vice President Johnson took over after President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and I was only 12 years old at the time.

In my home, there was only the Daily News (I didn’t know anyone who read the NY Times or New York Post in Greenpoint where I grew up in Brooklyn) and three network news channels.  There was no internet or cable news or 24-hour news cycle. Today, information is everywhere and unless someone’s been living under a rock somewhere, it’s truly inconceivable to me that anyone would not know who the Vice President is.

Which brings me to another startling exhibition of misinformed (I’m really being kind here) people.  Before Election Day 2008, I saw a youtube clip from the Howard Stern show.  I’m not sure if the interviewer submitted the clip or if Howard sent the guy up to Harlem to interview voters.  It really doesn’t matter.  The content is unbelievable.

The interviewer starts off by asking a person on the street whether they planned to vote for Obama or McCain.  If the person said, “Obama,” the interviewer asked him about McCain’s policies as if they were Obama’s.  For example, if the person was an Obama supporter, he’d ask, “do you agree with Obama being pro-life?” and the person responded, “I support him in that.”  “Do you agree with Obama being anti-stem cell research?” and the person said, “I wouldn’t do that either.”  “If Obama wins, do you have any problem with Sarah Palin being Vice President?” and the answer was “Oh, I think she’s a very good choice.”  If a person said he intended to vote for McCain, the interviewer asked, “So, if McCain wins, do you have a problem with Joe Biden being Vice President?” and the response was “no.”  Can you believe this?

While these individuals may not reflect the American electorate as a whole (I hope), even one person who believed Sarah Palin was Barack Obama’s running mate shouldn’t have been allowed to vote.

So, you can see my quandary.  I think everyone should exercise their right to vote but I’m not convinced enough people take that right seriously.  We require new citizens to take a test before becoming citizens of this great nation; perhaps we should require voters to take a test before actually casting their vote.  Unfortunately, I think I’ll have opened up a can of worms because the ACLU, no doubt, will then sue to have the test given in 37 different languages instead of just English…..

I don’t get, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Roger Ward

    I agree with Bruce A and disagree with another comment expressed: the fact is that the average voter is too stupid to cast an intelligent vote. However, this is the system we have, so like or not (and whether we agree with the outcomes or not), this is the system we have and these are the rules we must play by. In the upcoming election, we should do fairly well on a national level … but on a local level (California), we need your prayers or some voter intelligence, or both.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    YEP, SOME PEOPLE SHOULD STAY HOME,, SOMEONE WENT TO FLORIDA
    FOR THE WH AND TALKED MR MEEK FROM CONTINUING WITH THE RACE.
    HE A GREED AT FIRST, THAT WAY CRIST WOULD WIN. THEN HE CHANGED
    HIS MIND. THEN THE STORY BROKE, THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL TO TAMPER
    WITH A RACE. OUR WH FRIEND IS NO OTHER THAN BILLY CLINTON. THANKS ALOT, HE HASNT CHANGED.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    BERNIE, BIG NEWS FLASH, A TALK SHOW HOST REPORTS A SPECIAL

    COURT QUICKLY DECIDED TO OVERTURN ARIZONA LAW AND NOT

    REQUIRE CITIZENSHIP TO VOTE, SMELLS LIKE D. C. ALERT THE

    MEDIA, THIS MUST BE STOPPED!

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  • Ron

    The other side probably thinks we do not have a firm grasp of the issues. The problem with requiring a certain understanding or knowledge of issues is who gets to decide what is sufficient knowledge or understanding. When I look at elections in California, especially the initiatives, it seems to me voters have a pretty good understanding of the issues.

  • Bruce A.

    One of the reasons our founding fathers devised the electoral college was the notion that the general public(rabble) was just too stupid to elect a president. After listening to Hannitys man on the street interviews I have come to the conclusion they were correct.

  • JDO

    I usually find those “man on the street” segments amusing, Leona, but I’ll bet that very few of those people that are (I’ll be kind) “less than informed” about who they’ll be voting for actually go out and vote. What really frightens me are all of the people that actually paid attention to what Obama was saying during his presidential campaign and STILL voted for him. These are the people that are “surprised” and “disillusioned” now. Perhaps THEY are the ones that should refrain from casting a vote.

    True story: Back in ’92, I was in college, and in my class there were always spirited “debates” about who to vote for in the ’92 presidential election. Out of my 20 classmates (small school, same class for every subject), only two of us confessed that we’d be voting for GHW Bush. Most of the rest of my classmates were fervent Clinton supporters, with perhaps a couple leaning towards Perot. About 3/4 of us were from out-of-state, so we had to vote absentee, which requires a little more effort than “normal” voting. After the election, I asked around, trying to gauge exactly how many people actually voted (I didn’t ask who they voted for). Out of the 20 in our class, do you know how many people voted? One. Me. Even my fellow, spirited conservative failed to cast a vote. Lotta talk, little action. Come to think of it, most of my classmates probably would’ve made good politicians. I had no problems telling all of them that if they didn’t vote, they still had a right to complain, but I didn’t want to hear a single word of it.