Voting Sucks

I can’t help but get a little political for a minute. I was discussing the primaries with a friend today. This individual was spending a bunch of time researching different candidates, peering deep into their websites and analyzing their plans and how they fit this person’s own beliefs, values, etc. The act, although commendable, is fruitless.

My main problem at that point in the conversation was the fact that we’re going to base decisions on information on a candidates website. Ideas are awesome. Everyone has them. Heck, anyone can have a plan too because, lets be honest, a plan is simply a bunch of ideas organized by priority and/or time. But to then trust this people and simply assume (or extrapolate) the notion that they’ll then execute these ideas… well, that’s just silly.

Too Busy

For starters, politicians have plenty of time to come up with ‘ideas’ and ‘plans’ before they’re elected. They don’t have too many responsibilities to take up their free time so they spend it brainstorming (and campaigning for a little bit, sure). While this may or may not be true I can picture a guy in a suit sitting at home doodling on his notepad with a picture of melting ice caps and a big fan trying to keep them cool. Then there are those in congress that run for re-election and win it something like 94% of the time. Incumbency is going to kill this country for one simple reason: these people are already politicians and don’t have time to sit around and doodle. Instead they have to go to meetings, lunches, and play golf with other politicians. The brainstorming process halts once you’re sworn in. If there’s no time for doodling do you believe for a second there’d be any room for ‘executing’ those ‘ideas’ from earlier? I rest my case…

Passionate Morons


Once in a blue moon you’ll find someone who really cares to do their job. The only problem being: they’re a freaking nut case. The only people who want to get out there and make changes are those who shouldn’t be allowed to make changes in the first place (or children for that matter). As Jon Stewart put it: the country ends up being run by extremeists because moderates have shit to do. Seriously, congress is full of old, incompentent morons. Remember the series of tubes? As an employee of the backbone of the internet, nothing scares me more than the government right now.

“Teens are extremely socially aware, but favour participation through their consumption choices, because they believe corporations are more effective agents of change than governments.” Link via Noah

Spot on. In fact, I’d get into politics if it weren’t so damned.. well, political.

Why vote?

So at this point I clearly lack confidence in anyone or anything trying to get my vote. It’s going to take a lot to convince me that you’re not too busy or a passionate moron (or unethical, or an adulterer, or any other stereotype). But wait, it’s my duty to vote, right? I mean, that’s what I’ve been told since elementary school government class. I guess I don’t appreciate the argument that I need to vote simply because people in Africa can’t. Any kid who’s been told to finish their dinner because kids in China are starving know where I’m coming from here. As a kid the “you need to vote” lecture ranks up there with “sharing is good”, you don’t really question it…

Interestingly enough I can name one good reason to not vote: you have no economic interest. At least, that’s what Steven Levitt (Freakonomics) serves up.

Why would an economist be embarrassed to be seen at the voting booth? Because voting exacts a cost – in time, effort, lost productivity – with no discernible payoff except perhaps some vague sense of having done your “civic duty.” As the economist Patricia Funk wrote in a recent paper, “A rational individual should abstain from voting.” (NYTimes)

Fair enough. I’ve got another good reason: there’s no way you can really be informed enough to make a good decision. I don’t think any of us really understand all the issues enough to have an opinion one way or another (to make the best decision). This is why Scott calls himself a Ignorantselfishertarian. Then again, what are the most recent and pressing issues we need to tackle? The importance of same-sex marriage and it’s implications on society? Flag burning? Do I really need to spend time waiting in line to elect someone to vote on this crap?

So what do we do?

I really like Scott Adams’ Pragmatic Party. I think the more realistic solution, though, is to wait a few more years for the ‘old guard’ to phase itself out of elected positions (in Castro fashion). Just imagine, in 10-20 years we’ll be dancing in the streets

…if the country makes it that long.