Sunday, July 6, 2008

"What will the future scholars see when they study us?" -- Mona Lisa Smile

It was like everything just hit me at once.  Last night, I was browsing through the videos (and LAUGHING my ass off), then this morning I read Jon's post on Gen Y'ers and their voting habits, and then, to top it all off, I saw a commercial on a network station this morning urging young people to vote.  "When you vote, you have a voice," the tagline taunted.  Basically, voting by peer pressure.  "It's so cool to vote.  Look, these kids are doing it."

I'm pretty sure it was a non-partisan effort, but what a crock.  If some pothead drop-out punk doesn't want to vote, who cares?  If some apathetic idiot wants to sit around and gripe about how he isn't going to vote because it's all fixed anyway, LET HIM.  Truth is, even the kids that aren't like these examples don't know jack squat about politics.  They can't tell you one thing about Obama or McCain that isn't some regurgitated online talking point.  "Well, I mean, John McCain says we need to stay in Iraq for 100 years, but Obama, he's like, wanting to change everything."  I feel like Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile.  "WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?"

They don't even require Civics classes in some high schools today.  These kids can't name the three branches of government or tell you what their duties are, but we're pushing them to go out and help choose the next leaders of the United States.

In high school, student government elections are nothing more than popularity contests.  I saw a few kids work their way up the student government ladder for three years only to have some big shot on campus run against them for Senior class president or even SGA president, because it suddenly occurred to them that they needed something to put on their college application other than how many drunk chicks they had sex with.  And the sheep in the school vote for the more popular kid not because they think he is better suited for the position, but because he's in that hot band they heard Saturday night.

This is what we're trying to do to America's election system, as if we're not already halfway there.  These commercials don't ask you to make an informed decision -- they just ask you to get your ass to a voting booth on election day.  They couldn't care less whether or not you know what you're doing.  They just want to see voter turnout go up.

You know, maybe lower voter turnout is a GOOD thing.  Maybe only the people that take the time to learn about the candidates and make an informed decision should be the ones that choose the president, not just the dumb masses.  They're looking for quantity in the vote experience, not quality.

Neal Boortz is right.  There really should be some kind of an exam to vote.  Like if you go into a computerized booth and press "Obama", a question pops up about where he stands on a certain issue.  Not only would it force people to learn about the candidates, but it would force the candidates to actually TAKE A POSITION ON AN ISSUE (which is something we don't see much anymore either).

And I'm sure some young idealist will stumble upon this blog post and be morally outraged that I could suggest such a thing, and to retaliate, they'll be sure to get to the voting booth and cancel me out.  That's awesome.  Whatever floats your boat.  Just don't fool yourself into thinking that you have any freaking clue of what you're voting for.  Yeah, I know, CHANGE.  What does that mean?


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