I've never voted, and if I am to become a voter, there a few things that I'll need to clear up first.
1. What are people supposed to base their votes on, ideally? I think many people base their vote simply on what makes life better for them or their own kind of people. (Businessmen, poor people, ethic groups, farmers, middle class, rich people, government employees, etc...) This seems extremely selfish to me. I'd never vote for a candidate just because it would save ME two thousand dollars every year or just because it would allow ME to have some new freedom. That seems like a terribly backwards approach. "Okay, everybody, just vote for what you want for yourselves and the people you care about and don't worry about what actually makes the nation and it's economy stronger. As far as civil rights go, don't worry about fairness. Just vote for what you want and against anything that you don't like." So, how many people really do vote this way? Are we supposed to vote this way?
2. Even if my vote is based entirely on how it will affect the country, state, or county as a whole, or at least some element that I think is more important than just myself, then I'm basically acting like I know what's best, when I clearly don't. It's just an opinion. Experts disagree with each other. You never find "right" answers in politics or economics. It's all opinion. People who have spent 40 years studying this stuff don't come to the same conclusions. Economists disagree on what actions to take. They disagree on the results of past actions. Why? Because their opinions of good results and bad results are subjective. (What else could they be?) What is a strong and mighty military to one person is a giant waste of money to another person. Homeless people everywhere is merely a fact of life to one person and a heartbreak to another. Gay marriage is a civil right to one person and a disgusting act of sin to another. Obviously these differences of opinion come into play when voting for candidates. Am I supposed to think that my opinions are objective truths? What if my state's electoral points all rested upon my vote, and the presidency was up to my state's electoral points... It's never going to happen, I know, but is making half the population upset really progress?
3. How is this supposed to work? Do we actually rely on people to think selfishly when they vote and then just go along with the majority, even though this leaves millions of people still fighting against each other instead of fighting side by side towards common goals?
It's so confusing and I see so many problems. I want to make things better, not just here, but everywhere on Earth, and I'll probably always do that in my own way. I don't know if voting would help in this goal. I want to vote, and I want it to make a difference, or at least represent something that makes a difference, but I just don't see how it can be that way. Perhaps someone can enlightenment me on the true importance of my vote. My approach so far has been to let other people do the voting. I'll live with the results. Let them have what they want, I'll still do my own thing. Of course I'll still have opinions, but I won't pretend like they are facts.
However, I know that I'd be a conscientious voter. Based on some of the ways that other people are casting their votes, maybe throwing my own in there wouldn't be such a bad thing.
(And remember, I'm not one of those people who feels hopeless about voting while saying, "It's just one vote." I know it's just one vote, but every vote is just one vote. I actually consider my vote really important and I don't want it to be cast haphazardly.)