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Thread: Voting Confusion

  1. #1

    Default Voting Confusion

    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.)

  2. #2


    Democracy IS a messy process. The saying is that "democracy is the only form of government where the people get what they deserve."

    Yes, as average voters, we won't know what is best, and a lot of people do vote in a way they believe will best serve their interests.

    There is such a thing a "wisdom of crowds" of sorts. Markets rely on this. It can be debated how well democracy works in this respect (or markets even for that matter).

    I can tell you the way I vote is based on who I believe will be the best for the particular job in question. I treat the campaign speeches as a verbal resumes, debates of the candidates as an indirect interviews, and the news of the candidates as indirect background checks. Elected officials have jobs that will affect a lot of people.

    Besides voting for people, there will be measures, ordinances, propositions, etc. that you will need to vote for or against. Here again, people vote for different reasons. Here again, I take a business-like approach, and vote based on weather I think the benefits out-weight the costs.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  3. #3
    veteran attention whore Array Jeffster's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    I vote for whoever comes up with the better slogan.

    That's why I voted for McCain in 2008. His "Vote for me or I'll stab you in the gut, you stupid &*#$!!" slogan was much better than that "Change we can believe in" crap from Obama.
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  4. #4
    Supreme Allied Commander Array Take Five's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    The first thing to realize is that you are voting for your representative. You, personally, will not have a direct say in the majority of proposed legislation. You are voting for the person you want to be governing for you.

    This means there are fundamentally two approaches. Do you think the elected official should govern as a channel of the majority? Or do you think the official should govern according to what he himself thinks, regardless of the majority.

    In my opinion, it is nearly impossible for people to be well enough informed to have a valid opinion of what really is US interest. The media is to take much of the blame for that.

    I also think the masses are prone to passions. They cannot and do not think in a way such that they would serve the best interests in the long run.

    My advice is to discern who is the wiser of candidates. Look at their professional and personal histories, not at their words. Does one seem to be more discerning of what is truly good for America?

  5. #5
    Allergic to Mornings Array ergophobe's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by LucrativeSid View Post
    I've never voted, and if I am to become a voter, there a few things that I'll need to clear up first.
    Great question! Will be back later with a response.

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