Have you?  Will you?

We have mail in ballots in my state.  I just voted.  I hope you will too.

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Ok, for fun, here's an exercise:

Please give a RATIONAL reason why I should vote. The chance that my vote will change the election are astronomically small. "because it's the right thing" or "because I'll feel good" are emotional, but not rational reasons. "What if everyone didn't" doesn't count because my vote has no affect on 'everyone'. "Because it gives you the right to complain" is a complete non sequitur; the fact that no candidate remotely earned my vote does NOT mean I can't complain.

So, how about a hard nosed, rational justification?

“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
Voltaire, among others.

I don't know how you define rational, but voting is the mass effect of many individual actions and inactions. It is the basis for democratic society. The fact is that your individual vote, by itself doesn't matter. Neither does one brick in a wall, or one one car on the road, or one soldier in an army. But taken together, votes matter a lot.

In the end, no one can be convinced that their individual action matters, if they take an entirely individualistic point of view. That's the argument between individualism and communitarianism. But much of human history is via mass action.

You said it better than I did.

What led you to conclude that life is rational?????

Your not having done yourself in proves that you too are irrational.

Be kinder to your nose.

Keep in mind that I'm not actually trying to discourage voting, but critiquing some truisms.

"voting is a mass effect". But that's the challenge. Whether I vote or I don't, it won't change the mass effect. What I do does not change what others do.

This differs from conventional communitarian arguments in that in helping in a disaster, for example, each person's work changes things, where as in voting, it does not.

Just voted yesterday.  Hopefully the outcome I prefer will occur this next Tuesday.

I'm a bit curious if the East Coast damage will have an effect on voting.  Extended voting hours or perhaps even extending the last day to vote might have to be an extreme option in some areas. 

I guess I'm a traditionalist.  I will vote next Tuesday, right after I get my teeth cleaned!

Which is the tradition?  Voting or having your teeth cleaned? 

Both, actually.  It's just that, this time around, they happen to coincide!

And I wonder how much money was spent by both parties on your single vote. With 311 million people was it 50 cents per vote ... a dollar a vote?

I remember when they used to say - If only we spent that money going to the space program on reducing poverty - there would be an improved society.  They always ignored the spinoff technological benefits.

Wouldn't it be nice if all that money spent on negative advertising could instead be used to accomplish something positive?

This is from two years ago, but here's an opinion article from the Huffington Post by Ron Howard (yes...Opie Taylor and famed film director) about how to revolutionize political campaign ads.  I think this is a great idea.

what if all TV ads were, by law, only allowed to feature the candidate, with, say, the American flag as the backdrop, alone, speaking directly to the camera? Perhaps the words also subtitled on the bottom of the frame. No music, no graphs, no cut-away shots of disturbing or sentimental images. Only the candidate, talking to us, the voters.


Imagine hearing the candidates speak for themselves instead of hearing fear-mongering narration and insidious attacks and claims from some Super PAC.  This would be REAL campaign reform in a positive direction. 

We have a Canadian example as well - a little bit toned down as we like to see ourselves.

Our first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald was touring during an election and got up on a high platform to speak to a crowd of farmers.  One of the farmers pointed out that this Conservative politician was standing and speaking on a manure spreader. He quickly replied  "Well, this is the first time I can honestly say I've spoken from a Liberal platform.'"

We also had an example in the early 1990's when the Conservatives tried to make fun of a birth defect that caused Jean Chretien to speak out of the side of his mouth.  They tried to portray this with an ad that he was a shady character.  I am very proud that this enraged many of us and backfired on the Conservatives.   

Unfortunately the negative advertising has now taken hold in our country and has been an effective tool for Stephen Harper's campaigns.

I wrote a letter to our national paper lamenting this talking about a U.S example which is in this link


My Letter

Gerry Nicholls says that negative ads “inform voters about a candidate’s possible flaws.” A textbook example of that is demonstrated in the documentary Hot Coffee and the negative campaign to oust Oliver Diaz from the Mississippi Supreme Court to insure a big business slant in the judicial system.

Deep pockets financed a smear campaign in the election and Oliver, with less money, was still able to prevail. The meager funds he did get resulted in a bogus charge of bribery. After he showed that to be spurious, he was hit with another bogus charge of tax evasion.

Completely exonerating himself from those charges took up three years and people with their busy lives only remembered the bad press. In the next election there was a lot of good material for special interests to draw upon and Oliver was bounced. This new Supreme Court routinely ruled in favour of big business over the little guy.

Negative ads allow those with money and power to hire communication consultants to influence citizens to go against their own safeguards.


Russell Pangborn, Keswick


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