On elections - Nothin' matters and what if it did?
Nov. 6th, 2012
07:10 am - On elections
A couple of election related pet peeves:
In the context discussion of the amount spent to get a presidential candidate I often hear points noting that the amount spent this year ($6 billion) is no more or even less than some amount that American consumers spend on some sort of non-essential good or service, e.g., candy or whatever, or that it's a relatively small fraction of the GDP. That argument leaves me baffled every time. How in the world is that salient and/or why isn't it used to underscore what a *huge* amount is spent on getting someone elected. Almost as much is spent on getting *one* person elected as the entire country of 300 million+ people spends on candy in a year. That's a huge amount of money! Just to underscore the point, people aren't raising concerns about money spent because they think it's diverting too large a portion of the economy on resources that would be better used elsewhere, they're concerned, typically, that this shows that only people with really good financial connections can get elected and that the fact that only the financially well connected can get elected doesn't bode well for democracy in America.
The whole "if you don't vote you're failing your civic duty" argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Why are we so keen to get people to the polls who aren't inspired by their choices, who haven't taken the time to inform themselves. Why is is useful, important or necessary to get them to vote? And this latest slogan, "if you don't vote you're living someone else's future"? It doesn't even make a lick of sense.