Monday, June 30, 2008

Too Dumb to Vote

Today's Washington Post reports on voters in Flag City, Ohio, one of whom would kind of like to vote for Obama, but is troubled because all his neighbors tell him that Obama was born in Africa, is possibly gay, is a Muslim racist, and refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The profiled voter finds it "impossible to figure out what's true," especially since his neighbors are "good people, smart people."

Sad, isn't it? All of these people get a vote equal to yours or mine. In fact, in the Presidential election, their vote is worth a lot more than mine, because they live in a swing state, and I live in DC, where Obama will get 90% of the votes and mine won't matter a whit.

Democracy is a difficult system, but it's hard to see what else to do -- it's the worst system, except for all the others, as Churchill said. I don't see any superior alternative. Mark Twain once hypothesized a society where everyone can vote, because the Constitution guaranteed universal suffrage, but some people get more votes than others, based on wealth and education. That probably wouldn't work either (not to mention its violation of the Equal Protection Clause).

So unfortunately we just have to accept that we've put our nation's fate in the hands of people who are unable to distinguish fact from fiction as to even the most basic things. (They probably think there's no law requiring people to pay income tax, too.)

I guess the best solution in to bring in an army of sociologists and psychiatrists to figure out what makes these people form certain beliefs (in my untrained way I would put this particular case down to your basic racism). Then we need to figure out how to fight the smears.

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