Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Small Sample of Voters

If you wonder how people can vote against their interests year after year, or if you wonder how politicians can make completely bogus statements without fear of being called on them, you're not alone. Especially in this election year, when the stakes are so high for all of us, individually and collectively as a nation, the logical person would think that voters would make themselves smarter.

The logical person would think so. They would, however, be wrong.

  • On the morning drive-time radio show my wife likes to listen to, the female in the duo is a Republican and likes to make herself sound well informed - as you'd like to be if you were spouting off every morning on the radio. This morning however, after being informed that about 1 in 4 viewers of the Presidential debates change their minds afterwards, she said "do you think 1 in 4 people watch the debates?" She had absolutely no idea that her concept of the statistics involved were completely wrong.

  • Two of my co-workers were speaking, one of whom is a rare Democrat in the office. She was speaking with the other person about recent events in the news and he replied that he didn't watch the news. My Democratic friend, incredulous, asked if he intended to vote and he replied, "of course." But he was nonplussed when asked how he could vote if he knew nothing about the issues. When pressed, he admitted that he was going to vote Republican because, "I've always voted that way and my family votes Republican."
This is, admittedly, a small sample. But it is representative of the intellectual laziness of many people. This is what we are up against. How do you get people interested in the process and the issues when they are too lazy to educate themselves in the basics?

I know I'm preaching to the choir, here. But rather than pound my head on my desk - as I've been doing way too often lately - I thought I'd rant a little.

Do you have similar stories? Leave them in the comments.

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