Low information voters

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Peggy Drexler at HuffPo writes about one of my favorite topics: willfully ignorant people:

The term “low-information voter” has bubbled up often in this election. Everybody wants to reach them; nobody dares criticize them.

The usual reference is to the uninformed and easily led. But with a world of reinforcement of our beliefs just a click away, we are actually becoming a whole nation of low information voters.

She, and others, refer to them euphemistically as “low information voters.”  I, on the other hand, have no fear of being considered “elitist” or offending the willfully ignorant.  I have no plans on running for office any time soon.  I do, however, plan on living on this planet for at least another 40 or 50 years and it flat out pisses me off that people who can’t be bothered to look into the veracity of the latest email forward have as much say as I do when it comes to picking the people who will or won’t make this planet livable during that time period.

Is that elitist?  Maybe.  Are there legitimate reasons for a person to be less informed than what I would consider to be ideal?  Yes.  In fact, a good deal of the blame can be placed squarely on those very elected officials who depend on low information voters to stay in office.  They fail to put the safety nets in place that would provide even a little bit of help to folks who are struggling to make ends meet.  End result: putting food on the table, earning money for prescription medication, worrying about retirement and paying college tuitions takes a back seat to digging through all of the nuance and rhetoric to become a well-informed voter.

Let me borrow a quote from Tony Benn who explained this concept very well in Michael Moore’s Sicko:

People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don’t vote… If the poor in Britain or the United States turned out and voted for people who represent their interests, there would be a real democratic revolution.  So they don’t want that to happen… I think there are two ways in which people are controlled.  First of all, frighten people and secondly demoralize them.  An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern and I think there’s an element of thinking in some people that we don’t want people to be educated, healthy and confident because they would get out of control…

My ire is reserved for the folks who are not in debt, not frightened, not demoralized because, as Benn rightly points out, most of them are not voting anyway.

No.  I’m sipping from the rage-a-hol over the well-off, comfortable folks who do go out and vote but absolutely refuse to arm themselves with all of the information they can get.  Those are the ones who, in Jon Stewart’s words, are hurting America.

That’s not to say that everyone has to think the way I do or vote the way I do.  Wealthy folks who legitimately want their taxes to remain low or people who think cheap gasoline is the be all and end of all of policy should vote for the candidate who will advance their position.  It becomes my job, as an individual, to make sure that the candidates who will advance my beliefs have my full support.  It also becomes my job to try and convince those wealthy folks that paying higher taxes in the end will benefit them and the common good.

But just voting for or against someone because of absolute lies that have no basis in reality and, if they did, wouldn’t have very much to say about a person’s ability to govern, is just plain ignorant.

Stay tuned for more on this, my favorite meta-issue topic.

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One Response to “Low information voters”

  1. McCain’s visit brings out hecklers and supporters « Y-Decide 2008 Says:

    […] doesn’t qualify as one of the low-information voters whom I railed against last week.  She has at least taken the time to consider an issue – Iraq – when making up her mind rather […]

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