Friday, October 15, 2004

"The Lazy-Idiot Demographic"

Catherine Seipp has an amazingly funny, yet astute, article in today's Wall Street Journal, The Other Campaign: Why should we want lazy idiots to vote?.

With every election season comes yet another flurry of what I've come to think of as Nurse the Vote stories. You know the type: suggestions that democracy is undermined when people who can't figure out whom to vote for, or even how to get to the polls, choose to stay home. The solution, the voter-outreach panderers propose, is hand-holding and nagging. But why should the lazy-idiot demographic be encouraged to influence society even more than it already does?

To me, this kind of thing is worse than pandering to the undecideds because at least these "undecideds" are known for voting and are mostly undecided because they haven't had a chance to process all the information yet...or...something like that.

"I am not disengaged, I'm worn out," a Michigan State University senior named Traci E. Carpenter wrote in a Newsweek essay explaining why she and her peers are "not necessarily available Nov. 2."
"Sometimes I feel that no matter how I vote, there will still be war, crime and poverty," Traci continued in what read like a dead-on parody of adolescent cluelessness and self-absorption, except she wasn't kidding. "And I have other things on my mind. I am worried about skin cancer, drunken drivers, eating disorders . . ."

I saw the dimmest minds of Traci Carpenter's generation, destroyed by watching too much MTV, nodding their heads and thinking: "Dude, like, I know! They tell us to vote, but when we do, it still doesn't stop war and skin cancer and eating disorders. That's so totally harsh!"

Totally. Where does this idea come from? Is someone telling kids that "Your vote can change the world" and then not explaining the nature of the change? Yes, walking to the voting booth doesn't automatically equal world peace, but the eventual choice can and will alter world affairs. [Incidentally, earlier in the month I participated (through comments) in an interesting discussion about democracy and the voting process.]

More from Catherine:
It seemed that nothing could beat this for sheer dopiness, but then along came a toy creator named Ken Hakuta and his Adopt-a-Vote campaign, which aims to give the underage set a voice in the 2004 election. His idea: Parents could promise to vote according to their children's wishes as long as the kids have done their homework.

Right, that's what we need in this campaign--more bribery and condescension. A better lesson for parents to teach their children might be that, while many things in life are hard, voting is not one of them. Compared with getting your DSL or cable TV fixed, in fact, it's easy.

I've occasionally seen Dr. Phil, so I know there are parents who let their children watch 10 hours a day of TV or take over all the rooms in the house (including the parents' room) with their toys. However, if November comes and Dr. Phil has to have an intervention with parents whose desire to buy the kids' love resulted in turning their voting decision over to the Barbie/GI Joe set, then we must begin to prepare ourselves for what will surely be the brattiest generation yet to hit the college campi of America. If we marvel today at Traci C's award winning essay, then we will suffer morbid shock when pre-teen voters suffer mid-twenties meltdowns under the sheer responsibility of learning the presidential candidates full names.

The grande dame of shameless youth-vote pandering is Madonna, who in 1992 wrapped herself in an American flag for a Rock the Vote ad even though (as it turned out) she herself had never bothered to register. Still, voting is important, Madonna told the Rock the Vote Web site last year, especially now that "anybody who has anything to say against the war or against the president or whatever is punished." Punished? How? And for speaking out against the war and the president or for just, you know, whatever?

Oh man. How does it happen that we hear about all these people being punished for "speaking out" and yet, we don't actually hear about it...if you know what I mean.
It's like the liberal commercial playing on radio stations here in Ohio. There's a man saying something like "The economy in Ohio is in trouble. I still have a job, but there are a lot of people looking for work."
That's the kind of thing that happens. People who have a job keep talking about how the economy is bad and "people" are looking for work. We don't know who these people are, or even if they are "legally" looking for work...or even if they are unemployed and looking for work. They could be employed or restricted from working in the US.
This is just another example of people saying something enough to make everyone believe that it is the case, even if it is not the case.

Speaking of which:
Rock the Vote has now sunk even lower, with its current campaign to get out the hoax-believers demographic. Never mind that a stagnant bill to reinstate the draft was just rejected, 402 to 2, in the House and that neither President Bush nor Sen. Kerry supports conscription. Rock the Vote ads still insist that the draft is "one of the many issues that could be decided this election." In a similar spirit, a University of Southern California student told the Los Angeles Times this week that she thinks Mr. Bush might reinstate the draft even though he has repeatedly said otherwise. "People lie," she said. They sure do.

The draft. Riiiight. You'd think they'd give that up, but you see, this means that they know that the people they are targeting are uninformed and gullible, because otherwise they would have to respect their intelligence enough to STOP LYING ABOUT THE DRAFT SINCE NO ONE IS SAYING THERE WILL BE A DRAFT.


We want people to vote, but we want people to be informed first, know, actual information, not Rock the Vote* propaganda.