This may be a controversial post and I’m sure many will disagree with me. But that hasn’t really stopped me before…
I’d like to start out with a quote from Winston Churchill:
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
That sounds completely un-American, doesn’t it? We strongly hold to the ideal of democracy in America. Our nation was founded on that principle. Quite frankly, it truly is the most optimal system. I’d be hard pressed to disagree with it.
But think about the majority of Americans. Think about the things that sway them, the factors that come into play. People look at a candidate’s religion, their family life, their looks, their background, whether or not they have a dog, how big their house is, how much money have, how they made their money, etc. Have you noticed that I haven’t mentioned how they stand on the issues?
Think about the reasons people vote (or don’t vote) for a particular candidate. “I like the way he (or she) looks.” “He seems to have a good family life so I could vote for him.” “I don’t like him because he’s a Mormon.” “I won’t vote for somebody named ‘Obama,’ that sounds Muslim to me.” “I don’t like him because he’s been married three times.” “He cheated on his wife, so I can’t vote for him.” “Well he certainly looks presidential.” “We’re not ready for a female president.” “I think America needs a black president.”
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to deny that this mindless drivel has entered into the political process! There are voters in America that vote based on trivial information rather than where a candidate stands on the issues. Furthermore, some will vote for a candidate of a particular party without questioning the candidate’s stances.
I wonder how many times a voter does not make up their mind who they will vote for until they arrive at their particular polling place.
So many Ron Paul voters, Mike Huckabee voters, and Sam Brownback voters act like I’m crazy because I tell them that their candidate won’t win. They act as if I oppose the issues that their candidate stands for. Oddly enough, I don’t necessarily disagree with thim on the issues! I just know that based on various dynamics and circumstances that we are in, their candidate is unelectable.
It’s not that I necessarily think that the Presidential election is a complete popularity contest. I do believe that some voters have truly researched their candidates and are voting according to their conscience.
But while truly educated voters do exist, there are several more that aren’t. It’s almost as if the candidates have to “trick” the American public into voting for them because honest and logical persuasion is merely an afterthought.
In conclusion, this post is not necessarily an argument against democracy, but rather an argument for an American public that will truly research its candidates based on ideology and principle rather than personality and popularity. I want Americans to see through the smokescreen of trivial circumstances and examine the candidates based on their stances. Until that is achieved, Churchill is making one heck of an argument against democracy.