As vile as this election cycle has been, it has also been a blessing. Through hundreds of Facebook and e-mail conversations in the last year I’ve learned so much about what makes us all tick, and I want to thank all those friends (and those who aren’t anymore J) for the education they’ve provided me. It has been an adventure.
November, always the toughest month, adds to its repertoire of general gloom and threatening winter by entertaining elections. This November will either make us or break us in ways no election has ever done before, however, I don’t see us dealing with the issues at hand very intelligently. For one thing pundits and politicians alike are analyzing the American voter in misleading and unrealistic terms. They have us all divided up into ridiculous groups of voters as if no individuals existed, as if America is no longer a country of real, unique people, as if our gender and our skin color somehow control the way we see this nation.
One true thing about human nature is that we work to make order out of chaos (evidence that we were created in God’s image) by categorizing ideas, things, people. “There are 2 kinds people: those who divide people into 2 groups and those who don’t.” OK, often I’m one of the ones who do, but I contend that very few folks avoid it altogether. And I contend that dividing people into groups has nothing to do with race, gender, ethnicity, or income. It has to do with temperament and worldview. The process tends to produce more of a venn diagram than it does an outline – too many overlaps, but this is how I’d arrange the voting blocks for this election:
v Me-voters – the hand-out people, the free birth-control gals, the gay marriage voters, the abortion folk, the pay-for-my-college people. Some are just too young to know better, to understand that a government that will do those things for you will not stay solvent for long, and will use people’s dependence as an excuse to take their liberty. Me-voters are willing to part with freedom and to take freedom from others in order to fulfill whatever personal whims they harbor. Their ability to pursue a master’s degree in Tunisian carpet weaving and a life of promiscuous sex without having to earn the money to pay for either is more important than the safety of the nation, or the prosperity of anyone else.
v Government as God voters – with or without realizing it these folks have transferred the natural human reliance on God to government. If there’s a problem, you don’t drop to your knees and pray, you call the nearest official and demand help. Remember how mad folks were that Bush didn’t rush to New Orleans after Katrina? What did they think his presence there would accomplish? Was he supposed to wave a magic wand and sparkle their homes back into existence? Obama’s presence at the Jersey shore hasn’t helped anything. This bunch votes on the assumption that government is good, and government is capable. They’ll vote for anything that will increase the reach of government and will refuse to pay attention to anything that proves government’s capacity for evil. Many react to any anti-government accusations like a true believer would to blasphemy.
v Osmosis voters – I suppose all of us are osmosis voters to one extent or another, but many vote simply by default – their parents voted Democrat so they do too, even if they don’t believe in gay marriage or massive welfare benefits. Many adopt the local political stance like it’s in the air they breathe and they have no common sense filter. It’s knee-jerk voting, easy because it requires no contentious discussions with anyone and needs no actual information. It’s warm and fuzzy, allows a person to make snide remarks aimed at folks of the opposite opinion, and only requires one to spout occasional prepared slogans.
v Hyper-moral voters -- these people ride a high horse. They are aware that something is morally rotten in “Denmark,” and though they differ as to what moral breaches need fixing, they all assume that casting a vote will rectify the situation. In reality, electing Romney won’t stop the abortion mill – not directly and not for many years, nor will re-electing Obama rid the world of unfairness, but the HMV’s make the assumption that a vote cast for a candidate will set right their pet moral horrors. These folks are the folks who will vote third party, or not vote at all, if they can’t find a candidate whose ethics precisely matches their own.
v Keep-the-peace voters are upset about being upset. Can’t say I blame them; this election has been the nastiest election I’ve ever witnessed. This group often takes up the turn-the-other-cheek chant, or the just-meditate-and-go-to-yoga mantra. Arguing seems to be the thing that they’re most against, believing that candidates, and their surrogates, should not only eschew attacking each other personally, they also avoid criticizing each other’s policies. Being nice appears to take precedence over being right; controversy verboten. Maybe there’s some value in that, but I recall Jesus himself tearing up the tables of the moneychangers. He wasn’t very sweet about it.
v Know-voters – This group has, or takes, the time to be informed in as much detail as is available, however, since disinformation sucks up a lot of the bandwidth these days, these folks have to keep their wits about them. Some of these voters measure the worth of information according to well-established principles, i.e. the Constitution, the Ten Commandments, history, natural law, economic or scientific law, logic, in other words – can it be true? Others measure information by which famous person said it or whether or not it makes them feel good.
v A subset of the know-voters is the Area 51 gang. These guys know a lot of very spooky things – which, considering the sinister sable-rattling of the one-world contingent (George Soros & Co.) – may not be too far off base. However, they also know quite a bit of nonsense – like poison vapor trails and alien abductions – so much so as to tangle them into a political stand still. They’re sure both parties are in on it – whatever it is – and so they paralyze themselves.
v No-voters –These guys are motivated mostly by one of my favorite defense mechanisms – cynicism. They see the bad sides of both parties, like the tin-hat folk, and assume that no good is to be had anywhere. These people either refuse to vote or retreat to the incumbent as the lesser of two evils. They just generally vote against voting.
v Don’t know voters -- I suspect these guys make up a large portion of the electorate and are closely connected to the Osmosis folk. Luckily they often stay home. We can’t blame them entirely – the mainstream media make it their business to keep folks uninformed, but I believe in the ask-and-you-will-receive principle. The information is out there; if you want to know, you can. And if you don’t care enough to want to know, don’t vote.
I realize that a candidate couldn’t effectively run a campaign openly pursuing any of these categories, but they are more homogeneous groups than blacks, or women or even Democrats and Republicans. We are not herds of cattle -- longhorns, guernseys, angus. We are human beings with human natures. That’s not anything to brag about – human flaws permeate the election process, but we can’t understand the process if we pretend that we are motivated by our genetics.