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Like it or not, the democratic voter is a clueless fool.'Western countries' are lucky...

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 5, 2010 at 2:29 PM via web

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Like it or not, the democratic voter is a clueless fool.

'Western countries' are lucky enough to live in democracies. But it is never questioned whether a democracy is a flawed process. Is the average voter an uninformed liability? ...

As far as I can see, the average voter does not have an informed, educated awareness of the political process. They do not understand the detailed role of President, nor Senator, nor Govenor nor any other manegerial role in the political hierachry. They are burdened with the responsibility of selecting the right person for a position about which they they have absolutely no understanding, and they select from a shortlist of people about whom they realistically know nothing.

It's a joke. They'll vote for filmstars or wrestlers or TV personalities.

My premise is this... Politically speaking, the average electorate is a moron and western democracy reflects that.

Am I wrong?  

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM (Answer #2)

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I love this question!!!

To paraphrase Winston Churchill;

Yes, democracy is an absolute joke; the electorate is a bumpkin with no awareness of who or why they are voting...

...but have you got a better system?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 5, 2010 at 2:50 PM (Answer #3)

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There's a pile of evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, to back up your assertion.  Every time I watch cable news or read an internet message board I lose a little faith in the American people.

That being said, western democracies have a history of progress and some very significant victories for human rights.  It's faaaar from perfect, I understand.  But it's not fatally flawed.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 5, 2010 at 3:13 PM (Answer #4)

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I agree.  Politics and business bores most people, and they tend not to involve themselves or wade into unfamiliar territory.  I can't get my students to read stories about action and trick endings which will absolutely entertain if they'd read past the first few sentences...what makes you think they are going to wade through all the mud-slinging and propaganda to find out the truth about agendas, political backing, and whether or not the candidate stands for what you agree with?  No, they end up voting for the ones they think are going to pay their bills and take care of them with free money or the "pretty" candidates with their plastic faces and fake pearly white smiles. 

I still can't believe that people flocked to the polls in the last major election and voted in a Democratic majority in the Executive branch and the Legislative branch (both the House and the Senate).  Did ANYONE see a problem with no balance of power between the two major parties and not enough Independents to even the playing field for idiot ideas? 

We need to vote in some people with some business background so we won't be "owned" by China...does anyone out there ever wonder why the United States isn't mentioned in the book of Revelation or in any other apocolyptic literature?  It's because we are bankrupting ourselves and we will become part of another ruling nation--China, Japan, or any of the other countries who have loaned us trillions of dollars to bankrupt our own capitalistic society.  That's what the average voter has brought us...

So, how is that hope-y change-y thing working for you?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 5, 2010 at 3:42 PM (Answer #5)

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I think the fact that George W. Bush was elected twice as President of the U. S. goes a long way in proving your statement that many voters are uninformed and moronic.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted April 5, 2010 at 4:05 PM (Answer #6)

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With the abundance of "news" sources out there it is becoming harder and harder for the average person to become informed. If you listen to or read information from one source, you generally don't have to wait too long to find something that contradicts what you just thought you learned.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 5, 2010 at 4:22 PM (Answer #7)

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The populations of democracies are very much like the Roman crowd turned mob in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:  fickle and stupid; easily swayed.  When newspapers have to be written at 6th and 7th grade reading levels, how intelligent can the voters be? 

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 5, 2010 at 4:34 PM (Answer #8)

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I agree with dstuva, but the grade level at which print journalism is written, the last time I heard the reading level referenced, was at a 5th grade level. The reference to Julius Caesar is too true. The members of the assassination squad allowed themselves to be influenced by the words of a few. This is exactly what a large number of the voting public as well as our politicians do--whoever promises the sweetest deal gets the vote. Lrwilliams also has a great point with the “news” sources. So many sources have political agendas it’s hard to know whom to believe.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 5, 2010 at 6:31 PM (Answer #9)

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I think you are wrong to say that no one questions whether democracy is a flawed process.  But I would say first of all that you and most of the people posting here are excessively cynical, in my opinion.

No one could possibly be knowledgable enough about all the issues that face us to vote in a 100% informed manner.  It's ridiculous to think that they could.  Even the legislators can't -- it's a complicated world out there.

I think that voters base their decisions on a few issues that matter to them and on the degree to which they trust the candidates.  I do not see what is wrong with that.

I think that this is a sort of elitist "I'm smarter than you so you don't deserve to vote" sort of attitude and I think that attitudes like that hurt democracy as well.

It's attitudes like that that give the Tea Parties and the Sarah Palins of the world traction -- when the elites look down their noses at the riff raff, it tends to annoy the riff raff.

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 5, 2010 at 9:29 PM (Answer #10)

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So, how is that hope-y change-y thing working for you? AmyL

That's the sort of thing I'm on about; meaningless, partisan, emotive, bumper-sticker politics. Playground posturing and tongue-poking. Fiddling while Rome burns.

I think I lost my belief in peoples' ability to make reasonable choices when Bush was elected for a second time. I think it probably broke my heart forever.

The lunatics (on all sides) have taken over the asylum.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 6, 2010 at 3:50 AM (Answer #11)

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Elfgirl, my husband and the entire Marine Corps felt the same way when Bill Clinton was elected twice.  They refused to salute the President and began saluting instead, "the Office of the President."  Could have been the way the Clintons treated everyone with disdain and cruelty, or it could have been that national embarassment of sex in the oval office, or it may have been how they tried to pack up the majority of the gifts given to the US by other heads of state which always remain in the White House...whatever the case, the public elects the prettiest people with the most election funds to get their names up in bright lights for recognition's sake. Or, whoever Oprah supports.  UGH.

I'm with you in saying we should maybe think a little before pushing the buttons or disentangling the chads. 

 

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 6, 2010 at 9:37 AM (Answer #12)

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Wow! This is a great topic. It puzzles me that people keep complaining about the idiots in Congress, but keep sending the same ones back to Washington every election cycle. I'll be 50 tomorrow, and some of those old coots have been in office as long as I can remember. Why is Robert Byrd still a senator? How can they jump parties and still get reelected?

Our voting process has a lot of flaws, but I wouldn't want to choose our leaders any other way. That is, until I become Queen of the Universe and get to pick them all myself! :)

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chicagogirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 6, 2010 at 3:06 PM (Answer #13)

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I'm smart. Really... proper smart.

But have I got an experienced understanding of the role of president of america?

No.

Do I know what separates a truly great President from a floundering 'photo-op' President?

No.

I don't comprehend the skill-set required to govern the US.

But I am allowed to select from a very short short-list.

It is like asking me to elect my own surgeon for my own heart-bypass. While I am smart and resonably informed, I don't have any genuine experience of heart by-pass operations.

My selection process is doomed. I am not an political expert. But I am asked to do select a political expert.

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 6, 2010 at 3:37 PM (Answer #14)

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Elfgirl, my husband and the entire Marine Corps felt the same way when Bill Clinton was elected twice. They refused to salute the President and began saluting instead, "the Office of the President." A.L.

Yeah, but being really really good with guns is not actually a prerequisite for astute political insight. Quite the opposite in fact. Why is it that in America, being a Gun-Totin' Grunt somehow elevates your intellectual capacity to that of an infallible expert. Why are we so scared of contradicting US soldiers?

The Marine Corps are a bunch of highly trained thugs. They kill who they are told to kill, without question or hesitation.

Of course the Marine Corps didn't like Clinton. Clinton sometimes used words that had four syllables and he believed violence was not a productive, long-term option.

Being in The Marine Corps is not 'magic' and does not give you special powers. To be honest, it could be said to imply lower abilities intellectually.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 10, 2010 at 4:23 AM (Answer #15)

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Being in The Marine Corps is not 'magic' and does not give you special powers. To be honest, it could be said to imply lower abilities intellectually. Elfgirl

Interesting.  Actually, my husband had a higher intelligence clearance and was much higher than "grunt" although he worked his way up through the ranks...he has a 157 IQ...and he's a Christian.  Based on your comments, I think that's what you really have against George W. Bush.  You don't like the conservatives who are monogamous, heterogeneous (both are multi-syllabic words that Clinton doesn't know or approve of, in public at least), Pro-Life, and Proactive for American safety.  Isn't that what this really boils down to, Elfgirl?  Isn't this why you keep pulling my quotes?  How very interesting.  Besides all that, anyone with any sense at all knows you can be an educated fool.  There are many who have paid money for tuitions or for college campus buildings to be named after them in return for educations and degrees that hang on their walls which are worth less than the quality paper on which they are printed.  That does not automatically and magically give you the intelligence to run a country or the right to appoint non-elected non-public approved counselor-czars to advise you in running the country. 

Again, I surmise we need people with a business background to get our country back on track, and we can worry about the diplomacy later.  A Jeffersonian, back-to-basics approach would help us get our economy back online...and in my humble opinion, we should vote out all the liberals who haven't already announced they aren't seeking re-election.

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heiko | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 10, 2010 at 8:35 AM (Answer #16)

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So, how is that hope-y change-y thing working for you? AmyL

That's the sort of thing I'm on about; meaningless, partisan, emotive, bumper-sticker politics. Playground posturing and tongue-poking. Fiddling while Rome burns.

I think I lost my belief in peoples' ability to make reasonable choices when Bush was elected for a second time. I think it probably broke my heart forever.

The lunatics (on all sides) have taken over the asylum.

Thank you, elfgirl, for responding to what amounts to Right wing Conservative bumper sticker mentality. The evidence is pretty clear, the majority of the electorate does not know or care about our political process or the issues that concern them. The unfortunate thing is that they will vote the candidate with the most money(advertising dollars). I could go on, regarding my distaste for the Republican Party, but I won't.

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 11, 2010 at 2:21 PM (Answer #17)

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My husband and the entire Marine Corps felt the same way when Bill Clinton was elected twice. My husband has a 157 IQ...and he's a Christian. Amy-Lepore

Oh... OK  :-) What a coincidence. My husband has an IQ of 201. He's a Christian too. No really, he is. He works for Legal Aid helping suspected Mexcun drug smugglers skip bail.

(and BTW your very clever husband's opinion maybe, just maybe, doesn't represent, (quote), "the entire United States Marine Corps")

"anyone with any sense at all knows you can be an educated fool." Amy-Lepore

Umm... whh...errr...ahhh... You're a teacher... aren't you? aren't you?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 11, 2010 at 6:14 PM (Answer #18)

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So difficult to soar with eagles when surrounded by turkeys (no offense, of course, to the actual bird). 

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 12, 2010 at 12:33 PM (Answer #19)

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Elfgirl,

It doesn't seem like you really wanted a variety of opinions in answer to your question.  You complain that democratic voters are guilty of "meaningless, partisan, emotive, bumper-sticker politics, playground posturing,and tongue-poking" but then you engage in that same behavior by hastily generalizing all Marines as "a bunch of highly trained thugs . . . who kill who they are told to kill, without question or hesitation."

I don't think that all Marines or members of the military are noble or heroic, but throughout our history, many of them have defended our freedom to be able to criticize them or anyone else we want to and to vote in a democratic fashion. It's fair and logical to analyze all aspects of our society, including the military, but it is illogical to stereotype or name call--behavior which you criticized and then practiced yourself.

Perhaps the problem with democratic voters is not so much one of ignorance but more one of hypocrisy. We (I include myself here) often complain when things don't go our way politically; we point out inconsistencies in the other side, and we vow to "right a wrong" for the next election. While this can be problematic because each side truly believes that it is right, I would much rather encounter the inherent negatives of democracy than the powerlessness of a totalitarian regime or other forms of rule. As other posters have noted, we don't have a better solution to democracy, but I also don't intend to quit voting or to cease trying to discover the truth.

 

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leabc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 14, 2010 at 7:08 PM (Answer #20)

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This isn't a problem of voters being stupid.  We are treated that way by the politicians and the media though.

We don't have time to be involved in politics, or choose not to make the time.  We prefer to get our information through headlines, a few minutes of news, short video clips.  Because we aren't willing to put in the time, we are ignorant of the real issues.

Most of the issues don't apply to us personally and can be ignored.  When there is something major, we tend to blame the president rather than Congress.  My congressman is looking out for my best interest, just ask him/her.  Sometimes they have to make deals, but in the end they bring home the $$ for my state and so we re-elect them.

Having only two major parties makes it difficult to choose a representative that actually represents my beliefs.  Most people understand the third party candidate has almost no chance of winning; no one wants to throw their vote away, even if they don't believe that vote really counts.

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 15, 2010 at 2:34 AM (Answer #21)

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Re: Stupid American Voters.

@20... A lot of what you say is true, but... a significant percentage of voters are stupid.

E.g.  Sarah Palin is a politician who CLEARLY lacks the ability to form a coherent intelligent thought and convert that thought into a coherent intelligent sentence; a politician whose political knowledge/experience is CLEARLY ZERO. A politician who is CLEARLY dangerously unsuitable for high office.

And this is not a matter for opinion or debate, if you have a brain and two ears, when you listen to Sarah Palin attempt to discuss politics, it is CLEAR she is faking it and faking it badly. But she still manages to convince a large section of the electorate that she would make a great president. Those people are the low-IQ voters... and there are LOTS of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrzXLYA_e6E&feature=related

"Hockey Mom!" *Wave* *Big Smile* "Job Creation!" *Sexy twinkle* "I love America" *do cutesy loving face*

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:13 AM (Answer #22)

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I agree with you, Leabc!  I, for one, am tired of being referred to as "the flyover states" (that the politicians 'fly over' on their way to Washington to do the important work) which many politicians think of as populated by people who don't read, don't matter, and are generally stupid.  Politicians are generally corrupted by the power, the deals of the lobbyists, and the money that comes in to support them (providing they support the money).  Ever wonder why some politicians go to Washington without two nickels to rub together and then come home as multi-millionaires?  Hummm...maybe we are naive about how things work in Washington, but we are not stupid. 

Wouldn't it be nice to have a strong third party who actually has the best in mind for the people and not on how they can become the wealthiest? A "do the right thing all the time" group--in personal and public lives.

I still say that we should put in power people with business backgrounds who will be participating in the healthcare and retirement systems they approve for the rest of us.  Then you know it would be fixed --not just pacified with a half-hearted bandaide. 

 

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2010 at 5:37 AM (Answer #23)

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A third party would be super.  And to cease conflating things like IQ scores with intelligence would also be super.  Anyone here read up on the history of the IQ test?  Anyone aware of the fact that its inventor said it couldn't be used to measure intelligence, that its only function was to identify disabilities?  That intelligence cannot actually be measured and is too dynamic and individual to be measured particularly with a test?

Of course lots of people have decided that it does measure intelligence, strangely enough many of them were big believers in the eugenics movement.  Super.

Moving on.  So if we can stop pretending that somehow it is a difference between intelligent and moronic and instead focus on perhaps some positive ideas like a third party or figuring out ways to provide opportunities for students to get involved maybe we can get somewhere instead of, as many of you have astutely pointed out, the ridiculous bumper-sticker argumentation.

Perhaps we should question why we train students for twelve years in an autocratic authoritarian environment (public schools) and then expect them to understand or be interested in participating in a democracy.  I wonder why they might graduate from high school and feel like voting or being informed doesn't matter?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2010 at 6:03 AM (Answer #24)

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It is an unfortunate situation but nevertheless we have turned politics into popularity contests, and people get extremely agitated with candidates to fail to see any positive.

I am guilty of that as well. I simply did not agree with the current President's plan and every time I see him talk on TV I say something negative. However, if I were less idiotic about it, I might see some positive come out of it. I'll work on it.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:50 PM (Answer #25)

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@23

The commonly used phrase 'IQ' is not synonymous with the principles of the IQ test. We use IQ to be synonymous with 'intelligence' not with 'a formal IQ test'.

You seem to have managed to make a logic path from

''the phrase 'Low-IQ' '' = ''the specific principles of the IQ test'' = ''this poster is possible a supporter of Nazi Eugenics''

Hmmm. Nice shootin' Tex.

I've read your recent comments; they seem to surmount to

'Education = Brainwashing'

'no authority on any subject is allowed' 

'Intelligence is purely subjective'

OK

Tell me then, Kapokkid, is it raining where you are right now? 

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:31 PM (Answer #26)

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Education actually does consist of quite a good deal of brainwashing, though most of it is done with the best of intentions.

Authority on a subject is most definitely allowed, but individual people ought to be able to judge for themselves who is an authority and who is not.  And to treat anyone who declares themselves an authority with skepticism until they prove otherwise.  Nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism is there?

Intelligence is mostly subjective.  Some people consider a talented athlete's ability to control their body in a way most people can't is a form of intelligence.  Some people think that same person is an imbecile because they scored below the norm on the SAT.  Surely to some extent everyone's definition of who is intelligent and who isn't is different?

I don't recall making any specific comments about any poster. Particularly since I don't know any of them personally, I would be very hesitant to do so.

How do you measure intelligence?  If someone walks in with perfect SAT scores and a glowing transcript, does that mean that without any doubt they will be brilliant?

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2010 at 4:56 PM (Answer #27)

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skepticism is essential regarding any opinion. I absolutely completely agree.

Re: athletic ability, you are refering to multiple intelligences. Yes, you need your brain to play sport and therefore people who are brilliant at sport are 'very intelligent'.

BUT... the areas of the brain which they use to be brillaint at sport are not the same areas that are dedicated towards rational and logical intelligence. You use your brain to kick a football or dance the samba. But you use a different part of your brain to comprehend string theory.

by the way... is it raining?

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clamo88 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 18, 2010 at 8:43 AM (Answer #28)

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The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.  There is always confusion over a democratic process, which a Republic certainly is, versus the style of government called a Democracy.  See this brief article for clarification of terms. So this entire discussion is talking about a Republic, not a Democracy.

I find it interesting that people often point to the election of actors, athletes, musicians, and/or other "non-government" types to public office as a sign that voters are clueless. People in any profession are just as capable of thinking, listening, and responding to the conditions under which they and others live.

Elected officials come into office with a platform of ideas, issues, and opinions, but also must listen to the people they represent.  Otherwise, they'll be voted out in the next election.  Elected office becomes a balance of pursuing issues the voters want, your own ideals, and negotiation with other elected officials to move ideas into laws.

Almost any person in any profession is a viable candidate for elected office and has the right to run a campaign.  It just depends on whether they fit the official criteria for that public office and whether or not voters belief enough in them to get them on the ballot.  Someone's profession as an athlete, musician, actor, or "other" has no bearing on their intelligence, ability to lead (every group has its leader), or their desire to hold public office to serve their country.

The statements in this discussion that most people are bored by politics are contradicted by what I have perceived in my personal and work life, which crosses several socio-economic levels.  Many people avoid talking about politics in the work place, and many organizations encourage that, because it is a "loaded topic" that gets too many people into arguments.  But if you listen to the talk on the street, in public forums like the Internet, and among families, you'll find that politics comes up very often.

People have very definite opinions about a lot of political issues; they may just choose not to always share them, or to not share them with people whom they view as having opposing opinions.

While there are many people who do not vote -- feeling as if their vote is wasted -- that is more reflective of the lack of choice offered by a dominant 2-party system.  If the many political parties we actually have in the US were given equal ground to get elected, our choices would be greatly expanded.

I found the recent episodes of Celebrity Apprentice quite revealing about the poor management and leadership skills of former Illinois Governor, Rob Blagojevich.  He did not delegate, he abdicated his management responsibilities on that show.  He did not know how to truly contribute to team efforts.  He held his team back week after week due to his poor skills.  He seemed unable to answer a direct question; always wavering back and forth.  He has no technology skills that would make him employable in the private sector, etc.  If that is the skill set "politicians" bring to the table, give me more people from the real world instead!

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clamo88 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 18, 2010 at 8:59 AM (Answer #29)

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The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.  There is always confusion over a democratic process, which a Republic certainly is, versus the style of government called a Democracy.  See this brief article for clarification of terms. So this entire discussion is talking about a Republic, not a Democracy.

I find it interesting that people often point to the election of actors, athletes, musicians, and/or other "non-government" types to public office as a sign that voters are clueless. People in any profession are just as capable of thinking, listening, and responding to the conditions under which they and others live.

Elected officials come into office with a platform of ideas, issues, and opinions, but also must listen to the people they represent.  Otherwise, they'll be voted out in the next election.  Elected office becomes a balance of pursuing issues the voters want, your own ideals, and negotiation with other elected officials to move ideas into laws.

Almost any person in any profession is a viable candidate for elected office and has the right to run a campaign.  It just depends on whether they fit the official criteria for that public office and whether or not voters belief enough in them to get them on the ballot.  Someone's profession as an athlete, musician, actor, or "other" has no bearing on their intelligence, ability to lead (every group has its leader), or their desire to hold public office to serve their country.

The statements in this discussion that most people are bored by politics are contradicted by what I have perceived in my personal and work life, which crosses several socio-economic levels.  Many people avoid talking about politics in the work place, and many organizations encourage that, because it is a "loaded topic" that gets too many people into arguments.  But if you listen to the talk on the street, in public forums like the Internet, and among families, you'll find that politics comes up very often.

People have very definite opinions about a lot of political issues; they may just choose not to always share them, or to not share them with people whom they view as having opposing opinions.

While there are many people who do not vote -- feeling as if their vote is wasted -- that is more reflective of the lack of choice offered by a dominant 2-party system.  If the many political parties we actually have in the US were given equal ground to get elected, our choices would be greatly expanded.

I found the recent episodes of Celebrity Apprentice quite revealing about the poor management and leadership skills of former Illinois Governor, Rob Blagojevich.  He did not delegate, he abdicated his management responsibilities on that show.  He did not know how to truly contribute to team efforts.  He held his team back week after week due to his poor skills.  He seemed unable to answer a direct question; always wavering back and forth.  He has no technology skills that would make him employable in the private sector, etc.  If that is the skill set "politicians" bring to the table, give me more people from the real world instead!

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 19, 2010 at 6:44 AM (Answer #30)

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Like it or not, the democratic voter is a clueless fool.

'Western countries' are lucky enough to live in democracies. But it is never questioned whether a democracy is a flawed process. Is the average voter an uninformed liability? ...

As far as I can see, the average voter does not have an informed, educated awareness of the political process. They do not understand the detailed role of President, nor Senator, nor Govenor nor any other manegerial role in the political hierachry. They are burdened with the responsibility of selecting the right person for a position about which they they have absolutely no understanding, and they select from a shortlist of people about whom they realistically know nothing.

It's a joke. They'll vote for filmstars or wrestlers or TV personalities.

My premise is this... Politically speaking, the average electorate is a moron and western democracy reflects that.

Am I wrong?  

Actually you have picked out a highly topical and contentious issue for the UK at the moment. In our current four yearly election the selection has always been minimal. Suddenly we try something new--a US style TV Leaders Debate. The young underdog nobody ever heard of was judged the winner in Poll. Now suddenly its not a two horse race anymore: media cronies are terrified because he believes in a proprtional representation democracy.

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lfawley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 19, 2010 at 8:19 AM (Answer #31)

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I have to state that at first, when I read the topic, I took it to mean that you were attacking Democrats. However, once I opened the thread, I agree wholeheartedly and I share the sentiments of those who have stated the sad facts to the American voting public. We are a society that, largely, believes what we see, hear, or read as absolute truth. If the news tells us something, then it must be a fact. We lack critical thinking skills, we align ourselves with group-think because we feel that there is safety in numbers. As Thoreau noted in his Resistance to Civil Government, we go to the polls and cast our vote perhaps as we think is right, but we are not vitally concerned with the outcome. We are willing to let the majority prevail, even if the majority is flawed in their thinking.

Add to this the fact that so few Americans have even read the constitution and we have a country that doers not even know what its rights are. The only rights people seem to care about are the right to worship in the church of their choice and the right to carry a gun. To me, this is sad. We start a job and we read the employee handbook, so shouldn't we at least read the employee handbook for our country?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 19, 2010 at 5:00 PM (Answer #32)

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[Democracy]'s a joke. They'll vote for filmstars or wrestlers or TV personalities.

My premise is this... Politically speaking, the average electorate is a moron and western democracy reflects that.

We've always voted for entertainers.  It's all about the stump and carrying big sticks and not letting them see you on crutches.  It's like the early theater: only male actors need audition.  We vote for whoever looks stronger (Teddy Roosevelt), looks better on TV (Kennedy), looks like a guy we'd like have a beer with (Bush).

Yes, everyone's a moron.  But the average American moron doesn't take the streets in mob rule, burning effigies, screaming epithets, and storming the Capital when his party candidate loses.  Yes, they're moronic, but they've got good manners.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:22 PM (Answer #33)

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I think this really depends on who the individual is. I think that there are many very intelligent and well informed Americans out there who are far from clueless. By the same token, I think there are also a lot idiots out there as well.

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:59 PM (Answer #34)

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Somone once said, "Never underestimate the stupidity of the American people."  Was it H.L. Mencken?  Whoever it was, he sure had a point.

The good news is that the Constitution mandates a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy.  This way, instead of 300 million fools voting on every issue, we have 535 fools voting for them. 

Well, it's a flawed system.  If it really bothers you, move to North Korea. 

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:01 AM (Answer #35)

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Well, it's a flawed system.  If it really bothers you, move to North Korea. jmj616

I don't understand what you are implying with this statement. You could just as easily have said,"Well, it's a flawed system.  If it really bothers you, move to Sweden or Germany." (whose democracies are far more intelligent and developed than ours) Why do you dismissively tell me to move to NK for suggesting American democracy is in dire need of improvement? 

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:12 AM (Answer #36)

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Moving to North Korea does seem a little strong, how about just Sweden or maybe a nice place on the Baltic like Slovenia.  Everyplace obviously has its problems, but the idea of simply expelling people who want to see change is a little strong.

I think something that I've likely said before but that perhaps bears repeating is that it isn't necessarily that all the voters are really stupid but that they've been trained to accept the status quo, to accept that government doesn't work and that their voice has no real impact.  They are trained to feel that way in schools (pretty far from democracies and closer to autocracies) and then it is reinforced by the way that every-day life works to force most people to think first of doing anything they can to make more money and support their families better, and then you are going to expect them to be politically active?  When you have cable TV and the suburbs that effectively space people out so they can't have meaningful gatherings?

I just don't think that the majority of Americans are "stupid," I tend to think they are actually pretty smart.  I don't think sitting in judgment of them really helps much either.

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:50 AM (Answer #37)

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maybe smart people can still be very ignorant?

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vdavenport | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 11, 2010 at 9:21 AM (Answer #38)

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I notice that many on here talk about the new media and the amount of ideas that are now available to the electorate, good and bad. 

Did anyone notice over the weekend that our current President stated that information now is  distraction to the American people?  He did and that shows, to me, that there is contenpt on the part of the "governing class" toward those that vote them into office.

If you look at the revising of standardized tests, like the ACT and SAT, the falling academic standards in our schools and the growth of "reality shows" that have nothing in common with reality, clearly the electorate in our country is falling down on the job.  Our nation no longer has the great debates over issues by actually talking about the issues.  Today we attack each other and call that debate. 

We have a great deal of powerful problems facing our nation today and the govering class and the electorate need to both pull their heads out and put them back on their collective neck and get back to focusing on the issues, not the name calling.

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 18, 2010 at 4:06 AM (Answer #39)

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I agree completley, most voters are uninformed, hence this obamidable situation we're in now, however, the problem lies in the inability to educate these fools. You cannot teach he who does not want to learn, and ironically, the most dangerous thing to society is an uninformed voter.

It's not so much about who's smarter, rather who cares. Take the healthcare bill for example, I identify myself as a conservative, and I am against it. If you're for it, and have facts/reasons to support your position and we are able to have an intelligent conversation regarding the topic, GREAT. But if you honestly don't care, and your reasoning for being in favor of a candidate is "'cuz" then you should NOT be allowed to vote.

I say we campaign and remind the uninformed elctorate to vote on wednessday ;) =P

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 18, 2010 at 4:08 AM (Answer #40)

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And yes, I meant Obaminable, not abominable

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geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted May 18, 2010 at 6:20 PM (Answer #41)

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Big corporations control the democracies of the world.  They favor democracies because democrats are easier to manipulate than aristocrats or monarchs. 

Television exposure is required for winning a democratic election.  T V time is expensive.  Corporations usually donate to both Democratic and Republican candidates, because these two parties have demonstrated that they support big business.  Thus, the candidates who get enough money to buy TV time are all preapproved by big business.  Voters choose between the two preapproved candidates based on a few minutes of TV advertising that they see over and over.

Voters are not fools or stupid, but very few of them know government or politics or the candidates that they vote for.  That makes them ignorant, not fools.  (Having a government of the ignorant, by the ignorant, and for the big corporations,  may make our government stupid or foolish.)  But there is a reason they choose to be ignorant:  "My vote is only one of millions.  Those millions are as ignorant as me and none of them is going to inform himself, so if I do so, I will just be wasting my time.  My one informed vote (should I take the time to inform myself) will count as nothing against millions of uninformed votes.  So, instead, I will spend my time doing something that does count, maybe watching a football game since I get pleasure from that."

It is one's station in life that best educates one to vote intelligently.  One who runs his own business and especially land-lords, I think, understand how the actions of government impact the lives of people.  Most voters are not so situated and should not be voting.

The last good Democratic president that we had was Grover Cleveland and we have never had a good Republican president.

We lost one of our checks and balances when we made the Senate elected by the same people who elect the House of Representatives.

We lost one of our checks and balances when we made the Vice President of the U.S. the President of the Senate, instead of keeping the candidate who polled second for President of the U.S. as the President of the Senate.

Democrats were manipulated into making these changes (and others) by power hungry politicians and their corporate controllers. 

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vdavenport | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:45 AM (Answer #43)

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I would like to discuss with you your rationale about deciding the quality of presidents, with Grover Cleveland being a good president and none since his election.  I'm not necessarily going to disgree with you that we have had some terrible presidents and that money and corporations have had a HUGE influence on the electoral process and events in our nation for the majority of the 20th and into the 21st century, just would like to hear more about your thought process in coming to that conclusion.  thanks.

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geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted May 21, 2010 at 2:19 PM (Answer #44)

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I would like to discuss with you your rationale about deciding the quality of presidents, with Grover Cleveland being a good president and none since his election.  I'm not necessarily going to disgree with you that we have had some terrible presidents and that money and corporations have had a HUGE influence on the electoral process and events in our nation for the majority of the 20th and into the 21st century, just would like to hear more about your thought process in coming to that conclusion.  thanks.

No thought process; just a knee-jerk reaction or synthesis from all of the political and constitutional history that I have been exposed to through out my life.  It is a statement that is not meant to be so much definitive answer as food for thought.  It carries more meaning in what it suggests than in what it actually says.  It is one type of answer/statement that is made in this type of informal discussion.  Actually if I had to come right down to it, Was even Cleveland good?  He was philosophically conservative (good), but he was very active (bad).  I like presidents who manage instead of foment change.  Some change is inevitable, and a little bit of it is desireable, but it should evolve, not be decreed from above or forced from below, from anywhere.

 

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usbummer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 22, 2010 at 10:55 AM (Answer #45)

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One man's fool is another man's sage.

If allowing "fools" to vote keeps them from taking more extreme steps to voice their opinion (revolution, for example), then it is an absolute life-saver for democracy in this country. In the long run, the power swings between the conservative fools and the liberal fools.

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:31 AM (Answer #46)

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One man's fool is another man's sage.

If allowing "fools" to vote keeps them from taking more extreme steps to voice their opinion (revolution, for example), then it is an absolute life-saver for democracy in this country. In the long run, the power swings between the conservative fools and the liberal fools.

I concur

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geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted May 26, 2010 at 4:24 AM (Answer #47)

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One man's fool is another man's sage.

If allowing "fools" to vote keeps them from taking more extreme steps to voice their opinion (revolution, for example), then it is an absolute life-saver for democracy in this country. In the long run, the power swings between the conservative fools and the liberal fools.

Are you assuming that this country's style of democracy is worth saving?  And I don't agree that democratic voters are fools; it is democracy that makes them appear so.

 My vote is only one of millions.  Those millions are as ignorant as me and none of them is going to inform himself, so if I do so, I will just be wasting my time.  My one informed vote (should I take the time to inform myself) will count as nothing against millions of uninformed votes.  So, instead, I will spend my time doing something that does count, maybe watching a football game since I get pleasure from that.

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karenschaeffer | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:06 AM (Answer #48)

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I think the fact that George W. Bush was elected twice as President of the U. S. goes a long way in proving your statement that many voters are uninformed and moronic.

Not to mention their voting in Obama!

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:27 AM (Answer #49)

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I think the fact that George W. Bush was elected twice as President of the U. S. goes a long way in proving your statement that many voters are uninformed and moronic.

Not to mention their voting in Obama!

AMEN!

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:28 AM (Answer #50)

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Unfortunatly, since the 1840's we've declined as the power shifted to the two main parties...if more people spoke up, and could voice their opinions without the fear of criticism and/or backlash, I think more ideas would flow, and voters might not be so clueless.

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:30 AM (Answer #51)

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Sorry, I forgot to spell-check my last post there...

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted June 2, 2010 at 11:13 AM (Answer #52)

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Shakespeare nailed this subject 400 years ago. Here King Claudius (from Hamlet) complains about the stupidity of his subjects. Not a lot has changed it seems...

...the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgement, but their eyes.

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 8, 2010 at 4:37 AM (Answer #53)

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Shakespeare nailed this subject 400 years ago. Here King Claudius (from Hamlet) complains about the stupidity of his subjects. Not a lot has changed it seems...

...the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgement, but their eyes.

Sadly, it's true, nothing has changed.

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peanut11188 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted June 27, 2010 at 5:11 PM (Answer #54)

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I agree the average voter does not know the first thing about politics. They vote for who is popular rather then where they stand on the issues. Socrates pointed out the problems with allowing the stupid masses to vote. He predicted that such a democratic system would always end in dictatorship and he has been proven right every time in history so far (which is why the early Americans despised Democracy and founded America as a Republic).

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