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shockvalue's avatar

On Morals and Voting?

Asked by shockvalue (5788 points ) October 9th, 2008

So I have a friend who isn’t really sure she is going to vote come November. As someone who thinks Voting should be a legal mandate (like Ancient Greece,) I am doing all I can to convince her to register…

The problem: She just told me she is still unsure who she will vote for, and that I should know if she registers, she might vote for McCain.

As a strong liberal I’m now conflicted on what is more important… Making sure everyone has a voice, or making sure we don’t get another four years of tyranny.

Help?

Talking point: Most of her uncertainty is stemmed from the debacle known as Israel.

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37 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I encourage people to vote no matter what. Not sure what the Israel issue is with her. Obama is a supporter of Israel and has said so.

augustlan's avatar

Encourage her to vote. It is very important, no matter who her vote goes to. However, if she has a flawed idea of things, give her the facts.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Perhaps what you should be encouraging her to do is become educated on the issues, especially those important to her, such as Israel.

Now, for my own angle, the strongest endorsement of Obama’s stance on Israel to me, was that the Jewish Council for Education and Research was willing to fund The Great Schlep. If they believe in him strongly enough to give him their endorsement, that’s all the proof I need he’s pro-Israel.

critter1982's avatar

Absolutely encourage her to vote. It is unlikely her particular vote will change the outcome of the election. Maybe if you convince her now in the future she will vote for a candidate you both agree on.

Judi's avatar

Can you explain her objection a little more? I love Israel and I am supporting Obama

girlofscience's avatar

The Democratic ticket supports Israel… Didn’t Palin and Biden have a moment of agreement about “loving” Israel during their debate?

Please encourage your friend to vote, but please also inform her of the policies of the two tickets! It sounds like she is uninterested in politics and not very well informed. If she’s going to vote, it’s best she knows as much as possible about the two tickets. Please help her.

dalepetrie's avatar

Israel supports Obama.

Judi's avatar

Maybe her friend doesn’t like Israel?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

But they both claim to support Israel? Personally that’s one thing that I feel comfortable about in this election—that they both would. So then she’d be SOL. ..

Maybe you’re right! Because, actually, he did say “debacle” those kind of a bad thing… ohhhhhhhhhhhh

Then I need to reiterate my opinion that your friend is in serious need of some education.

Judi's avatar

Why is Greece in the topics?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Good question! Maybe she’s Greek?

aidje's avatar

I’d just like point out that in contrast to your belief that voting is a moral responsibility (and should be a legal one), there are people who believe that there is a moral imperative to refrain from voting (Tolstoy being one example). Your opinion is the more popular of the two described, but it is not the only one. There are people who have very strong political feelings who have the opposite belief about the practice of voting.

As for your suggestion that everyone be required to vote, I have to disagree with you on that. I think it’s good that we have a right not to vote, though I will be exercising my right to do the opposite of not voting. Also, the idea of uninfomed, apathetic people being required to vote is downright scary to me.

jasonjackson's avatar

Eh.. I’m going to go against the grain here and say that, if you think the probability that she will vote for McCain/Palin is greater than 50%, we’d collectively be just as well-served overall if you don’t encourage her to vote this time.

Emilyy's avatar

I have a conservative and religious friend/co-worker who became a citizen within the past 5 years and is not registered to vote. At first, I was idealistic about it and told her that I thought that everyone should have a voice, even those that I don’t agree with. But honestly, I’m just so outraged at what Bush has done to this country, so freaking scared that that Prop 8 and Prop 4 may pass (I live in California), and so ready for things to turn around economically, that I am just completely over that now. At this point, one less conservative vote is fine by me, because I am fundamentally opposed to a lot of what the GOP stands for. Maybe I’ll worry more about democracy when our country isn’t in the shitter.

BonusQuestion's avatar

shockvalue- I have a question. Why do you think voting should be mandatory? I would rather those who know nothing about politics stay home and not vote. Of course I would prefer them to engage in politics and THEN vote, but if somebody is not willing to educate himself, why would you want him to vote?!

jasongarrett's avatar

I discourage the undecided and apathetic from voting. Let those of us who care make the decisions.

dalepetrie's avatar

shockvalue – I get your points completely. And I’m torn about voting, because on one hand, my ideal voting system would be one in which you have to be a knowledgable voter…i.e. you’d have to have the mental capacity to make a decision and at least a rudimentary understanding of the issues and the candidates positions. And in my ideal world, it wouldn’t be a 2 party system…we’d have a test designed by a non partisan panel of extremely knowledgable people who have decided what is in the best interest of the nation for every voter to understand, and those people who could demonstrate the ability to think and a grasp of the important issues would be allowed to vote however they wanted…the test would not steer people in any way.

On the other hand, I see in your ideal world, that most likely because so many people have sacrificed so much to give us the right to vote, that everyone should take that responsibility seriously, and we should force people to do so if they won’t do so themselves. After all, in a representative Democracy where majority rules, shouldn’t everyone’s voice be heard, even if that voice is uninformed?

But our founding fathers did not believe in truly representative Democracy…that indeed is why we have an electoral college and not a popular vote system. What we have fought for and won is our RIGHT to express ourselves in any way, including by voicing our opinion at the polls. But as the Canadian Prog Rock band Rush pointed out many years ago, “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

That’s what it boils down to, people have fought and died for our right to voice our opinion at the polls, AS well as by staying away from them altogether. It seems you are torn between the two ideals…should we force an uninformed voter to vote even though they’ll vote wrong, or should we let her make her own choice, thus actually increasing the overall quality of the vote.

I’d say how she would vote is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is one’s right to vote as they choose…that is the system we have, that is the system for which blood has been spilled, and like it or not, our moral obligation is to allow people to make their own choices.

However, it is your duty as her friend to inform her of your values. I’d say, if she will listen, you should tell her why you think it is the duty of everyone to vote. And you should also tell her why you think everyone should vote for Obama. Let your passion shine through, speak your conscience. Your best chance of moving her is if you can give her a reason to see that voting for Obama would be in her, and everyone’s best interest. And if that backfires and she votes, and casts her ballot for McCain, you can sleep with a clear conscience.

BonusQuestion's avatar

I would start with asking her to read the news from reliable sources, do research and educate herself. Voting is the last step not the first step.

finkelitis's avatar

You have absolutely no right to deny her a vote, but if she isn’t going to vote you have no moral obligation to convince her to vote. I think your energy could be better used encouraging people who are going to vote the same way as you. They’re out there too! Go volunteer to knock on doors and call swing states, and mobilize the vote that agrees with you! You can do the same good of getting people to vote while doing the extra good of having the votes go to the right places.

laureth's avatar

Voting your mind is important, no matter who it is. If we think our opinion is The Right One (no matter who we like) and seek to disenfranchise those who think that The Other Guy Is Right, how does this make us any better than those we oppose?

jasonjackson's avatar

@laureth: seeking to disenfranchise, and just not nagging somebody to vote, are two very different things.

googlybear's avatar

How about you recruit two people who lean towards Obama to counteract your friend’s possible decision? That way Obama will net one vote (or possibly three)....:-)

shockvalue's avatar

Haha, so I got her all signed up and then sat her down and laid out the facts… I think my most convincing argument was making her watch the VP debates. (say it ain’t so, Joe!) Since I actually knew what I was talking about, she was more than happy to listen to what I had to say, as I cut through most of the BS and talked about the real issues.

In short, we have one more vote for Obama. And it’ll count in Florida no less!

jasonjackson's avatar

@shockvalue: sweet!

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

Good job Shock! No one should be denied a vote. I’m glad you were able to get her to see the facts and vote for change. Every voice should be heard though. As they like to tell us “we are the leaders of the free world.” HA, i have no clue what that means these days. We are no longer free at all. The current financial crisis only proves that we have become slaves to the Corporatocracy and International Banking. Voting for change is the only way we can show our disapproval.

JLeslie's avatar

I do not believe in voting for the sake of voting. If you are completely uninformed with no real opinion on the candidates, and we run the risk of you voting for the wrong person, meaning if you had spent time to know about the candidates you would have voted differently…then don’t vote.

CaptainHarley's avatar

So… we get another four years of “tyranny,” just of a different sort. Sigh! : (

galileogirl's avatar

@CaptainHarley A lot of inflamatory language gets thrown that tends to detract rather than add to the discussion. Tossing word bombs is also is a sign of intellectual sloth

@JLeslie Speaking of intellectual sloth, being uninformed is no more an excuse for not voting than spending all one’s money is an excuse for not paying taxes. Anybody who claims to be a good American but refuses to participate in the democratic process is a fraud. There is no excuse for being uninformed. That also means we can’t refuse to participate because the “perfect” candidate has failed to appear. There are always a lot of important issues to vote on and important seats to fill as well as the write in vote. A real American will turn off the TV for a few hours or skip a night smoking or drinking and do his/her duty.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@galileogirl… No, I really don’t like EITHER party, nor do I like all conservative positions, or all liberal positions. We truly do need “a third way” in politics in this Country.

galileogirl's avatar

@CaptainHarley There are always choices, almost as many as excuses. Do you have the twisted idea people should vote only if they are going to support the winner? Or that the only one worth voting for is the one who wins?

JLeslie's avatar

@galileogirl You are arguing that people should take their right to vote seriously, and spend a little time getting to know the issues, the candidates, and vote. I agree with you. If someome says to me they don’t vote because they aren’t interested in politics, my response is, “politics and government is important, get a little interested.” But, it they are lazy intellectual sloths, as you put it, and refuse to put in any time or work and are disinterested then I don’t want them to vote.

galileogirl's avatar

My point is also that waving a flag, misconstruing the Constitution and denigrating immigrants doesn’t make one a good American. Very little is asked of citizens, being informed and participating is important and I think anyone who refuses to do their duty should be ashamed

JLeslie's avatar

@galileogirl I agree with that too. Let that flag waving, miscontrues the consititution, denigrating immigrants; and I’ll add, unable to think for himself, American stay away from the voting booth. I would prefer he doesn’t have influence over the officials in my country.

Kraigmo's avatar

I hope you ended up discouraging her from voting.

Voting for McCain to help Israel while avoiding all other issues is stupid.

And stupid people (even if they’re in the majority) shouldn’t vote. They shouldn’t be prevented from voting either, though

Ron_C's avatar

Maybe you should translate McCains comments for her. What he is saying that “you have this imagined enemy, immigrants”. “You need to vote for me to insure that corporate interests are protected. I promise to propagate the will of my sponsors against the will and rights of you common people.” “If you can focus on this battle, you won’t notice that your rights, security, and even health are decreasing for the greater good of my and your masters.”

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