Many unthinkingly subscribe to the notion that polling-place quantity means political quality at election time. But low turnout isn’t to be lamented; it’s to be applauded. After all, if someone doesn’t have the get-up-and-go to get out and vote without being prodded, it’s a given that he doesn’t possess the greater initiative necessary to inform himself on the issues. In this case, he shouldn’t be voting in the first place.
Thus should we never encourage the apathetic to cast ballots, for disinterest correlates with incompetence.
Joining the ranks of drug pushers are what I would call polling-place pushers. These are people who run get-out-the-vote drives or at least agitate in that regard, and they are more to be feared than any corner dope peddler.
As an example, pollster John Zogby recently lamented how the young people who catapulted Barack Obama to the presidency are now losing interest in voting. He said to the League of Women Voters (LWV), “I truly am worried about today’s twenty-somethings.” I have seen them move from hope and grand expectations for themselves and their world to anxiety and disillusionment.”
That’s one way of saying it. A more accurate way is this: They’ve made that common transition from naivety to cynicism, which often happens when you’re slapped in the face by reality — especially reality you voted for.
This transition is no surprise, as naivety and cynicism are actually two sides of the same coin. After all, the naïve person and the cynic will tend to see others, respectively, through rose-colored glasses and in dark colors regardless of the moral status of those observed. Thus, neither judges others very well and both are defined by ignorance of reality. This is why the same people are so often both naïve sorts and cynics — at different points in life. The young starry-eyed idealist becomes the old cynic because he had the wrong ideals. And this is perhaps inevitable unless the underlying cause, ignorance, is remedied.
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Selwyn Duke (photo)