“Angry voters vote”

Anger, a politician told me, gets people to the polls. But I wonder do they vote well? Are their votes informed? Do they try to decide what is best for their neighbors? I suspect they do take it seriously, more seriously than the politicians treat them as being.

Angry voters vote as well as they can, but they are treated, not as people, but things. They are treated as objects to be manipulated.

It is not just an affront: if voters are things to be manipulated, then constituents are soon ignoramuses to be avoided, cattle to be herded. Who cares if you cheat them? They are not real, anyway.

Angry voters vote: this says volumes about the speaker. For to him, these are voters: labels, things. Far from people.

Of course, we help to bring this on ourselves. We talk about “those people in Washington,” and influencing “the Congressman.” We don’t see them as real persons, either.

So what is the answer? Would that we could sit down and have a heart to heart with this man or woman representing us, while in office, while a candidate. We cannot do that easily: there are too many of us. (But think if Barbara Walters or a skilled conversationalist engaged them on a television show, and got their first person fears and quandaries and dreams out.) We cannot do that easily: the habits of how we interact with public officials get in the way: we are so used to debate and yelling that we think there is no other way. There is.

:- Doug.

Published in: Conversations | on November 7th, 2006 | No Comments »

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