Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Constitution, Voting, and Idiots

Covering the recent election here in the City of the Big O, the local litter box liner newspaper trotted out voter turnout stats for the last few mayoral elections.

Back when Mayor Voted-Out last won, we had a whopping 26% turnout, which the paper routinely decried, yawn. Ex-Mayor-To-Be won that go-round with 60% of the vote. 15.6% of the potental voters, unless my flaky math gene is on the blink. ...This is winning by getting the left-handers to vote for you, or all of [name any smallish minority]. More people bought new cars than voted (which is probably an indication of which activity is more directly rewarding; no argument from me there).

Sure, the paper's right, more citizens ought to vote. --But prior to that, it'd be a real help if more citizens were citizens.

Many of my fellow libertarian gunbloggers speak very highly of the Constitution of the United States of America. It's certainly a magnificent effort, but let's be realistic: it is beta-level software at best, running with over two dozen major patches (some of them crufty indeed, like direct election of Senators and Income Tax) and uncounted minor ones. It's old software and like all early efforts, it is extremely hardware-dependant.

Not so much the "hardware" of buildings or even of institutions; no, the hardware in question is us, or what we were presumed to be by the Framers: a largely aware, informed and engaged electorate.

I do not so very much mind a 26% turnout if most of them have done their homework and the other nearly three-quarters have not; it keeps the idiots from pushing the rest of us around by their whims and makes my vote count all the more!

But do you really want me deciding who'll sit in the seats of power? My most conventional notions are shockingly radical when compared to the popular wisdom! They might even be far-out compared to many of the ideals you hold dear.

And I am probably one of the least inimical voters out there. If you've been sitting out elections, either to protest or avoid empowering a coercive system or simply because you believe it doesn't matter, it might be time to think again.

The software's old and flawed but it's running. It's probably fixable. If you want to keep it running, if you'd like to have a chance at making things better, maintain that portion of the hardware you control: yourself, your awareness and your vote.


Anonymous said...

If I could suggest a few patches, one would be: "Except as provided for elsewhere in this document, both houses of Congress shall conduct business strictly by majority vote of those members present, there being a quorum. Failure to comply and call a vote shall subject the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate to a term of imprisonment of twelve months." That would stop secret "holds" on bills and other similar parliamentary chicanery. Also eliminate the Electoral College and provide for direct election of President and Vice President; And third, if the President doesn't get a simple majority, the next Tuesday we do it again with just the two top vote-getters, so that we will get a Pres. with a majority vote.

Anonymous said...

Turk, I mean this in the nicest way, but whaddaya, nuts? You might better start by defraggin the bug called Amend. XVII, and make the senators something other than pimped-up ward heelers. You want presidents to have a mandate? Remember LBJ? The way things are now (meaning since 1789) I don't want direct elections for dogcatcher.

"More people bought new cars than voted (which is probably an indication of which activity is more directly rewarding..."

Not just directly. Probably better for the economy, too, and morally purer.

Less said...

"Dude, don't touch that legacy code - Its written in FORTRAN and our Chinese-grad-student-tech just quit!!"

Roberta X said...

...So often, they say that instead of "learning FORTRAN" or whatever it takes to actually use the tools!

I'll never understand this. People wrote it. People, not ghods. Once the difficult creative work is out of the way, runnin' the stuff is a snap, software or government or whatever. Except, I suppose, for yammerheads, adult children, and ijits. Or politicians. But I repeat myself.