Whorled View

November 4, 2008

I’d Celebrate More, Were It Not For Mob-Rule

Along with McCain I think our Founding Fathers also would agree that Obama is a good man and a good father, and as another human being we need not fear the man (even though I’m less than thrilled with much of his platform and his voting record – that’s beside the point).  Having an African American as president is an hallmark for equality that should be celebrated … and I’d have a much easier time doing that were it not for some elements of what Thomas Jefferson called mob-rule.

Before I go much further, I want to say that I believe it’s entirely possible that Obama would have been elected without the following elements in play and I fully support him like any president as if he would have been.  My point is, that these elements were in play, and that’s a shame.

If our founding fathers were raised in the same cultural climate as all of us they’d be thrilled with an African American winning the election, assuming democracy worked like it was supposed to.  That said, I think they’d be rolling in their graves if they saw the 3 powerful dynamics that have adversely affected the vote this year:

1) Two phrases I find disturbing are: “they [insert special interest group here] deserve it”, and “it’s about time”.

I can only hope for the sake of democracy that these phrases only are uttered in appreciation for the man that Obama is, not the office that he now holds as if he was entitled to it by virtue of his race.  I hope that every vote cast for Obama was done with complete disregard to the body he was born into.  Entitlement and preferential treatment based on someone’s color or sex in the election process seem at odds with the kind of democracy that our founding fathers envisioned.

In modern times most people seem unfazed, and even embrace entitlement as a viable reason to vote for someone based on whether they be female, a racial minority, ethnic minority, religious minority, physically handicapped, sexually-different or from any other historically disadvantaged group of people.  It almost seems that if you do not embrace entitlement as a viable reason to vote for someone then you might be called a bigot.

It wasn’t always that way.  Were our founding fathers bigots because they did not think that the body someone was born into entitled them to hold public office?  They were trying to get away from just such a thing after dealing with the British monarchy.

2) I just can not envision our founding fathers targeting transient individuals who are usually just too lazy and/or too disinterested to get registered and go to vote.  Tt seems our Founding Fathers were far more pragmatic and republican in nature than they were idealist and democratic.  The government they formed was not a pure democracy but a constitutional republic with democratically elected representatives. Thomas Jefferson himself, along with most others of his day, called democracy “mob-rule” because he understood common man has neither the time, patience, or desire to really understand the dynamics of facilitating a free and thriving society.  They understood that the nature of politics was very complex and thereby formed a government run entirely by representation of those who have the time, patience and diligence to study and understand the issues.  I’m sure they’d expect voters to do the same and would never wholesale promote uneducated voting.

Tell me, when you vote and there are two names up there for school district administrator and you have no clue … do you guess?  Or do you leave it blank?  The more democratic thing to do is to leave it blank, yes?  Then why would you encourage someone to vote who hasn’t studied nor has any intention to study about the characters and platforms of any of the candidates but simply wants to go with the flow?  You might as well guess on those items and politicians you know nothing about … it’s the same thing.

3) Complete unmitigated and unabashed bias throughout the so-called “free” press.  If you don’t have extended cable (basic cable only gives you the major networks), you are only served by the big 3: ABC, NBC, and CBS.  According to the Center for Media and Public Affairs 10 times more people (composed equally of republicans and democrats) feel those networks have been biased toward Obama than those who feel it’s been biased toward McCain.  In addition late night pundit and comedian jokes have been favoring Obama’s ticket by a factor of 7:1.

Item #3 would not be such a big issue were it not combined with item #2.  It seems Thomas Jefferson was right … and those who’ve historically pretended to champion the causes of Thomas Jefferson may have been the very same who’ve fulfilled his prediction: that all democracy at one point or another will turn into mob-rule.

Having an African American for a president is cause for celebration for the hallmark of equality it represents, but I only wish it would have happened without these dynamics.  I think it sure would have been possible, but then we’ll never know now will we?

6 Comments »

  1. I just wanted to remind you to get out and vote today!

    Vote yes, vote no, JUST VOTE! :) :) ;) :0 :0 ‘)

    Comment by Robin — November 4, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

  2. >JUST VOTE!

    Like I said … mob-rule. ;)

    Comment by lullabyman — November 4, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  3. I thought about this yesterday when I left a number of votes blank because I had not studied out the candidates- ie School Board. Why would I cast a vote for someone I know nothing about? It’s not a multiple choice test where if you guess right you get bonus credit.

    John Stossel did a pretty interesting story on why uniformed voters shouldn’t vote- sadly, most voters consider themselves well informed so it’s a challenging issue. My thoughts are if someone doesn’t care about the presidency enough to register to vote and get themselves there- the country is better off with out it.

    Comment by salt h2o — November 5, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  4. I tend to agree with Salty, the uninformed kind of take themselves out of the equation by not registering or not bothering to vote. This year, the turnout was huge in most parts of the country, but I think it is impossible to say it is only mob rule or the reasons you described above. It’s the age old question, why are you voting and why for that guy? I do agree that the Founding Fathers had a different idea about voting, thus why only white male landowners could. Is that what you suggest we go back to? I doubt it! haha. But mob rule happens in every well covered election. Someone gets ahead and people either jump on board b/c they like a winner or they go against to avoid something they actually feel strongly about. And for just as many people that did vote for Obama due to his color, I’m sure there were just as many people that voted against him b/c of it, so hopefully they all cancelled themselves out, although that is unlikely due to our electoral system. At the end of the day, democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s the best idea man has come up with for the past couple thousand years on how to govern.

    Comment by Steve — November 6, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  5. True … democracy isn’t perfect, but it can get a lot better. I think if we were serious about fixing the problems with democracy we’d see some real change, but it appears to be a loosing battle. I honestly think people don’t really care much about democracy anymore once it works against their favor.

    For example, a the press claims to give equal reporting for both sides, but they aren’t motivated to do so. What’s more disturbing is that the public doesn’t seem to care much that they’re getting an overwhelmingly one-sided treatment of the issues.

    If we were really interested in democracy then why don’t we put equal effort toward recruiting republican voters as toward democrat voters?

    IF we were really interested in democracy then why will a candidate abandon the idea of public financing when suddenly he stands to make more money than his opponent through private financing?

    If we’re really interested in democracy then why don’t the pundits call a spade a spade and disparage those who say they’d be more likely to vote for a woman simply because she’s a woman, or vote for a minority simply because they are a minority? Whenever this came up they’d consider it as good as it was bad, good because it’s become commonplace to think that the historical record gives some people a measure of entitlement – and that’s just pure baloney.

    In short I don’t think politicians favor principles of democracy unless it’s more likely to get them in office. If mob-rule tactics works to their advantage they’ll take advantage of mob-rule tactics, and the public doesn’t seem to care much either way.

    Comment by davers — November 6, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  6. For years I have left blank slots for school boards and even judges. It works for me.

    One always ought to question mob rule. Ben Stein sure did after the Democrat convention – interesting.

    Comment by aunt kathy — November 6, 2008 @ 9:57 pm


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