The Star-News


Ignorance has no place at the polls

Sat, Nov 06 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Nowhere was the spirit of George Carlin more alive than in San Diego's Golden Hall Tuesday night.

Not that I agree 100 percent with his disdain and aversion to voting. But roaming among the the at-times boisterous and occasionally unhinged voters who were there to watch election results, it was also apparent that Carlin's take on the electoral process isn't complete heresy.

Carlin often referred to voting as a waste of time. The problem with politics wasn't so much the politicians as it was the people who put them in office.

Us.

We. Me. You, they and them.

We're the problem.

George, he may have been on to something.

There were times I used to vote on issues after only a few seconds glance at an explanation in my voter's guide. Having no real, thorough grasp of what was being asked of me, I nevertheless had no problem checking either yes or no.

The same went for candidates. All too embarrassingly often I cast my lot with the name that happened to share the same political party as I.

In those two examples I embodied what Carlin railed against - the uneducated self-involved voter. The very person you probably don't want voting.

I'm sure I wasn't alone.

But now that I'm older I've made my peace with my ignorance. In most elections there are too many initiatives and candidates of which to keep track. Too many issues that require deep, thorough study. Too many topics about which, frankly, I don't care.

And while it might be more comfortable for me to say that I study every issue, the reality is I don't. And on those things I know nothing about, I keep my mouth shut and withhold my vote.

I'm OK with not having all the answers. And I know the people we may or may not put in office don't have all the answers either, though they try hard to convince you otherwise.

Hopefully, biting my tongue and not having my say on every issue thrown at me isn't terribly un-American of me.

I know this is the land of free speech and expression. I know there are millions of people throughout the world who would jump at the chance to cast their vote and have a say in their future.

But, after walking amongst and having been one of those people who votes simply for the sake of casting a ballot, I think an uneducated vote is just as detrimental to the process as no vote at all.

Maybe more so.


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