America has a dismal record when it comes to voting. It also has turned into an Oligarchy, in which the politicians are bought and sold by rich motherf***ers (since there aren’t enough votes to get their attention). This is not a coincidence. When most Americans don’t vote, we get liars, crooks and con artists “elected” via bribes and propaganda to be our “public servants”.
So mandatory voting would at least get more of our citizens to show up and vote (maybe charge them a fee on their taxes if they don’t). And that in and of itself would be a benefit, even if the new voters just vote randomly: it would scare the crap out of our “representatives” and the 1%-ers who own them. But to get maximum benefit, it would be better if people understood just what and who the Hell they are voting for, and (most importantly) why they should question everything a candidate or government says.
One example: a popular bit of Plato, currently winging its way about the Intertubez:
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
This is not the exact wording (he wrote, “But the chief penalty [of good men who refuse to lead] is to be governed by someone worse if a man will not himself hold office and rule.” [Republic, Book I, line 347c]) but it captures the essence.
In other words: we wind up with crooks, fools, and a**holes in government when the competent, intelligent and decent people refuse to run and/or vote.
Another couple of examples:
In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. – Autobiography of Mark Twain.
Sounds a lot like the crap we hear from Teabaggers and such, does it not? Willful ignorance, regarded as a virtue rather than a vice. Here’s one example: James Inhofe http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inhofe-an-epa-foe-likely-to-lead-senate-environment-committee/2014/11/05/d0b4221e-64f4-11e4-836c-83bc4f26eb67_story.html
“To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.” – Mark Twain’s Autobiography
This writer would prefer that it say “a party” rather than “one party”, but that’s just me.
That is wisdom, Gentle Reader, spanning thousands of years, and speaking a truth we most sorely need to hear: if you let parties and plutocrats run things, they’ll run things to suit themselves. Which they have done. Those of us who do not participate in politics will NOT get the government we want: we’ll get the government THEY want.
Everybody needs education. Everybody needs motivation. This modest, if cynical, proposal can help empower our people and repair our democracy, at a very low cost. It’s kind of hard to think of anybody who’d object to that, right? Ermmmm….well…the bastards who have stolen our country will most certainly object. But f*** those people.
Mr. Blunt and Cranky