October 06, 2008


You know, I'm not even comfortable hosting this pile of crap on my site, but it's the only way I can make my point.

Oh no wait, I'll just give you the link to the video.

So what do we have here? Here's like twenty or so liberals telling us to all go vote and that they don't care who we vote for as long as we do it.


You have to be kidding me that any of these celebrities -- who are talking about how important it is to express your views on global warming and health care -- would have done this if they thought for a second that it would encourage you to vote for John McCain.

God, this reminds me of the South Park 2004 election episode:

Kyle: You're doing the right thing, Stan. Don't you feel like you're a part of something now?
Stan: I guess...
Kyle: Look, it may not seem important now, but your vote really does count, and we all have to do our part.
Stan: Okay. [finishes up and seals his ballot, then walks away]
Kyle: Look... wait, what are you doing?
Stan: I'm voting.
Kyle: No, no, you... you wrote down Turd Sandwich.
Stan: Yeah, I know.
Kyle: ...Dude, you're supposed to vote for Giant Douche.
Stan: [annoyed] I thought I was supposed to make my own decision.
Kyle: Well yeah, but not if your decision is for Turd Sandwich! What the hell is wrong with you?!
Stan: Wait a minute, you didn't want me to vote, you wanted me to vote for your guy!
Kyle: Well, I just figured you'd vote for my guy! Whose f*ckin' friend are you?!

If there is a person on that entire video who is voting for John McCain, I'll eat my hat.

Seriously? Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, Toby McGuire? These are the most obvious liberals out there. Jamie Foxx is wearing a motherscratchin' keffiyeh in this video. Were Susan Sarandon and Jane Fonda too busy to participate?

Celebs like Cameron Diaz tell us that if if we don't vote, rape will become legal, and Whoopi Goldberg thinks John McCain is going to make her a slave...and then a bunch of celebs get together and say "we don't care who you vote for"?

What a freaking joke.

And I am having a really hard time using the word "freaking."

Secondly, I don't "rock the vote." I found this video via Sis B, who encourages everyone to register because "many people have died to secure your right to vote."

If I've learned anything from Neal Boortz, it's that there is no constitutional right to vote.

I hate to be the one to break this to you [...]. But you're all wrong. There is no right to vote, at least not in a federal election..

Oh, it may be true that your state's constitution contains some sort of a guarantee of your right to vote in an election, but that's really as far as it goes.

Now I'm not going to give this entire chapter away right here. I'll just give you enough to whet your appetite for the publication of the book come next Spring.

In December of 2000 a law professor by the name of Michael C. Dorf wrote a column entitled "We Need a Constitutional Right to Vote in Presidential Elections." Professor Dorf, a law professor at Columbia University, by the way, was bitterly upset with the results of the 2000 election and the puddin' storm that erupted in Florida after the vote.

Here: Let me just share one paragraph from Dorf's column. [...] Remember ... this is a learned law professor writing this, not just someone sitting down to write a letter to the editor:

"Amidst the divisiveness of the United States Supreme Court's second foray into the 2000 Presidential election, it is easy to overlook the significance of the Court's earlier, unanimous ruling of December 4, 2000. A close reading of the decision in that case, Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, reveals a clear consensus for what will strike many Americans as an outrageous proposition: there is no constitutional right to vote in a Presidential election. The fact that the state in which you reside even permits you to vote for electors is purely a matter of legislative grace."

So ... there you have it. There's that, and more. I'm not going to give away this entire chapter here, but my research clearly shows that the founding fathers in no way intended to grant a universal right to vote in federal elections in the Constitution. As for the states ... well, it's pretty much up to them. What the Constitution does do, by virtue of the 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments, is set forth some parameters upon which a state cannot limit the voting franchise IF that state decides to offer a right to vote in its state constitution. In other words, a state can't formulate a constitution which says you can vote in a state or local election unless you're black, or a woman, etc. The same rule would apply to any federal elections as well.

I have learned to check myself and never let the phrase "right to vote" pass my lips. And everything changes when you look at it through this lens. I also agree with Neal Boortz that voting should be linked to taxes. He has an elaborate theory on this that goes something like this (and I hope I do right by him, this is all from memory): If you don't pay taxes, or you actually have a net gain via welfare or Earned Income Credit, then you don't get to vote. If you pay under $25,000 in taxes, you get one vote; under $50,000, two votes; and so on, maxing out at five votes for the wealthiest of Americans (so Bill Gates can't just control the country all on his own).

If you don't pay into the system, then you have no dog in this fight. You shouldn't be allowed to use your vote to get more of other people's stuff. It's the wealthy who make this country what it is, and they should get more of a say in how it is run. I realize that is probably an unpopular position, but Neal Boortz has completely won me over to its merits.

But since the system doesn't work that way, and any goofball off the street can have a say, I don't encourage people to vote. If they're not motivated enough on their own to register to have a say in who controls the purse strings of this country, then I'm not gonna give them a push. Because I don't want unmotivated people to vote.

If you sit down and research the issues, watch the debates, and learn about the policies, and then you decide to vote for Barack Obama, I can live with that. But if you go out and vote because some idiot celebrity like DiCaprio tells you it's important to voice your opinion on the financial crisis...well, that makes me want to puke.

Posted by Sarah at October 6, 2008 05:17 PM | TrackBack

Pardon me, Sarah, but you're making the same association Kyle did: That people who don't pay much in taxes for one reason or another will vote to get more of other people's stuff automatically. You're really talking about taking the vote from stay-at-home middle-class wives and moms because welfare moms might vote for Obama?

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 05:58 PM

OK, I guess I wasn't clear. I don't care that Kyle had an interest in who Stan voted for. I certainly do have an interest in who people vote for and I want them to vote for McCain instead of Obama. What I hated about that video is that the actors try to *pretend* like they don't care.

Everyone has a stake in whether people vote the country in the direction he wants it to go in; it's absurd to pretend that voting in-and-of-itself is noble.

And most families file income taxes together, so while I make jack squat, when you lump me in with my husband, we pay taxes as a household. So "middle class wives" would still get to vote.

Posted by: Sarah at October 6, 2008 06:13 PM

I think we agree on this...I do not WANT EVERYONE to VOTE, only a motivated educated voter...

and frankly they do not even have to agree with me.

At least be able to tell me what you are voting on.

My Brother is voting for "who the Union" is telling him to vote for, he KNOWS nothing about politics.

Posted by: awtm at October 6, 2008 06:17 PM

I suppose I should add that I would still support this system even if it meant somehow that I personally couldn't vote.

Posted by: Sarah at October 6, 2008 06:19 PM

I think we are so very far apart on our worldview that I am completely incapable of responding to this without lashing out.

I still don't love you, though. ;)

Posted by: Sis B at October 6, 2008 07:17 PM

I agree that the media and celebrities have NO place in politics. I read an interview with Dennis Leary the other day where he said that he thinks Brack Obama is the Black John Kennedy (I personally feel BO is more the black Jimmy Carter) and it made me loose some respect for him.

However I think the idea that voting should be linked in any way, shape or form to how much money you make and how much of it you pay in taxes is completely absurd. I mean we may as well just have stayed a British Colony. That is NOT democracy. There is a reason Poll Taxes were abolished.

There are plenty of people who are unemployed through no fault of their own. There are people on disbility and welfare for very good legitimate reasons. There are people who are receiving gov't benefits who spent a lot of time paying into the system.

You know I respect your intellect and opinions Sarah, but we definitely disagree on this point.

Posted by: Mare at October 6, 2008 08:14 PM

That's fine, Mare. Boortz also makes good points about how we're not really a democracy; we're a republic. That's what the Founding Fathers created, and that's what I believe in.


Posted by: Sarah at October 6, 2008 08:28 PM

I hated that video also; the condescension alone was hard to take. I suppose I should be happy that for 4 minutes they pretended they don't care who you vote for, but whatever. So we're together there.

We're also together in that it's sickening that anybody would vote because those people told them to, and more, vote uninformed or on shallow grounds.

But I think I'll continue to disagree about whether only current taxpayers should have a vote. And I'd think that even if your scenario *didn't* deny me the vote. ;)

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 08:45 PM

And I think voting has a certain inherent nobility ... informed voting certainly moreso than other kids, but for some people, voting might be the first step to being informed, as backwards as that is.

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 08:46 PM

Kinds, even, not kids.

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 08:47 PM

Sorry, one more, I'm scattered right now: When I compared you to Kyle, I meant you were assuming people of a certain set of circumstances would vote a certain way, which is not always the case.

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 08:55 PM

Ok, I know I said I wasn't going to comment.

But I do think it's worth pointing out that in your perfect world of voting (or not voting), you have relegated all lower enlisted and most middle enlisted servicemembers to having a vote that counts 1/5 of the votes of other Americans. Also most teachers, law enforcement officials and other emergency personnel.

In this scenario you create a ruling class which has never served its country other than to pump money into the government. Only the poor will serve, and their lives will be run by selfish cutthroats at the "top."

It doesn't get more Orwellian than that.

Posted by: Sis B at October 6, 2008 09:42 PM

In other words, he who gots the $ gots the vote? Is that it? oh, please... get a grip Sarah. I suppose you want to be governed by a rich guy who has no idea of what real life is like? oh... wait.. you do. sorry bout that.


Posted by: LAW at October 6, 2008 09:56 PM

I would add one caviate to Sarah's approved voter list. It is that anyone that has sworn to put their lives on the line for this country (military, police, etc.) would be listed first (ala Heinlein in Starship Troopers). Thanks Sis B for the idea. Also, I know a lot of teachers, all of whom pay taxes (so they would qualify anyway). The idea is that only those that contribute in some meaningful way to this country would be able to vote and those that feed off of the public tit would not.

Posted by: SciFiJim at October 6, 2008 10:50 PM

I was just about to say what SciFiJim said: If I were in charge, I would give people in the military the vote. But since this idea of Boortz's is never going to happen in a million years...who cares what caveats I add to it.

I also bristle at the idea that the rich do nothing to "serve" the country. They make everything possible. They create all of the jobs and fuel our economy. And the fact that they "pump money into the government" is nothing to sneer at: they provide our system with at least half of the money it takes in, including providing the money to run the defense programs, giving your husband and mine a job. If all those Atlases shrugged, we'd be SOL. I know it probably sounds harsh to you, but the rich do WAY more for this country than a teacher does.

I also don't think that's a proper use of the word "orwellian," but now I'm just being picky :)

Posted by: Sarah at October 6, 2008 11:11 PM

The idea is that only those that contribute in some meaningful way to this country would be able to vote and those that feed off of the public tit would not.

Breakdown in communications ... those who don't pay a meaningful amount in taxes and those who "feed off the public tit" are by no means one and the same, although I'm sure there is quite a bit of overlap.

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 11:14 PM

Anwyn, but "meaningful amount" doesn't match up with what I said. If you pay $1 in taxes, you get the vote.

I just don't find it that shocking to postulate that people who don't contribute financially to the government shouldn't have a say in how it's run. And that people who contribute the most -- and folks like Bill Gates pay more in taxes than most of us will ever see in a lifetime -- ought to get more of a say in how things operate. Not an oligarchy, mind you, but Boortz likens it to shareholders in a company: the more shares you own, the more say you have.

Posted by: Sarah at October 6, 2008 11:24 PM

You're right, too many caveats. Serving your country is noble but does not offer any special rights. I just shudder to think that really rich people like Paris Hilton or Kayne West for instance would have any more of a say about who runs the system than any average citizen who is no doubt more intelligent and more informed.

This is why I don't discuss politics anymore, I can't keep up with the reading to discuss it in an informed way. :)

Posted by: Mare at October 6, 2008 11:31 PM

Anwyn, but "meaningful amount" doesn't match up with what I said.

True, sorry.

Posted by: Anwyn at October 6, 2008 11:33 PM

My husband and I have actually discussed this kind of thing, on a purely theoretical standpoint (as it would be impossible to actually pass any of our ideas; it's easy as pie to "give" rights/entitlements, but incredibly difficult to take them away once given), though as far as I know, neither of us has read Neal Boortz, at least not recently.

B and I have discussed the pros and cons of the following:
(a) Raising the voting age to 25.
(b) Reverting back to when only "property owners" could vote; set a minimum limit of $10,000 worth of personal property or something like that.
(c) Something similar to your proposal, only no one gets more than one vote, ever. In our discussed scenario, only citizen taxpayers would vote. Anyone whose existence is in any way subsidized by (not earned from) the government (those on welfare, medicaid/medicare, social security, living off federal student loans, etc) would not have a vote.

My husband would likely advocate any of these proposals. He might even be in favor of yours. I'm still not quite sure where I stand on any of them; all end up disenfranchising some people that probably deserve to have a say in their government, as well as being difficult and/or expensive to enforce. What I do agree with is the sentiment of wishing that the voting population would make the effort to be more informed because they have more of a personal stake (not in terms of what they might gain through welfare, but in what they might lose through government growth) in the results of the election. I also very much wish that more people would take a personal interest in issues and stances and do their own research rather than listening to what celebrities, self-promoted pundits, and even the campaigns themselves are shouting from the rooftops.

Posted by: Emily at October 7, 2008 12:49 PM

how about anyone who has a job they physically work at least 30 hours per week gets to vote?

that way nincompoops like Paris Hilton who have 'income' but DON'T actually do any steady time-crunching, sometimes soul-destroying, rest-inhibiting, family-juggling, school/work juggling real day to day work would be left out of the picture.

Posted by: ShyAsrai at October 15, 2008 07:54 PM