It’s about time I addressed a number of commonplace beliefs held in the United States which, while they often sound great in sound bites, are almost always based on flawed reasoning. I call these beliefs “American myths.”

Since 2010 is an election year, the news media will almost certainly begin to run more and more articles about the importance of voting and how everyone should vote. While I agree that voting is important, I disagree with the idea that everyone should vote. This is a common American myth.

Let’s think about it. First and foremost, anyone who isn’t an American citizen cannot and should not vote. It’s considered an act of fraud in every state, territory and dominion of the United States. Voting is a responsibility and a privilege associated with citizenship, but this idea isn’t universally understood. In San Francisco, certain people want everyone, citizen or not, to vote on local city issues. While non-citizens living in San Francisco will certainly be affected by local votes, they still remain non-citizens. Membership can and should have its privileges.

Are you aware that in the United States, convicted felons cannot vote? Since a felon has already demonstrated that he or she is not a good citizen, society has determined that a convicted felon loses the right to vote. Yes, this right may be restored after the felon has served his or her sentence, but until then, a felon cannot vote. I can’t help thinking this is a wise rule, especially when I try to imagine Charles Manson casting a ballot.

No one should vote more than once. Even if an individual finds some clever way to circumvent the many laws designed to stop people from registering and voting multiple times, he or she is still committing voter fraud. I include in this category those who damage or spoil ballots, those who browbeat or threaten other voters, and those who coach the mentally incompetent into voting for their chosen candidate or issue. In the American democratic process, no one should be allowed to get away with the thoroughly non-egalitarian idea that some votes are more equal than others.

Apathetic citizens who are otherwise eligible to vote, but who haven’t bothered to register by a certain deadline, cannot vote in the next election. Even if you’re a fully eligible U.S. citizen, you must register in your local voting district if you want to cast a legal vote. If you haven’t taken the paltry amount of time and effort required to register to vote, you won’t have much cause for complaint when the day comes around and you can’t participate because you’re not on the voter rolls.

Finally, while it isn’t illegal, no one ought to vote in ignorance. If you don’t care or can’t be bothered to find out about the issues brought before the public, why participate? There’s not much point in voicing your opinion if you don’t have one. Granted, Joe and Jane Citizen certainly have the right to walk haplessly into the voting booth and vote for candidates and initiatives based on the results of a coin toss. But every citizen who votes in ignorance is failing in his or her civic duties. During the Democrat run-off leading up to the 2008 elections, I heard someone at work say she couldn’t decide whether to vote for Barack Obama because of his race, or for Hillary Clinton because of her gender. Neither of these reasons had anything to do with the issues at hand. One of my wife’s relatives once stated that she voted for JFK because he was such a good-looking man. But neither the candidate’s nor the voter’s race, gender, or pulchritude should have any bearing on a vote. Instead, we need to take the time to do the research–read the voter guides, study the pros and cons of the initiatives on the ballot, find out what we can about the history and political beliefs of the candidates, then vote for the people and ideas that best fit our own political philosophy.

So should everyone vote? No. Only eligible citizens who have taken the time to carefully study the issues and candidates should vote, and vote once. Anything else is either illegal or ignorant. And we’ve had enough of that.

I votedYes, I voted. Since my polling place is in the same school my niece attends, I walked with her through the rain to school and then right into the polling room. I had a very short wait since there were only two people in front of me, but I’m sure that will increase as the day goes on.. As I was leaving, I was given the sticker pictured here, and I really like the “farewell to polls” statement on it. I will be really happy to not hear any election polls for a while.

I have no intention of following the news closely today. I figure the voting and counting, the yelling and screaming, the lawyers and lawsuits will happen today whether I pay attention to them or not. And besides, I’d rather go out to eat with my dear wife tonight than pay attention to the news media.

As I watch the 2008 election unfold, I am seeing more and more evidence that the political left in America hates democracy, not that they would be willing to say so in so many words. Before I continue, I must state that, regardless of what you might have thought, the United States of America is not a democracy — the U.S. is a representative republic. The Founding Fathers were not impressed by democracies because they had noticed that “majority rule” democracies decayed and died as they got larger. This is nicely summed up in a quote often erroneously associated with Alexander Fraser Tytler:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

Regardless of its true author, the point is well made about the nature of democracies. But how can I say that the political left in this nation hate democracy? They are vocal supporters of democracy, but saying something doesn’t necessarily make it so. I have found it much more instructive to watch someone’s actions rather than words to determine what he really believes. And the left’s actions are pretty clear.

First case in point is the erroneously named “Employee Free Choice Act” supported by Senator Obama and many other Democrats. I say it is erroneously named because it is about restricting the free choice of workers. Former Senator George McGovern nails the problem with this bill in an editorial he wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

The key provision of [the Employee Free Choice Act] is a change in the mechanism by which unions are formed and recognized. Instead of a private election with a secret ballot overseen by an impartial federal board, union organizers would simply need to gather signatures from more than 50% of the employees in a workplace or bargaining unit, a system known as “card-check.” There are many documented cases where workers have been pressured, harassed, tricked and intimidated into signing cards that have led to mandatory payment of dues.

To my friends supporting [the Employee Free Choice Act] I say this: We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. We are the party that has always defended the rights of the working class. To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.

The secret ballot is a critical part of a well-functioning democratic process. But that doesn’t stop 228 Democrat Representatives from voting for this bill with only two voting against. On the Republican side, 13 voted for it and 183 against, insufficient to stop the passing of the bill in the House. As for the Senate, it’s version was put forward by Senator Ted Kennedy with two independent co-sponsors and with 44 Democrats, including the junior Senator from Illinois running for President.

The other evidence that the left hates democracy comes from the many, and I mean many, examples of voter fraud coming from the left. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has been working hard to register voters for years now. Now, registering people to vote is not a bad thing, and targeting your registrations towards your own party is also not a bad thing. But registering people multiple times or registering people who are ineligible to vote is a bad thing. And it appears that ACORN has been doing nothing but bad things. The New York Post reported about one Ohio man who was paid bribed by ACORN to register again and again.

“Sometimes, they come up and bribe me with a cigarette, or they’ll give me a dollar to sign up,” said Freddie Johnson, 19, who filled out 72 separate voter-registration cards over an 18-month period at the behest of the left-leaning Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

“The ACORN people are everywhere, looking to sign people up. I tell them I am already registered. The girl said, ‘You are?’ I say, ‘Yup,’ and then they say, ‘Can you just sign up again?’ ” he said.

Johnson used the same information on all of his registration cards, and officials say they usually catch and toss out duplicate registrations. But the practice sparks fear that some multiple registrants could provide different information and vote more than once by absentee ballot. [*bing*bing*bing* and that's a real problem. Emphasis mine - CM]

In Nevada, the fraudulent voter registrations handed in by ACORN included the entire Dallas Cowboys starting line-up, which I’m sure came as a surprise to the Dallas Cowboys living in Texas. State officials raided the ACORN headquarters and is currently investigating.

In Missouri, election officials suspected 5,000 ACORN registrations to be fraudulent, so they sent letters asking them to reply, but fewer than 40 people responded. In 2007, four ACORN employees were indicted, and in April of 2008, eight ACORN workers plead guilty of submitting false registration cards back in the 2006 push for voters. Jess Ordower, the Midwest director of ACORN, had a different way of looking at their guilt, as reported in the AP news: “He believes his group is being targeted because some politicians don’t want that many low-income people having a voice.” Did you catch that? Ordower said ACORN is the victim of “some politicians” — read that as the evil Republicans — who don’t want the poor to vote. And that makes the confessed federal election fraud somehow OK?

In Indiana, ACORN handed in 5,000 registrations just before the deadline. As is required, the state officials proceeded to validate the registrations, but they stopped when the first 2,100 registrations were all found to be invalid. Every registration checked was bogus! That’s not an accident. That’s intentional. These examples aren’t the only instances of ACORN fraud since there are at least 14 states who have launched criminal investigations against ACORN because of its fraudulent voter registration. It is obvious to me that fraudulent voter registration is not an isolated incident with ACORN, and I believe it is intentional, from the top to the bottom.

And where are the leaders on the left? Where is the condemnation and the urging to stop by the Democrat leaders? There’s a whole lot of silence going on. Instead of telling ACORN to stop breaking the law, Senator Obama’s campaign gave $800,000 to ACORN. I read that as not just turning a blind eye to their illegal actions, but condoning, encouraging, and facilitating their illegal actions.

So let’s sum up: the left wants to get rid of the secret ballot, and it condones voter voter registration fraud. And that is why I say that the left hates democracy. Their own actions prove it.

Well, Election Day 2006 has come upon us. Regardless of the outcome in local, state and national elections today, I’m looking forward to one good result: no more annoying telephone solicitors calling me and urging me to vote, or to vote for their specific candidate. I will be most happy when they stop calling us multiple times a day.

And speaking of voting, I have a standing guideline that if ever somebody is running unopposed, and I do not know that sole candidate’s position, views and history, I will always check the write-in ballot option and put someone there rather than leaving that section blank. This prevents my ballot from being easily tampered with by anyone. This does mean, however, that my wife has had votes cast for her before, and she occasionally votes for me. She has also admitted to writing in “Mighty Thor, God of Thunder” for the local electric board. (Obviously he would be the perfect man for the job.)

Politics, like sports, is boring unless you know the players and have picked a team to root for. I read that in a book, but for the life of me, I can’t find the quote! But I think there is some truth to the phrase. Unless you care about one team or another, there may not be much there to inspire you to vote. And contrary to what some people may say, I don’t believe that everyone should vote. But that’s just me.

And as a humorous aside, you can watch the South Park episode satirizing the 2004 election as a vote between a giant douche and a turd sandwich here at allabout-sp.net.

And now here are both graphics and text from the duo of Cox and Forkum:

Election 2006

However, I do know this: The enemy is already actively waging war against us, and absent a Democrat alternative for waging the war better, a retreat in the face of that war seems to me more suicidal than half-fighting. Half-fighting itself is no doubt encouraging the enemy, so it’s not much better than not fighting at all. It could even be argued that in some ways it’s worse. But to the extent that half-fighting has encouraged the enemy, it has done so because it’s taken as a sign of weakness. And I can think of no stronger sign of weakness than a retreat motivated by a desire to disengage from the battle.

UPDATE (11/7/2006 11:13:43 PM): Well, the cheering you hear is the combined voices of Democrats celebrating that they have taken control of the House. I’m not one for making predictions since I am so often wrong, but I’ll make the following three predictions: 1) the Democrats will begin serious discussion about impeaching President Bush, partially because they hate him in their BDS way, but also as pay-back for the impeachment of President Clinton. It will require a simple majority of the House to pass articles of impeachment, and now they have those votes in their Democrat majority. It won’t fly in the Senate as long as there are not 60+ Senators willing to confirm the impeachment. 2) The Democrats will claim their taking back the House as a validation of their anti Iraq war stance. Much will be ballyhooed about their “mandate.” It will be the catch phrase for the rest of the week at least. And 3) the Democrats will use their mandate to shaft the military currently serving in Iraq. Last time this happened, the Democrats stopped funding the Vietnam war, and we know how well that region turned out after a strong U.S. presence left.

The Ornithophobe wrote her take on what every vote for Democrats meant:

If the dems have their way and we pull out of Iraq, then we will have delivered a clear message to those who want to kill us. It is an engraved invitation to another 9/11, more bombed embassies and ships, more hijackings, and more beheaded Americans abroad. When Bush1 pulled out after the Gulf War, he left our allies to be slaughtered and dumped like garbage into mass graves. Hussein is one part on a multiheaded hydra; we cut him out and more grew in his place. They will carry on his atrocities. And anyone who has helped us fight this war has a deathmark. When we leave, they are as good as dead. We promised our soldiers and our allies that we would stand by them, we would support them.

And every vote for the democrats today was a vote not to keep our word. It was a vote for Sharia law.

Read the whole thing.

Contrary to what some people may think, I don’t agree that every vote should count, and I don’t think that everyone should vote. In fact, there are some very good reasons why you should not vote this election year:

  • Illegal aliens should not vote
  • Legal residents who are not U.S. citizens should not vote
  • Felons who have lost their franchise should not vote
  • The dead should not vote
  • People should not vote in races in a state where they do not reside
  • People who are not registered should not vote
  • People who lie about their identities should not vote
  • People voting multiple times should not vote
  • People who choose a candidate based on which one looks prettier/more handsome should not vote
  • People who choose a candidate based on whether he or she gives out free cigarettes should not vote
  • People who don’t know the candidates, their platforms, and/or their history should not vote

That’s quite a list, don’t you think? Some of the above actions are illegal, but some show a severe lack of understanding. And I, for one, don’t think you should vote if you don’t know what or who you are voting for or against. Yes, I know that voting while ignorant isn’t illegal, but that still doesn’t change my opinion that voting ignorantly is worse than not voting at all. Bottom line: know why you are voting.

Notice that at no point have I said that you shouldn’t vote if you lean toward one political philosophy or another. I really don’t care whom you vote for as long as you know why you are voting for that candidate. But I will say that voting for someone just because that person is a member of your party is not a sufficient reason. To illustrate my point, lemme mention two (in)famous political names: Dan Rostenkowski and Mark Foley. Neither of these two should have been voted into the House.

Some people get mad at the candidates in their party, and so they decide to cast a protest vote for the other party. I’ve heard it explained that “if the people in my party can’t do the right thing when they’re in power, then tossing them out will teach them a lesson.” I’m hearing this from Republicans this year, and I heard it from Democrats in the ’90s. Not to be negative, but do you really think anyone cares about your vote in particular? Hah! It would be far more effective to get involved in the workings of your party than to cast a vote for someone outside of it. But that’s assuming that you are interested enough to become involved.

And speaking of involvement, my Church doesn’t tell its members which political party to vote for, and it pretty much stays out of elections and measures unless there are moral issues on the ballot. Our leaders will speak out against measures dealing with gambling and abortion, for example, because these measures deal with moral issues. While not taking a stand on political parties, my Church does tell me what type of men and women I should vote for:

“Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” [D&C 98:9-10]

And that is why I need to know the individual candidates, what they stand for, and their moral character.

This November, people will gather at the voting booths to choose the next American President. Third-party candidates notwithstanding, the contest will boil down to the incumbent Republican candidate, President George W. Bush, and the Democrat candidate, Senator John F. Kerry. (I am choosing to ignore the rumors that something sneaky will happen between now and November, putting Hillary Clinton into the race.) While I have already written why I won’t be voting for Senator Kerry, I haven’t formally written why I will be voting for President Bush. It’s about time I did.

Of the serious Republican candidates for the 2000 race, I was pleased to see George W. Bush get the nod to be the Republican candidate. Since his election, I have had occasion to see that he hasn’t been a perfect, ideal President, but I believe he has been the right President for our time. Besides, we can’t hold the Good hostage to the Perfect. While we strive for perfection, at times we must accept the merely good. The other option would be settling for something far inferior.

I have problems with several of President Bush’s propositions – the illegal aliens amnesty program, expanding Medicare with prescription drug benefits, signing the anti-free-speech Campaign Finance Reform Act, and other acts which promote commonly-held liberal ideas. I understand that President Bush may have done these things to take the issues away from the Democrats, but it still doesn’t make me happy to see liberal items made law. In this case, the Perfect would be the passing of conservative issues only, but the Good is seeing a few liberal ideas made law and realizing that President Bush is still President for the important things.

So what are the important things? President Bush has correctly identified that we are a nation at war. He has shown that he has the right idea about this war, Michael Moore’s silly “documentary” Fahrenheit 9/11 notwithstanding. In addition to realizing that we are at war, President Bush has correctly identified our enemies as evil. And yes, I absolutely mean it when I say that the fanatics who have declared war on the U.S. and the Western world are evil. What else would you call the action of specifically targeting noncombatant civilians, of beheading innocent people whose only “crime” is not being part of their particular brand of evil, of openly proclaiming their utter lack of concern for the lives of others? Don’t believe me? One of the leaders in the “religion of peace” recently said, “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity.”

President Bush was certainly willing to bring the worthless United Nations into the conflict to free Iraq, but he was not willing to sacrifice the Good of freeing Iraq and reducing its threat against the United States on the altar of the Perfect of a unified world response. With 17 resolutions against Iraq, the UN Security Council had recognized the threat of Saddam Hussein and realized that he had ignored their wishes, but they were still unwilling to actually do something about it. President Bush and the other coalition nations were willing to stop Saddam’s threat.

So President Bush knows that you cannot negotiate with evil. Senator Kerry does not. President Bush is willing to call these attackers by their rightful title: evil. Senator Kerry is not. President Bush is willing to ask for international aid, but he is not willing to wait for the international leaders to get off their bribed butts before he does what is necessary to keep America safe. Senator Kerry wants international approval at any cost. President Bush has the vision and drive to free 50 million people from the tyrannical governments that oppressed them. Senator Kerry does not.

We are a nation at war, and this war must be fought and won. The War on Terror is the driving issue of this election, and while I often disagree with President Bush on some domestic issues, the War on Terror is more important than any of these. Once the War has been won, the domestic issues will once again be important. Wrangling about minor domestic issues when we are embroiled in a war for our nation’s survival makes as much sense as debating hair color while a murderer stands behind you with a drawn knife, chanting “Allahu akbar.”