Thursday, November 15, 2007

Your Vote... or this fancy new iPod!! has apparently been able to show that 20% NYU students would trade their ability to vote in next year's election for an iPod. Are NYU students really so confident in the outcome of next year's election that they'd pass off their chance to participate in what will be the most contentious election in our nation's history? (Then again, isn't every election?)

Voting is your civic duty as an American. You don't have a right to vote; you have an obligation. And when I say vote, I mean make an informed decision in the political process. Learn, Discuss, Choose. I feel bad for those NYU kids who wanted to trade their vote for an iPod. Partially because it was the new iPod touch, and those things are basically just iPhones without the phone, and partially (mostly) because brave men and women fought and died and killed to give them something they would willingly throw away for a gadget. We say God bless America, but God bless them. They need it.


Allie said...

I think another interesting thing about this article is that two-thirds of NYU students polled would give up their vote for a year's tuition. Now, it's important to note that NYU students are paying at least $40,000 a year - I'll double check that amount with my friend who goes to NYU. I think this shows that, at least at NYU, students value their education more than their political involvement. My question would be why that is. Do they feel that their education is more important because it's more personal and tangible, or is it a general distrust of the political system? The article seems to suggest the former, but I can ask my friends at NYU what they think if you'd like.

Dan Fitzpatrick said...

I have to say I disagree slightly, Rock. I don't think anybody has an obligation to vote. In fact, I would prefer that many of the people who do end up voting just stay home instead. Too many people head to the polls with nary a clue about what issues or candidates are being voted on. While our votes may symbolize our decision to endorse a particular person or piece of legislation based on careful reasoning and moral consultations, a large number of voters make those same decisions based on "Hey, my uncle's name is Bob. I guess I'll vote for this Bob, too."
That sort of participation doesn't help the political system at all; it's that kind of mindless, going-through-the-motions participation that encourages politicians to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The way I see it, if you have no clue about who or what you are voting for, you should probably just sit the elections out until you do.

Yes, many brave people have died to defend your right to the opportunity to vote, but that sacrifice is mocked when people do things like voting Yes on all even-numbered ballot measures and No on all odds. Just as soldiers' sacrifices allow hippies to burn the American flag, it would be foolish to say they have an obligation to do so merely because they can.

Rockne Roll said...

Yes, you are correct in saying that an informed decision required to make a valuable contribution to the political process. But I addressed that when I said in my original post,

"You don't have a right to vote; you have an obligation. And when I say vote, I mean make an informed decision in the political process. Learn, Discuss, Choose.

The political process is dependent on informed choices. And unlike your description of flag-burning, the process depends on those informed choices to function.

Dan Fitzpatrick said...

True, true. Guess I missed that somehow.