Voting

Mr. Jenkins
Catherine R. Wolenter
Essay # 2
GSS 1024

George Bernard Shaw once said: "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few…," and while I do not have such a bleak outlook on our system of government, Shaw does have at least some truth in his statement. In a perfect world, where everyone is informed, intelligent, and aware of their system of administration, our political system would be perfect. However, in the reality of things, people are different, have dissimilar concerns, and divergent points of views. Because of such, democracy falls short of all people being equal, which is the ideal of the system.
It is a mechanical fault of our government, which calls itself a democracy, and not the many leaders caught up in the democratic bureaucracy that causes our countries downfall. A democracy is where the government is run by all the people that live under it-not one class, an autocrat, or a select group. For our system to be affective everyone must vote. (I would vote in every election because I believe it is my right and my vote can make a difference, however I am not yet of age to vote.) According to the Center for Voting and Democracy, in 1995 the united stated had the lowest voter turnout of any democratic nation, with a mere 38% of the population showing up to cast their ballot. Even more recent and shocking is the numbers that turned out for the 1996 presidential election, the election for the top office of our government, for our ultimate leader. The Federal Election Commission of the United states of America reports that only 74.40% of the population was registered and only 49.08% actually showed up to vote. Although, in theory, the American system calls for one vote per person, such low rates of turnout, as illustrated in these statistics, results in the upper and middle classes ultimately choosing officials for the entire nation.
I feel the main reason for this low voter turnout is that many of the people who live under this democracy have no idea about the candidates and issues, let alone any idea of how the government is run. The people are simply uneducated about politics and do not see how important each and every vote is. With this lack of understanding about our government, it is no wonder not many people go out there and vote, it is no big deal to them. We need to educate our voting public if we want to increase our voter turnout.
There is also the issue of voting without understanding and choosing of candidates for the wrong reasons. These are symptoms of voting and not taking an active interest in how our country is run, which is common in our nation as I mentioned before. Instead of making an effort to understand the issues and party fundamentals, too many ignorant people base their decisions on what the candidates tell them. And in this day and age we all know the word of a politician is not one to be trusted. Everything the candidates will ever say falls into two categories: lies and negative comments about the opponent. The reason for these two things is quite simple; there is nothing good that they can say about themselves. They have to lie to make themselves look good and they have to put someone else down to make themselves look better than the competition. They should spend more time promoting themselves and the issues of the election and less making themselves look like lying fools.
I also have a problem with the party system of our nation. People vote for a party/candidate only in principle, because in practice, they act completely the same. Imagine our government as a great fast moving train: even if another engineer takes control, it is incredibly hard to make any large adjustments without unstabilizing the train. Similarly, it would not matter if any political party is in power, because any fundamentals change would upset a lot of people. (one of the unwritten laws of politics: to make a drastic change is to invite political suicide.)
There is also the issue of campaign finances.. People who do not become organized into political parties are likely to be underrepresented financially. And