#113 Defining Swing Voters (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

The two political parties are hard at work defining and trying to attract the 2004 election's swing voters.  I thought I'd help.  There are some single issue voters who are so easy to define that they are laughable.  If they weren't actually going to cast their votes, I would be laughing a lot more these days.  These simple-minded folks think that the office of President is completely oriented around decisions regarding gays, guns, abortion, oil, and Israel. 

The J. Eddie Hoover homophobe crowd is desperate to keep itself in the closet.  GeeWiz Bush, Jimmy Swaggart, Patty Robertson, and the rest of the redneck closet queens are terrified that, if homosexuality becomes less stigmatized, the odds that they'll meet a man they can't resist will be raised to an intolerably, irresistibly high point.   Just like their cross-dressing FBI hero, they want to keep their orientation behind locked doors.

Passing a Constitutional Amendment to protect those wimps from themselves is a waste of Congressional effort.  Passing a Constitutional Amendment to limit the rights of American citizens is a terrible desecration of one of the world's rare sacred documents.  Pretending that this is a critical issue at this point in our country's history, is nothing more than a distraction. 

The NRA is still bleating the old Second Amendment misinterpretation and pretending that assault weapons are used for hunting deer and other scary prey.  In a rational nation, the endorsement of the NRA would be as powerful as the support of the White Power folks.  Of course, a rational nation would be carefully considering the causes of so much loss of life due to guns.  A really rational nation would be upset that most of the gun fatalities are caused by the victims' family members.  There are more than enough guns in the country to eliminate every life form in North America.  Kerry hasn't advocated collecting civilian weapons and beating them into plowshares.  He has recommended removing fully automatic weapons from the hands of nutcases, most of whom are Bush fans.  The NRA represents gun manufacturers, the most vile corporations among a country full of vicious and amoral corporations.  Anyone who gives a damn about those folks is not capable of making moral decisions for themselves, let alone casting a vote for the most powerful office in the world. 

Much of the Midwest and even more of the southern vote is wrapped around another single-issue; abortion.  Again, you're either for it or against it.  Supposedly, that makes it a Kerry or Bush issue.  Kerry is hardly "for" abortion, but he's unconvinced that a Constitutional amendment banning abortion would be any wiser than the Constitutional amendment that banned alcohol.  Making ordinary citizens into criminals because they do things to themselves that others disapprove of is usually poor government practice.  Bush, on the other hand, would add any number of dumbass amendments to the Constitution; from banning flag abuse to abortion to prayer in public schools to a meaningless, easily circumvented balanced budget amendment.  Bush's list of idiot Constitutional amendments makes it obvious that he does not view the Constitution as the basis for our country's past success.  He thinks it's a coloring book for idiots.  So, the folks who think this single issue is critical to the life of the nation can be classified into the "dumb as a brick" category.

Another single-interest group is the cheap oil crowd.  A huge number of urban folks commute hundreds of miles a week and they believe the most important thing government can do is to keep fuel prices low so that they can afford their driving addiction.  This group is solidly among the bunch of folks who believe that a lack of planning on their part constitutes an emergency for the rest of us.  Not only do they drive a lot of pointless miles, but they drive huge, inefficient vehicles and expect manicured highways for their driving pleasure.  Everyone who has designed a sane, low mileage, moderate energy lifestyle is subsidizing these overweight energy sinks and the commuters believe they deserve their particular form of welfare.  I can't explain the logic behind that assumption.  I don't understand the existence of country music or Harley Davidson motorcycles, either.   However, I think I can accurately put this group into a "I want my MTV" category, folks who can't tell the difference between the words "want" and "need."

Apparently, the orthodox Jewish vote is among the current swinging crowd.  In the past, Jewish voters, especially orthodox Jewish voters, have been traditional, almost universally Democrats.  Today, their focus has narrowed.  Civil rights is no longer on their radar, anti-Semitism in the general population is not a big deal, and they're left with one election issue; Israel.  Either you're for Israel or you're again' 'em.  Obviously, this is not a US national security issue.  Israel falling or standing has no long range value to US interests.  We pump billions of support dollars into Israel and receive nothing of value in return.  Yeah, yeah, Israel is "an oasis of civilization in the middle of a continent of heretics."  Outside of superstitious fantasies, Israel is pretty much a black hole in which we've been pouring US tax money for fifty years.  Voting the interests of a foreign country is treason, at best.  So, we can group the orthodox Jewish vote into the un-American activities category. 

I suppose there are a few dozen other single-issue voter groups that I haven't identified.  The fact is, single-issue voters are citizens who are not sophisticated enough to be allowed to play with sharp objects.  Voting for an office as demanding, and vital to the world's safety, as the US Presidency is a complex and mature activity.  Picking one issue as most important, out of the hundreds of critical issues the President will address, is a childish view of the world.  Children shouldn't be allowed to vote and age isn't the only criteria that defines a child.  People who want the world to wrap around the only issue with which they've managed to form an opinion are not capable of making adult decisions.  They're definitely not capable of making decisions for the rest of the world.  They are absolutely incapable of making decisions for me. 

I think it's time that we consider reinstating some sort of intelligence test at the polls.  I understand that concept has a racist history and I also understand that, statistically, it's possible that a political awareness test might remove a larger percentage of voters of color than white voters.  On the other hand, there seems to be an excess of dumb white voters and they still make up the majority in all national elections.  Establishing a minimum standard of comprehension voter standard is a concept whose time has come.  A national political comprehension test would disallow the stupid, the senile, and the single-issue voter from the political system.  A little testing could go a long way toward protecting democracy from despots and corporate corruption.

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