In an oddly timed Op-Ed piece yesterday, New York Times “Ethicist” Randy Cohen argued that only the civically well-informed should be encouraged to vote.
National efforts like MTV’s Rock the Vote are particularly idiotic….A nonpartisan push is apt to rally Republicans as well as Democrats, liberals as well as conservatives, who will vote in the same proportions as those already inclined to go to the polls. The net result: nothing, save for the warm glow of civic virtue that comes from bullying your neighbors into pulling a lever, any lever.
Sounds like Cohen wants to revert to a time when only a certain type of American was allowed to take part in the political process. Should there be a litmus test for voters, Mr. Cohen? Should every person who goes to the polls first take an exam on the material? Or perhaps only people with PhD's should be allowed to vote? (In some developed nations, of course, voting is not only encouraged but compulsory.)
Politics can be complicated, but the average citizen isn't stupid. Organizations such as HeadCount encourage civic participation because we have issues and are informed.
We study the issues, write to our representatives, speak out, and show up on Election Day because everyone deserves to have her voice heard! So thank you for voting.