14 January 2011

Tribal Voting?

Just now at Hullabaloo.

In my email this morning:

A very good question?

How come Jews can vote for Jews, Blacks can vote for Blacks, Latinos can vote for Latinos and Muslims can vote for Muslims, but if a White Christian votes for a White Christian, this person is Anti-Semitic or Racists?

Well, Why?

So, can we answer this question in a way that makes sense to the questioner (or ourselves)? Personally, my answer is initially that I absolutely have no thought regarding this particular "tribal" category. (Digby points out that one must almost always vote for a white xtian.) And honestly, at this point I would give my left you know what for a candidate that said all that was hooey (and meant it of course).

So, it's not the voting for someone who "just happens to be" like you--it's the intentionality of the choice that matters. Or better, using this as a criteria for your choice (and having be primary).

And this I think I can link back to one of my previous posts on voting for the government you want to be ruled by--this requires an knowledge of policy propositions and political philosophy; do you want to be represented by a religious ideology? Do you want to be represented by a person with a particular color? We can argue that the "thinking" mind will be able to discern prejudices in the self--but I have to say that I don't find this to be the case when talking to most people (about anything, not just voting, or god, or capital punishment or war, etc.).

I guess what I'm asking for is a way to create governing criteria that matters in a way that benefits all of us...yes, impossible. But there has to be a better way than the current system of simply buying visual and auditory manipulation-machine messages and bombarding people with them.

Sarah pointed out to me that nearly every liberal she knew, when taking one of those online "which politician do you most resemble" quizzes, turned out to be Dennis Kucinich. This made for a really interesting discussion that I think comes down to very real principles of human understanding and empathy for ALL people that seems lacking on the Right. (But this is not my point here.)

Maybe voting should be more like that online test that measures your political "beliefs" by how you act if you were faced with some legislative choices. Maybe it gets us to the same place or maybe it becomes a more subtle template for how government could be...or maybe it's just another tool of manipulation. Beats me...but if I'm a Dennis Kucinich, why am I stuck with John Kerry?

(By the way, it's my opinion that Kucinich could only say what he says because, 1. he's in the "people's house" and 2. because no one imagines he will ever yield any real power and 3. because he looks like he does--sorry to have to say it--a correlative to point number 2: if he looked more like the rest of the "successes" in politics he would likely then be coerced into acting like them. But maybe not...dime store politics for you.)

Dennis Kucinich
Public Persuasion

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