Sep 28, 2020

Back to Basics: Go for ‘intelligent’ vote

It’s barely a month to go before the midterm polls. We start hearing taglines like “vote wisely”. But how can we really “preach” intelligent voting when the supposed “preachers’ do not really care about voters and democracy? Their idea on the intelligent vote is to vote like how they do it. Or in other words, to vote for the candidates that they deem intelligent.

But let us try to simplify things, let us try to localize on how to choose our candidates this coming election.

Don’t just go with your gut. Voting well means making your choice from a standpoint of informed consideration and with an eye towards the common good, says Jason Brennan, a political philosopher at Georgetown University and author of The Ethics of Voting. “Suppose you go to a doctor and ask for advice about an illness – you’d expect the doctor to have your interests at heart and to think rationally about your symptoms, 11 he says. “Voters owe the same thing to each other and the electorate. Vote for everyone’s best interest, and when you’re forming your political beliefs, form them based on information and learning, not on the basis of quick thinking, anger or bias”. Strong emotion, however, can interfere with our ability to think critically.

Don’t get all your news from social media. Most of us have unfollowed, unfriended or muted contacts on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks because their political views make us mad. Leslie Shore, a communication expert from the University of Minnesota said “that relying merely on social media can give rise to narrowed political views. “Most of our social media networks are full of people who agree with us, so they create an automatic validation of everything that you’re already thinking,” she says. “If no one challenges you, there’s no opportunity to rethink or ask important questions”. Try broadening your news sources by tuning to channels or sites, papers or magazines that have a different slant than you do.

Know when to abstain. Not everyone may agree with the idea that a good citizen should abstain from voting if he or she can’t cast a “good” vote, but it resonates with me.

Here’s hoping we take our responsibility to heart and endeavor to do our civic duty well. We pray for an Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Election 2019.

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