Mandated voting would dilute democracy
When I read the headline Lets mandate voting, I was hoping the author wasnt serious. Alas, he was – but he shouldnt have been. Heres the fatal flaw in mandated voting: it would make democracys greatest weakness even worse.
Democracy is strong when the outcomes of elections are decided by intelligent, informed voters. Democracy is weak when the outcomes of elections are decided by voters with little interest in the candidates and issues, who make up their minds on the basis of inadequate and often-misleading information and slogans. Democracys greatest weakness is that these voters, not the intelligent and informed ones, may often decide the outcomes of elections.
Now, would democracy become weaker or stronger if you added in a whole lot of people with approximately no interest at all in the candidates and issues, who wouldnt bother to vote if not for fear of a fine? One guess. Even fewer elections than now would be decided by intelligent and informed voters. Even more elections than now would be decided on the basis of little thought and lots of confusion.
The bottom line is that compulsory voting would make our democracy work worse, not better. Thats because those who dont really know or care a bit about good government – or who think no candidates are worth voting for – would be forced to vote anyway.
You know the old saying, Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. Mandated voting would erase the except for all the others part.
DAVID McCLAMROCK Fort Wayne
No objectivity in editorial picks
In the June 27 Perspective section, there are five letters and columns that relate to politics. The five headlines are: 1) The benefits of Obamacare 2) VP bid all part of Palin family plot? 3) President has little sway over gasoline prices 4) Ariz. ruling reaffirms primacy of federal role and 5) Romneys troubling secrecy. And were supposed to believe that the section gives us an objective viewpoint?
JIM COX Van Wert, Ohio
Other non-residents worthy of memorials
The bridge dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. is an excellent addition to the Fort Wayne cultural landscape. Since the bridge honors someone who did not live in Fort Wayne but is a hero to many here suggests similar honors can be bestowed on other non-residents. To this cause, I put forward the names of Paul Robeson, Robert Hale Merriman and The Abraham Lincoln Battalion, and Leonard Bernstein.
Robeson was an internationally acclaimed singer, stage and screen actor, early NFL player and political activist. During his lifetime he battled racism, U.S. foreign policies and supported the battle against fascism during the Spanish Civil War.
A product of a working-class family, Merriman financed his own college education and became a graduate student with a focus on economics at the University of California Berkley. During his college years, he participated in and led protests and strikes. In 1937, like many Americans from all over the country, he volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War. He rose to the rank of commander of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, which was part of the famed International brigades that fought on the side of the Spanish Republic against fascist forces led by renegade General Francisco Franco. Merriman was killed in action in the spring of 1938. In toto, more than 1 million people died during the civil war. Merriman was Earnest Hemingways model for the character Robert Jordan in the novel and the movie For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Bernstein needs no introduction and would make an excellent choice for a Fort Wayne sculpture garden. His parents were socialists, and he, too, was an anti-fascist.
GEOFFREY WHEELER Fort Wayne