scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: Citizenship And Scouting
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Wed Aug 23 2000 - 13:29:54 CDT
<Cheryl Singhal wrote>
Voting for the man running 6th in a field of 5 *IS* a wasted vote in terms
of its impact on the outcome. The way the Electoral College works, the size
of the plurality doesn't count, only the number of Electoral votes.
So, if you truly wish your vote to "count" in the sense of having an effect,
you MUST vote for one of the candidates most likely to win.
Cheryl and others,
It never fails. Just when I needed it, the list turns to a subject I need.
Between now and election day, my Scouts have demanded that the troop covers
the citizenship merit badges. Since a major part of citizenship is the
rights and responsibilities of citizens, this discussion will be beneficial
In response to the comments above, and others along the same vein, I can
only say that the only wasted vote is an uncast vote. Regardless of who you
vote for, or your reasons for voting, if you cast a vote, it will be
counted. It may not result in a vote in the Electoral College, but the vote
will be counted.
And let's face it, regardless of the merits of their platforms, neither
Nader nor Buchanan is likely to win the necessary number of electoral votes.
It is fatally easy for the so-minded to field enough unlikely-to-win
candidates to strip votes from any candidate. Let's say, for instance, that
Nader had two more Green opponents ... the Green vote would split 3 ways,
and guarantee none of them would win.
This time, at least there are four candidates, two conservative and two
liberal, and it's a little more fair that way. (g)
It's odd, but third, fourth, fifth, and sixth party candidates never get any
coverage in the media unless they are famous people. Long before Ross Perot,
there was a major third party known as the Libertarians. Before Perot they
managed to get a respectable number of votes in presidential elections. They
were never represented on any media polls (and still aren't). The Green
party has been around a lot longer than Ralph Nader. They never appeared on
any media polls until Nader showed up. There have always been alternatives
to the major parties.
Every citizen of the United States has the right to vote. Every citizen also
has the responsibility to vote. How you use your vote not only tells the
political parties what America thinks, it says a lot about who you are. The
only way to make sure your voice won't be heard is to NOT open your mouth.
When the election is over, all the votes are counted, and the Electoral
College determines who will be the next president, ever vote cast will have
been counted. Every vote for the Nader (Green) WILL have an impact. Ever
vote for Buchanan (Reform) WILL have an impact. Every vote for Browne
(Libertarian), Gore (Democrat), and Bush (Republican) WILL have an impact.
The only votes that will NOT have an impact are uncast votes. Yes, the
"major" parties will tell you that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, or
that a vote for Buchanan is a vote for Gore. That's what we call scare
tactics. It reveals the underlying philosophy of the "major" parties.
Think of it this way: If I vote for my favorite candidate, and my neighbor
stays home, he's allowing me to make his choice for him. He may not like my
candidate, but I'm the one who made the choice. If I vote for my favorite
candidate, and my neighbor votes for another candidate, we've each made our
choice. Even if my candidate wins, my neighbors vote will have an impact
because the winning candidate HAS to pay attention to it.
As Scout leaders, a presidential election year is a great time to not only
to discuss citizenship, but to teach some valuable lessons in citizenship.
Most of my Scouts recently finished the eighth grade. In preparation for
working on the citizenship merit badges, I asked them some questions about
citizenship. One Scout insisted that the US Constitution says the a
candidate for president has to be 40 years old. Another Scout no only
couldn't name his Congressional representatives, claimed that the reason our
representative in the House is called "Congressman" is because "he's the
most current." This from the same Scouts who visited Washington DC earlier
this year, and had little problem explaining their rights (some problems
explaining their responsibilities) a couple months ago.
I encourage every member of this forum to not just look at the candidates.
Investigate the platforms. In more than a couple cases, I think you'll be
very surprised. For instance, how many of you know that a major plank of the
Green Party is to "Abolish the disproportional, aristocratic US Senate." To
be fair, Ralph Nader's platform doesn't include that plank, but there are
plenty of other surprises (like redistribution of wealth, community boards,
lots of federal entitlements). Please, take a few minutes to become informed
voters and join the great debate; encourage others to join the debate and
cast their votes as well.
A. J. Mako, Scoutmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council