Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Election Season Again

Well, I can see by my calendar and can tell by the scent of the air that it’s election season again. Now it’s election season ALL the time. What a treat for us. The last time this came around I made a note for myself in (of all places) my note book to set down some words about voter demographics. My curiosity at the time was pointing me toward the differences in attitudes between younger and older voters.

I started with the premise that, in our system, there are two political parties; Democrats and Republicans. Okay, three if you figure Independents, but they aren’t really a party, just rebellious subjects of the Ds and Rs. Then there are the Libertarians I suppose…… and the Communists, and the Socialists. The Greeeeeeeeen Party. My premise was clearly unworkable. The positions of the various parties overlap to some degree and even the major parties aren’t really separated by much on many many issues. So I simplified my categorization to separate the electorate into only two groups (not parties); those who favor larger government, and those who favor smaller government, this, while still trying to think about the difference in attitudes between older and younger. What I have done here is to arbitrarily claim that Democrats are of the former persuasion and Republicans the latter, although this is quite obviously not any longer the case, indeed if it ever was.

I think that this whole idea must have come to me while I was looking at one of the Red State / Blue State maps, that we’ll all be sick of seeing before Thanks Giving, and how it appears that the highest concentrations of Democratic voters appears in the large metropolitan areas on the coasts and in the Metro “islands” scattered across the country. So. Does living in a metropolitan area cause the population to lean toward favoring a larger government, and if it does, why is that so? I was also hearing that younger voters (18 – 30) were more likely favor larger government along with many senior citizens. And then an idea struck me. As it turned out it wasn’t so much an idea as it was a book that fell off a poorly constructed shelf as Bob, my coworker, came into our over crowded work space and banged the door a little too hard.

It occurred to me that younger voters, just beyond their adolescence, and older voters, nearing, or in retirement, are much more willing to see themselves as being dependent on someone (in this case the government) to provide care for them that they are unable or unwilling to provide for themselves. The same reasoning applies to residents of large cities. They simply can not exist without a whole host of governmental services and so they don’t have to stretch too far to see themselves as being dependent on government for their survival and well being. Out in the open areas of our vast nation lie the Red states, full of Republicans (or half full anyway), working people who are in their prime, and feeling at the height of their power and independence. You remember independence. It’s the very heart of what this country is all about. Remember?

So there it is. All worked out. The Blue areas on the map are dominated by younger voters who haven’t yet learned how to take care of themselves, and older voters who are no longer able to take care of themselves. They live there side by side with people who are conditioned by their experience to believe that there simply is no survival without the complex web of infrastructure and subsidy that the government creates. You can throw into this group several minority groups (that shall here remain nameless, [because I don’t want to start no shit] but you know who they are).

I was nine years old when I heard John Kennedy make that speech:

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. “

Everyone thought John Kennedy to be a great man, and his passing a tragedy of global proportion, but we show profound disrespect for him and his ideals when we accept from government what we could do for ourselves.

But that’s what an average guy thinks.

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