Should I vote when I am un­fa­mil­iar with the is­sues?

Westside Eagle-Observer - - OPINION - By Harold Pease, Ph.D

Ev­ery other year we are sub­jected to a na­tional elec­tion. It is the price we must pay for our lib­erty and our re­pub­lic. Free­dom is not a nor­mal hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. Most of hu­man­ity never had it. There are al­ways those who would rule us tyran­ni­cally. Once em­pow­ered, they nor­mally rule for life and it takes blood­shed to get rid of them.

Un­like peo­ple of most coun­tries, we have the op­por­tu­nity to turn away those who would un­der­mine our per­sonal lib­erty or limit our free speech: those who want to “forcechange” our gov­ern­ment from a re­pub­lic to a democ­racy and fi­nally to so­cial­ism; those who do not value or un­der­stand the Con­sti­tu­tion but still wish to rule over us; those who en­cour­age pol­i­tics of con­fronta­tion and in­tim­i­da­tion; those who do not honor our border, even en­cour­ag­ing il­le­gals to break it down. We have em­pow­ered enough of these types.

The­o­ret­i­cally, just one ig­no­rant gen­er­a­tion or one col­lec­tive “bad vote” could lose it for all of us for gen­er­a­tions to come. For most, fill­ing out a bal­lot and the weeks in­volved in study­ing the is­sues and vot­ing in­tel­li­gently is not fun, but is a small price to pay for lib­erty.

With time, we for­get the price our fore­fa­thers paid for us to have more per­sonal lib­erty than any other civ­i­liza­tion in world his­tory and the pros­per­ity that em­anates from a peo­ple free from ex­ces­sive gov­ern­ment. As a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor, I of­ten ad­vo­cated a field trip liv­ing for a time un­der The Na­tional So­cial­ist Ger­man Work­ers Party (NAZI), yes so­cial­ism, un­der Adolph Hitler, or un­der so­cial­ism as prac­ticed in the USSR by Joseph Stalin, or so­cial­ism un­der Fidel Cas­tro in Cuba. Or, to­day, the re­sults of it as prac­ticed in Venezuela.

Peo­ple fled these coun-

tries to have what we have. One could not pub­licly con­demn their lead­ers, dis­trib­ute Bi­bles or at­tend church with­out be­ing ar­rested, tor­tured and given long prison sen­tences. Our vet­er­ans died in for­eign lands pro­tect­ing us from so­cial­ism. Now politi­cians bring it to our doorsteps and we vote for it. My point, free­dom is not free, never has been and, worse, can be lost by votes.

So, in fu­ture elec­tions, should I vote when I am un­fa­mil­iar with the is­sues? Yes, but only on the is­sues that you have paid the price to know.

Hav­ing said this, it is also true that in some vot­ing cat­e­gories, such as judges, it is un­likely to be to­tally in­formed. These are ap­pointed and un­con­tested seats. No po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy pref­er­ences are cited. The only way an in­tel­li­gent voter could dis­cern would be to have been in the can­di­dates’ court­room as an ob­server, vic­tim or one ac­cused of a crime. These in­stances are un­likely for 90 per­cent of the vot­ing pop­u­la­tion. Thus there is no shame in leav­ing vot­ing to those that have had “real” ex­pe­ri­ence.

The county sher­iff may be the most im­por­tant of­fi­cial on the bal­lot be­cause he is the only elected law en­force­ment agent stand­ing between you and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Does he know this and will he choose to pro­tect you should such a clash hap­pen? Few will, but in 2013 most sher­iffs in the Western States did stand against the Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s at­tempt to rede­fine the Sec­ond Amend­ment of the Bill of Rights. Sup­port a sher­iff who will pro­tect your con­sti­tu­tional rights!

Some propo­si­tions or pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments, too, are so com­plex and full of legalese that many vot­ers are not qual­i­fied to vote in­tel­li­gently. Most vot­ers get their views on these is­sues from 20-sec­ond pro or con po­lit­i­cal ads — hardly re­li­able sources. In a re­pub­lic, we hire those we feel to be qual­i­fied to un­der­stand these deep con­cerns through elec­tions. For 40 years, I asked my stu­dents how many months, weeks, days or hours they stud­ied a propo­si­tion. If less than a day, un­less you have ex­per­tise in the area, why should you feel qual­i­fied to have the same power as one who spent months? Leave it blank. Let those who have in­vested this kind of time make the de­ci­sion.

Bond is­sues are com­plex only in that many peo­ple do not as­so­ciate bonds as debt. If they did, far fewer would be ap­proved. What­ever the bond, largely ed­u­ca­tion, you are agree­ing to be taxed for some lengthy pe­riod of time. Of­ten these are some­what dis­hon­est. Those push­ing bond is­sues al­most al­ways show the most im­pov­er­ished cir­cum­stances as nor­mal for their dis­tricts, thus por­tray­ing the chil­dren as vic­tims and those who op­pose as “against ed­u­ca­tion.” Our cul­ture lav­ishly funds high-class ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties. As an ed­u­ca­tor, I have not seen a sit­u­a­tion where a lit­tle “belt-tight­en­ing” was not pos­si­ble. Pre­pare to be called a heretic, how­ever, if you op­pose this “sa­cred cow.” Fi­nally, there are never any bonds pro­posed to as­sist char­ter or home­school­ing, which is in­creas­ingly the choice of many par­ents. These folks are forced to pay for the gov­ern­ment schools and home schools.

I hope these sug­ges­tions help in fu­ture elec­tions. Re­al­ize, how­ever, that you may be a bet­ter cit­i­zen by leav­ing the things that you have not per­son­ally stud­ied blank — oth­er­wise, your vote could make you dan­ger­ous to the con­cepts of a re­pub­lic, the Con­sti­tu­tion and lib­erty. You do not want to be the one ig­no­rant gen­er­a­tion or one col­lec­tive “bad vote” that lost it for all of us for gen­er­a­tions to come.

Harold W. Pease, Ph.D., is a syn­di­cated colum­nist and an ex­pert on the United States Con­sti­tu­tion. He has ded­i­cated his ca­reer to study­ing the writ­ings of the Found­ing Fa­thers and ap­ply­ing that knowl­edge to cur­rent events. He taught his­tory and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence from this per­spec­tive for more than 30 years at Taft Col­lege. To read more of his weekly ar­ti­cles, please visit Lib­er­tyUn­derFire.org.

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