November 02, 2004

Freedom to vote or not to vote

orkut - eclectic´s community - "Freedom" discussion

A long discussion on the definition and meaning of freedom introduced and followed enthusiastically by a new member, Waleed, =) has been putting most of the active members to think and make a contribution about any of the aspects that a question about "freedom" can evoke. One of these subjects brought up to the table was the limits on freedom of speech which led us to freedom to voting, the right all citizens have.

Since this is a subject of deep implications and right now because of US presidential elections is a global theme for commenting and discussing I thought of bring it here, to the blogosphere and make the discussion a public one.

I will start quoting my last comment there:

"Since we are all citizens of our countries.

Since countries are built upon their citizens,

Since citizens have a lot of rights and obligations but had never been trained, neither tested on how to manage those tools consciously and thinking about the greater good for the community...

Since the administration of a country does not rely on the politicians charisma to convince the masses but on their skill and ability as technicians (as lawyers, engineers, staticians, mathematicians, social scientists, etc...)

Since the country´s development, future, representation in front of the other countries, defense, improvement, etc, depends on these administration people for at least 4 years...

Isn´t it crazy that someone who does not read and write can tell who could be appropriate to drive the course of its community? (analphabetism is just the first example that came to my mind)

Isn´t it crazy that the same system that with equanimity with all its citizens the right to vote at the same time it gives them the right not to vote!? I mean: Or we all vote or we all don´t vote, but what is the half-way?

Since we are citizens, again, and haven´t been trained on how to chose good leaders and administrator... and anyway we all vote as we "knew", based on bias, based on feelings, based on tarot, based on faces, TV, etc...

Shouldn´t be a good idea that each voter before making it´s vote should have to pass a 5 minutes test? With little but important questions. A test like this, short and concise:

"Dear citizen, before making your vote we need to know if you match a minimum criteria of knowledge and consciousness about this important act of yours which consequences will impact our whole community life for the next period of years. Please answer the following questions:

1- What is our current president and vice names and which political side they represent.

2- Which is the name of the chief of the parliament, what is his political view and what is the importance of its position in the political system.

3- Name and definition of our political system.

4- Whose political wing / party has more chairs in the parliament at this moment.

5- The two candidates with more changes to win the election are?

6- Which is the professional background of these two candidates (ie. lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc)

7- What are you basing your vote on:
* trust
* candidate´s past performance in other charges
* candidate´s way of winning TV debates
* political party
* other:

8- Which has been the tendency of our economy in the past years:
*recession
*grown
*standstill

9- which are our country´s priorities in terms of Internal and External policies and affairs?

10- Are your conscious that your vote will influence of our country´s destiny and your life for the next years?

Thank you."

And depending on preformatted answers it can be validated or rejected in less than a minute."

I would really like to hear your opinions here on this matter. Adieu.

3 Comments: (go down to newest )


  • Blogger epp ::


  • (slightly edited version copied from orkut)

    You have a point, but... 11/2/2004 3:19 AM
    I think that asking these questions is a good idea. However, if a person does not know the answers, they should have the opportunity to be presented with this info, even if in more simplified form. I believe every person has the right to know and be informed, as well as to vote, as I already said.

    In turn, can the politician be given a questionaire which asks - what is the reality of living with a nine-member family in a one room home, forced to live on chemical-contaminated water, in an area experiencing much higher than average unemployment, living in poverty because your traditional ways of sustainability and livelihood has been interrupted by big business and potential jobs have been offered to strangers from afar and the poison in your water is making your children sick and you cannot pay for the medicine...

    Please, there are more perspectives to politics than the political structure, how different political parties have performed in the past and the past-present states of the economy, etc. The perspective of the family described above reflects the performance of the government etc, just as truthfully and if not with more insight than the above questions.

    I think the questions presented are relevant and all people should be educated about this. But if they are not, does this not reflect on the government too?

    People will always vote with their greatest needs being a priority. No matter whether they understand the system and its record or not.

    I must say that there are plenty of educated people who do not give a damn about the needs of these "other" sorts of people, whose children are our future. Are they more qualified to vote?

    11:31 AM  

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  • Blogger Gisela Giardino ::


  • (also slightly edited from the orkut thread ;-)

    Soulsis Epp,


    Let me make a clarification: I am congruent with freedom of speech and election. It is not about letting the most in need people without assistance and without someone who represent them. Quite the opposite, it is about trying to optimize the system in some way.

    If I had a true solution for this I would probably already have tried to do something. But the complexity and tension of this subject is what makes us be discussing it here. I see that some way or another we are assuming all the different views posible for this discussion.

    Epp, you are right. And so is Bill and Edmar at Orkut. I agree with you. People´s needs have to be met, this has no discussion at all. The needs of a family like the one you describe (let me tell you I live in a country in which more than 50% of population is below the poverty line) should be a "what to do" for ANY administration, a MUST and not something to depend on voting.

    Freedom to vote and speak don´t feed neither educate that people. What I mean to say here is that the ethical and moral command of administrating to meet people´s needs in the greater extent is something our politicians lack of, regardless people raising their voices, rioting and/or pacifically voting.

    Voting (qualificated as I suggested) should be a matter of "how to"´s. A question of deciding who is the best group of professionals to make the "what" (meet people´s need) be a true fact.

    We always end up in the same point: lack of moral end ethic. As a song I really like says:

    "everybody is born to compete as he choses, but who can someone win when it means that someone looses"

    I use to say that the problem is not in the system, but in men´s hearts. This is just another example, methinks...

    9:49 PM  

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  • Blogger Gisela Giardino ::


  • In the word of one of the brightest souls ever, who could put together Leadership, Politics, Peace & Freedom: John F. Kennedy.

    Extracted from the Inaugural Address [page 3]:


    "[...]Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversaries, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace; before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course. . .both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of Mankind's final war.

    So let us begin anew. . .remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms. . .and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce. Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah. . .to "undo the heavy burdens. . . let the oppressed go free."

    And if a beachhead of co-operation may push back the jungle of suspicion. . . let both sides join in creating not a new balance of power. . . but a new world of law. . .where the strong are just. . . and the weak secure. . .and the peace preserved. . . .

    All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days. . . nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

    In your hands, my fellow citizens. . .more than mine. . .will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe. Now the trumpet summons us again. . . not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need. . .not as a call to battle. . . though embattled we are. . .but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle. . .year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation. . .a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny. . .poverty. . .disease. . .and war itself. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance. . .North and South. . . East and West. . .that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

    In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger; I do not shrink from this responsibility. . .I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. . .and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

    And so, my fellow Americans. . .ask not what your country can do for you. . .ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world. . .ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the Freedom of Man.

    Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds; let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

    Rest in Peace & God bless you.

    Some more on JFK

    3:38 AM  

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