Re: [sixties-l] Bedtime for Democracy

From: Jerry West (
Date: 01/02/01

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] Fwd: Kwanzaa: Holiday From The FBI"

    Ted Morgan wrote:
    Jerry West wrote: The rational decision not to vote is a decision to let
    others make the decisions.
    To which I would reply that for these non-voters (and well, to a fair
    degree, most of us), "others" have already, in effect, "made the
    decisions."  The very fact that the possibilities in a normal 2-party
    election do no include anyone who will in reality address the felt needs
    of the powerless means that they are already disempowered by the
    money/tv/primary process that weeds out anyone who would.
    JW reply:
    Yes, Ted, but the fact remains that by not voting one is conceding one's
    right to have a say.  It is a bit of a stretch to claim that because
    only half of the eligible voters turned out that the winner does not
    have majority support, that is of course unless you present accurate
    statistics that prove why people did not vote.
    As an aside, think what would happen if all of those who do not vote did
    vote for someone other than the two main candidates.  It could be done
    if the will power existed to do it, despite the process that weeds them
    out mentally through disinformation and incomplete information.
    TM wrote:
    Jerry goes on to comment on my remarks about the media-narrowed system
    (that "with the effect than any substantive criticism remotely radical
    is virtually invisible in the mainstream media --as are a host of ills
    produced by this very liberal-capitalist-imperialist system")
    JW: People may be excluded from the benefits of society and from
    adequate coverage in the media because that is the way the system wants
    it, but their exclusion from the polls is a conscious act on their part,
    even if it might be motivated by the perceptions fostered by the
    I'm a bit puzzled by his Jerry's first point --apparently the system
    "wants" the powerless to receive "inadequate" media coverage and
    "exclusion" from society's benefits, but not (?) their exclusion from
    the polls (election booths?) because this latter is self-chosen by the
    powerless.  Seems like a little garbled reasoning to me.
    JW reply:
    You make my point when you point out subsequently the recognition by the
    elites to manage votes through control of information.
    My point is that the way the system is set up is to deliver a selected
    message through the media, including entertainment and advertising as
    well as news, that will narrow the parameters of debate for most people,
    then encourage them (get out the vote) to cast a ballot based on skewed
    information.  Looks good, more subtle than poll taxes or other methods
    of winnowing out the unreliable vote.  Of course if people find the
    whole thing either confusing or hopeless and do not vote, mission
    accomplished anyhow, and the fault can be laid on lazy voters.
    The fact remains, that the powerless may be conditioned to vote in a
    certain way, and/or they can become totally put off by the system, but
    they can overcome this conditioning.  If they do not, it may be in part
    a systemic problem, but it is also a matter of choice.
    Jerry West
    News and Views from Nootka Sound & Canada's West Coast
    An independent, progressive regional publication

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : 01/02/01 EST