Winston Churchill’s quip about democracy and the average voter is probably truer and harder to remedy today than ever.
For us on the eve of election 2012, it means, among other things—Don’t vote against President Obama because he’s a Muslim. He’s NOT, though that shouldn’t matter. Don’t vote against Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon. He IS, but that shouldn’t matter either.
Vote on what matters. That’s harder than it sounds, of course, especially these days when it seems like anybody can say anything they want and fact checkers seem mere gnats who want to get in the way with trivial things like actualities. Our news media, splintered now into dozens and dozens of channels, often doesn’t help. Today we could tweak Churchill’s quip, saying, “The greatest argument against democracy is a 5-minute look at an average newscast.” Not all newscasts, though I still maintain that American intelligence would go up five points overnight if people stopped watching Fox News on cable and stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh on anything.
“The greatest argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter.” We hope against hope against the average. Churchill wasn’t right about everything, though he had a knack for distilling issues in words that seemed like absolute truth.