Tuesday, November 8, 2016
#313 / More About That Voting Trick
On October 18th, I wrote a post in this Two Worlds blog titled, "On Voting." In that posting, I called voting a kind of "trick."
Our system of democratic and representative government is the practical methodology by which we are able to amalgamate our separate, and limited, personal powers, so as to make them useful for larger-scale endeavors. We do need to be able to act in a unified way, so we can carry out large-scale projects, projects that are necessary and convenient for society as a whole, and projects that would be far beyond the ability of any one person to carry out individually. We also need to find mechanisms by which we can set rules for our society as a whole, since a society in which each person attempts to make his or her own rules is a society that will automatically be dysfunctional.
Voting is the "trick" that convinces us that we will be alright, and not taken advantage of, as we give away our individual power. We vote for "representatives," and these representatives then govern us, and do so in our name. The only reason that we are willing to be governed by those persons to whom we have conceded the power to govern us is that we understand our system is a system of "self-government." We believe that we, ourselves, give those who govern us the right to do that. Like I say, this is a neat trick. "Voting" is what makes it work.
Most of us are not actually involved, ourselves, in government at all. We are the "governed," not the "governing," and our system of delegated power and authority will only work if almost all of us truly believe that those to whom we give the right to govern us are doing so legitimately. "Voting" for the representatives who govern us is the way we we legitimate the transfer of our individual power to those who will amalgamate our own power with the power of others, and then employ that collective power for what we hope is the "common good." Voting for those who will govern us is the way we talk ourselves into giving up our individual power.
The importance of voting is generally underrated. At least that's what I think. Most of us don't focus very much on the monumental grant of power that is conferred upon our representatives by our periodic elections.
On any Tuesday, as an example, a City Council might take action to change zoning designations, so that height limits are lifted, and so that the heights of buildings will increase on all of the city's major streets.
The City election being held in Santa Cruz today will decide whether the character of Santa Cruz will be fundamentally changed by increasing heights on the City's historic Wharf, and on Pacific Avenue, Front Street, Mission Street, Water Street, Ocean Street, and Soquel Avenue.
I have written about that topic, too, in a recent posting in this blog. There are, essentially, two different "slates," competing for votes in the city election being held today, and the results of the voting will decide which way the city goes. Click this link to read about the choice presented.
When the City Council takes an action at a Tuesday meeting, the headlines in the local newspaper, on Wednesday, often say something like this: "City Grants Approval For Another Large Hotel."
Actually, of course, the "City" had not made that decision, at all. There are more than 60,000 persons residing in the City of Santa Cruz, and the decision the newspaper talked about might well have been made by FOUR members of the City Council. Those four elected representatives were given the power to decide for everyone, so what they did was attributed to "the City."
Our representatives get their power from our vote, and today's the day!
Use your power! Like the image at the top suggests: "Go Vote!"