Thursday, November 04, 2004

Voting against ones best interest

One more quick note on the topic-du-jour. Last night during the DfA meetup, as we were discussing the problems Democrats have with message. I recall several participants talking about how Republicans have convinced rural and working class voters to vote against their best interest by using a faith-based appeal. This was, thankfully, not meant as a criticism of those people's faith. It was, however, an arrogant criticism none the less.

Why?

Because these people are voting in their best interest as they understand it!

This is something that Democrats have to understand. For many in the faith-based community, the question of what is the best moral solution to the problems our society face trumps the question of what is the best economic solution to those problems. We have to understand that not everyone thinks purely in terms of economic self interest.

"What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul?" -- Luke 9:25

Many people are searching hard for the answer to what is the best course of action that will stand them in good stead with their conscience and with their God. If we simply berate people for "voting against their self-interest" we will lose them further. (1) Because no one likes to be lectured to and (2) because we are once again questioning the legitimacy of their faith.

Let's get this straight: people who voted for Bush did so because they thought it was in their best interest. Our opinion on whether they made the right choice matters for shit.

If we are to continue to be fighters for democracy then we must accept that, in a democracy, people are going to have a different idea about what is "in their best interest" and that having a different idea does not necessarily mean they are stupid or deluded or scared or misguided.

Respect people's beliefs and maybe they will respect yours.

And then maybe, just maybe, they will start to come around to your way of thinking.

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