Apparently, US president Barack Obama has been flirting with the idea of mandatory voting. He seemed to think that it would transform elections, but really all it’s probably doing right now is making people who are already mad at him even more at him, if that’s even possible. Naturally Obama’s floating around of the idea of compulsory voting has created a backlash against him, as so it should do, and he has been said to retreat from the idea as a response, but I think it should mean that people don’t support him for long.
I think Obama, in his desire for reform, has forgotten that choosing not to endorse any political body or figure is an essential part of our civil rights. To discard that right just to increase voter turnout and support for political institutions is to escape the concept of civil rights entirely. To deny the right to not vote for anyone is, at the fundamental level, taking away the right to choice. People talk about how patriotic it is to vote, but what’s so patriotic about supporting your country if you don’t have a choice? Your patriotism is worthless if you can’t choose patriotism, and your vote is worthless if you can’t choose to vote or not vote.
Obama also seems to think more voter turnout is a sign of better governance, which is inherently misleading a premise. Good governance is its own virtue. It’s measured by your actions as a leader and how you run your country, not by how many people you get to support it in exchange for their liberty. Delusion is the inevitable result of valuing the system over liberty, and the result of that delusion will show. And I really don’t think Obama’s idea’s would’ve changed much. He wants to get rid of campaign money, but I think mandatory voting wouldn’t get rid of it because, even in mandatory voting, you’d still have the electoral campaigns which get the same money. Oh, and the wheels of congress would still be oiled the same way. Forcing people to vote does not fix that, and I have a feeling that anybody who thinks that the problems of our social environment can be solved with the values of forced social participation then they’re in for a real disappointment.