[This is it. The last one I will ever post on voting. Whew. Feels good.]
So, this news is slightly old. To be honest, I wrote this a few months ago and forgot about it. But then someone asked me about it in class this past week (as I was ranting about religion and the environment) and I remembered that I was trying to piece together some thoughts, not only why people may want to be reluctant to vote (representative democracy being the sham that it is), but what it would mean to have basic requirements for voting. I know, I know, that’s terrifying. Given this country’s history of limiting the vote, it is absolutely terrifying! No doubt. But then I read an article like the one below where people are flocking to New Jersey to see Mother Mary in a tree . . . and it made me reconsider.
I can’t lie. This frightens me. Why do we have any faith, at all, in the human race? Between the approximate three decades in all of recorded human history where a war was not occurring, and Mary carved into a tree, I just don’t get it. Come on. Admit it. We are an insane species. Insane. Nuts. I mean, ‘balls to the walls/vaginas in the Carolinas‘ crazy. Therefore, since we’re being open about this, allow me to pose this question/comment/whatever:
Would I come across as a bit too much like Sam Harris (or Plato) if I were to even think something to the effect of . . . ya know, um . . . and I’m just thinking out loud here, so don’t freak out . . . but . . . um, maybe, and I’m just saying maybe, as a mere thought-experiment, maaaaaaaybe these people shouldn’t be allowed to vote?
Whew, that was a tough one to get out.
Look, I’m only asking over here, so put down the pitchforks (though they are understandable). Yet, is there ever a sense in which if you think you see “Mary” (or an icon of the virgin or anyone else for that matter) in a tree that maybe you should have a slightly more limited voice in determining the day to day activities of other human beings on this planet? I’m just wondering is all. I’m just trying to figure out how I should feel about such ‘visionaries’ having a determinative ‘say-so’ in things such as education, foreign policy, and when I can and cannot purchase that which the good Lord fermented.
Does this make me a fascist?
I’m just not sure I feel good about people who think 2,000 year-old-dead people are sending them messages through trees to be the ones voting into office a person who has the capabilities of nuking the planet. Seems like a bad idea. It sort of reminds me of The Vandals‘ brilliant little ditty, Choose Your Masters. In the song, they lament the idea that MTV’s campaign to ‘Rock the Vote’ means that people who watch reality TV, listen to unoriginal and pre-programmed corporate music, and are the most self-entitled generation to ever exist, are the ones determining the good of this particular body-politic.
‘Now let me get this straight
you want MTV viewers,
the worlds biggest losers,
This idea’s wrong.
In fact there ought to be a law:
if you can sit through a Silverchair video
you shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all.’
(I know, the song is a little dated. Just substitute Silverchair with Fergie. Is that dated, too? Crap. Um . . . Foo Fighters? Hell, I don’t know. You’ll have to forgive me, as I have taste in music. I can’t know these things.)
Granted, even if you could limit a person’s voting capabilities based on their personal beliefs, religious or not, where would you draw the line? Mormons are going to inherit a ‘terrestrial kingdom’, Scientologists have Xenu, Christians are resurrected so they can strut down streets of gold with Bono, Muslims get lots of hot babes in a brand new garden (I ended up in the wrong religion . . . again), and the Amish actually find bonnets sexy.
Okay, okay . . . so do I.
Now, of course, you know I’m just kidding about limiting people’s voting capabilities, right?
Of course, I’m kidding. In fact, I think everyone should vote! Seriously. Ages 4 and up. Because there is absolutely no chance that the average four-year-old is any less dangerous to this world (what with their eccentric beliefs in Tinkerbell, The Lorax, and SpongeBob SquarePants and all) than what passes for the kind of adult who sees dead people in trees.
I’m just saying.
PS: Yes, below I listed a number of books by Shermer. It’s a little embarrassing. There are holes galore in these books–big holes, for sure. Nevertheless, there are a number of moments that make them a worthwhile read, even if but to give yourself some good ‘anti-what I think’ material. That’s all. Oh, and to make things even more convoluted, I included a book on why Christians should abstain from voting. I know, right? Why am I talking about these things when I’m not even a voter? (Sorry, guys and gals, I try to limit my religious rituals to just one religion–it’s hard to do). As a ‘Christian anarchist’ (he says with a smirk), why would I care if people who see Jesus on a waffle or Mary in a tree vote?
It’s because I’m just crazy that way. (Ah, get it? Get it? It’s because we’re all insane.)
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.