Sunday, February 22, 2009

Harding for Mayor #2

I enjoy grappling with tough issues. And the recent flap about mayoral candidate Jody Harding is a tough issue.

A year or so ago, Harding wrote that people on the government dole should not be able to vote while on the dole. These people include those who are on food stamps, housing assistance, farmers who receive subsidies and others. The Racine Post has all the details.

The word "crestfallen" probably best describes my initial reaction to this news. But after a day or two of reflection, I have a different view.

For starters, Harding was discussing a real problem. It is a problem when a person votes to enrich themselves. In virtually all other circumstances in real life, this is considered a conflict of interest that should be avoided via a recusal.

For the record, I disagree with Jody Harding. There is no legislative solution for this problem. Detirmining who is or is not voting for selfish reasons is simply not possible. People should not vote for selfish reasons, certainly, but education and morals are the needed antidote to this problem, not disenfranchisement.

And finally, the mayor of Racine would have no authority to disenfranchise anyone, so this whole issue is just a bit of political philosophizing on her part. Granted, it does suggest that Harding may be a bit prone to saying what is on her mind but I like that in a politician. I still hope she wins.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't everyone vote for "selfish" reasons; for whom they think will act in their best interests? You generally vote for the more conservative candidate, if I'm not mistaken, because you thin, for you, it is the most beneficial of the choices available. That is not to say you do not also vote for what you think will be beneficial for your community and for society as a whole, but we all have our "selfish" reasons, I think. Whether or not they are built on correct reasoning is a debate for another day! :D


Denis Navratil said...

We all have selfish interests Mixter as we are all flawed humans. But if too many of us simply look at voting simply as a tool to maximize our own incomes, then civilization will collapse.

Here's an example for you. As a retailer in downtown Racine, I might benifit financially from the Kenosha to Milwaukee train. I oppose it because I think costs will outweigh beni's for the community as a whole.

colt said...

Farmers who receive subsidies How about business owners who receive facade grants? Or benefits from a BID or TIF district?

Denis Navratil said...

Good point Colt. I got some money from the Racines' facade grant program, though it is a pittance compared to what I pay in real estate taxes. But let us not get carried away with this issue. It was a theoretical point about voting and conflict of interest. The problem is that virtually all of us would have some sort of conflicting interest when voting. What is needed is a mature, educated, and honorable electorate and there are no laws that can make that happen.

colt said...

"a mature, educated, and honorable electorate"

I think that never in History can you find one. We all vote to benefit ourselves. Sometimes we can see beyond that, from time to time we all do. The issue I have is how we can educate the voters into paying attention. Another being forcing the government to insure we have the information we need.

Anonymous said...

Colt, how does one combat apathy? It is my opinion that the average voter is just too damn lazy to hunt down the information necessary to make informed decisions. The government could make information more readily available, I agree; but, I can't help but think it wouldn't matter all that much to the average Joe or Jane. I think Denis is correct: What is needed is a mature, educated, and honorable electorate and there are no laws that can make that happen. So, we get what we get.


Rich Preston said...

"Doesn't everyone vote for "selfish" reasons; for whom they think will act in their best interests?"

"We all vote to benefit ourselves."

No. I look up the definition of the office (i.e. the job description) and I compare the resume of the candidates to the job description.

Voting for selfish reasons only encourages pandering for votes.