I’m sorry, I refuse to show respect, tolerance, or “compassion” for the undecided voters who will ultimately decide our election. (Although I admire those who do.) I am much more sympathetic to those poor voters who have been so trod on by the system that they are not convinced that their franchise is worth the trip to the polls than I am the wavering middle class. I’m sick of hearing them on the radio — they seem to crave the attention. They also seem convinced that remaining undecided will somehow force the candidates to become better than they are. In 2000 Alan Wolfe wrote about these people in the New York Times:
what they really seemed to be saying was that they were prepared to hold out, hoping the candidates would tailor positions just for them. The phenomenon of myopic self-interest was captured in the third debate by a woman who asked not about the candidate’s foreign policy, Supreme Court justices or the role of government, but about how the candidate’s tax plans would help her as a single person with no dependents.
There is something wrong with a system that listens the most to those who care about the nation the least. Better those who identify proudly as Democrats or Republicans, even if their loyalty is a byproduct of place or position, than those whose reluctance to announce where they stand is more narcissistic than noble.
Without partisan identification, politics becomes divorced from history. One would never know from the current campaign that Abe Lincoln was a Republican or that Franklin Roosevelt was a Democrat. Without an anchor in a political tradition, voters are unable to recognize that their views on education might be related to their views on Social Security and that both reflect a distinctive philosophical understanding of human purpose.
Voters with no ideology are not self-reliant, but weightless. Shifting from one candidate to another based on gestures and impressions, they crave leadership but will punish any politician who, in offering it, offends their vanity. It is difficult to recall an election with less eloquence about our nation’s calling than this one.
BONUS: Here is a Tom Tomorrow cartoon which sums it all up.
UPDATE: Fixed prose to be more readable.