Robin Olsen has lived for half a century. No experience is a bad experience unless we learn nothing from it.
Politics can be a confusing mess, especially for the uninitiated.
- Issues are presented without facts.
- Fear mongering runs rampant in all our political discourse.
- We have candidates who think insulting the other candidate while ignoring questions on issues is how to win votes.
This article is written to help sort out the political mess we are in. It is not meant to be a immediate solution, but rather an attempt to change how we vote and how we choose a candidate. What we have seen in North America over the last few years is fear mongering, race baiting, putting international issues that are irrelevant above important local issues, and catering to minorities over the needs of the majority. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work. We need to get back on track here. Hopefully some of what I am presenting will resonate with those who read it.
Understanding the Issues on the Ballot
Many of us do not fully understand the issues we are voting on. Be that a single issue or multiple issues and in an effort to win the vote we generally get fear mongering about issues instead of facts to vote on. It may actually be impossible for an average citizen to understand all the ins and outs of every issue there is but there are general things we should keep an eye out for whenever we are presented with an issue to vote on.
The biggest one is issues presented with a global meaningless statement. For example gay rights. We hear this a lot nowadays … gay rights stated just like that, with no accompanying information or clarification about exactly what they mean by gay rights. How are we supposed to vote on something presented like this? Gay rights? Which gay rights?
People who campaign on gay rights should be forced to present a list of all the rights gays do not have now but the movement would like to see accompanied by a listing of all active bills in congress which were introduced to remove those rights (or executive orders). Only after we have such information can we comment on the state of gay rights but you never get that info do you? You only get a global statement about ’gay rights’ as if they presently had no rights. They do of course, in fact in North American societies gays are pretty much treated equally. So then what do they mean when they say ‘Gay Rights’? Do they want special privilege or are they looking to mandate a law that somehow forces those individuals who do not like gays to like gays? Most likely neither and they are using a global statement to elicit an emotional response that leads to you voting for them. Racism is presented in the same way, a general global and normally meaningless statement designed to enflame a negative emotional response that leads to us voting for that politician but we never actually get a good view of exactly what the problems are with racism, what leads to those problems and most importantly, how to actually solve those problems. Global meaningless statements lead to misunderstandings of exactly what the issue is and what those voting on the issue can expect from the outcome. Never get behind any issue that is presented to you in global all encompassing (and meaningless in the end) statements as this is simply a distraction attempt. When presented with this look for what they are not talking about. That is most likely a more important issue for you to consider.
Race Baiting and Hate Mongering
Beware of speeches laden with race baiting and hate mongering. These politicians are not actually discussing issues they are simply enflaming hatred in order to generate an emotional response that leads to you voting for them. Nazis were pretty good at this until they did away with elections all together… but if you ever listen to an early speech by Adolf Hitler you will get a good example of political race baiting and hate mongering. There are modern examples within our own political systems too. Walk away from anyone who says they want to talk about issues yet spends all their campaign time insulting the other candidate. Such people have no concern for issues and again are trying to trick you into a knee jerk emotional response that leads to you voting for them. They will not be any better than the one they are insulting. So we need to be careful when deciding which issues we should support and which ones we should not. We will never know everything there is to know about them but we can determine how much the politician knows by how he/she speaks about them
The Single Issue Voter
Single issue voting is a hallmark of the liberal movement and incredibly dangerous in a democracy. Most lock onto their one issue and vote for that candidate who supports their stance on that one issue and then they dismiss themselves from any responsibility for the actions of elected officials afterwards by saying "I didn’t vote for them to do that."
What single issue voters need to understand is that even though they may only care about one issue when they vote, they are actually supporting every single stance that individual they are voting for has on every single issue there is. Regardless on if they thought of that issue before hand or not. Single issue voters are also easily manipulated as they tend to over value their one issue’s importance when stacked against all the other issues. Gay rights, for example, needs to take a back seat when the one candidate who supports gay rights also supports a nuclear exchange between superpowers or the use of nuclear weapons to force regime change in foreign countries.
This is something single issue voters never consider because they never think about anything else but their one issue and have no real clue about ‘The Big Picture’ or where their one issue fits into that big picture. So a candidate can focus on that one issue to the exclusion of all other issues of importance and by doing so can deceive the voter into voting for something they would otherwise have never supported had they been paying proper attention. Then, when a politician does something bad, they claim to have ‘total support’ but most who voted for them had no real clue they were going to do what they did. Liberals in general seem to be stuck on one or two issues that are really not that important when stacked up against things like escalating unemployment or a shrinking middle class or global warfare. But to them it is all that matters. Corrupt politicians love single issue voters, but they are a true danger to any democracy.
The Professional Activist
Perhaps one of the biggest deceivers out there is the professional activist. A professional activist is someone who clings to one issue and protests constantly about it but never offers any sort of solution to that issue and actually opposes outright any offered solution to the problem because they actually have no interest in ending their protests and a solution would do that. That they tend to protest people more than issues is another sign of a professional activist. They tend to support ‘discussion groups’ and ‘conferences’ that simply involve a bunch of people sitting around complaining but again, offer no real solution to the issues being protested as this would end the protests. They don’t even want to seriously discuss any sort of solution.
Some professional activists have even made a decent living off of their protests by creating a ‘group’ then living off the donations to that group. They wish to ‘raise awareness’ for whatever issue they are protesting but that ‘awareness’ falls short of actually solving any problems. Again, because this would mean an end to their ‘cause’ and they would need to get a day job after that. There is also recognition to consider. Sometimes people get famous by starring in movies, sometimes by writing good music, and sometimes they get the same level of attention by protesting. Of course, a movie star maintains their fame by making more movies and when they don’t they fade from the public spotlight. Same with musicians, they write music to stay relevant and when they stop they fade away from the spotlight too. A professional activist cannot simply ‘come up with a new issue’ to stay relevant and as such wants the issue that got them the attention to begin with to stay ‘an issue’ indefinitely. In this way they keep the spotlight and the money flowing … indefinitely. A good analogy is the military industrial complex – they make money selling weapons so you would think war would be good for their business but it isn’t really as their factories are subjected to bombings just as the opponent’s factories are. The ‘threat of war’ therefore will generate a lot more money indefinitely than actual war would right? Same with the professional activist – the cause is what feeds them and when the cause is gone (Read: Resolved – no longer an issue) they starve.
Once someone gets on a gravy train it is very hard to get them back off that train again. They resist. They are comfortable, they have cameras pointed at them and they are made to feel important. People ask them questions and seem to care about the answers. They are not going to get that feeling from an ordinary day job. So we need to ask ourselves whenever we think of supporting this or that issue, does this group actually want to solve the problem or are they just in it for the ride so to speak. Anyone who works within a union environment probably already knows a couple of professional activists, especially if they work at the union head offices. Be alert for these types… make sure you are supporting an issue with a goal to resolving the issue, if the point is just to protest then there is no point.
Ideology and the Voting Public
Most of us voting types, single issue or otherwise, see ideological beliefs as the single most important thing to study regarding any politician you may want to vote for. We tend to lock ourselves into political parties to do this. We vote for colors… blue, red, orange, purple, green. We are ‘conservatives’, we are ‘liberals’ – left wing vs. right wing, etc. The funny thing about ideology is that it is all a big pile of ‘Insert appropriate word here’ at the end of the day and ideological beliefs are used to trick voters into supporting someone whom, if they actually studied the person they would never have voted for. To me, if I had to make a list, ideological beliefs and party affiliation would be almost third and fourth on my list of important things to consider. The first two would be honesty then integrity. Both these things come before ideology because it would be illogical to believe in a known liar who most likely is just ringing your ideological bell to get your votes and has no intentions of actually performing as advertised afterwards but will claim to ‘have total support’. So an honest person who seems totally opposite to your ideological beliefs is by far a superior choice over a liar who is most likely blowing sunshine up your skirt to get your vote.
Beware of professional activists posing as politicians. If you think a single issue voter is bad for a democracy what would a single issue president or prime minister look like? How bad would that be? Corrupt politicians are also a major concern when the voter only looks at ideology. Corrupt politicians have become masters at manipulating people who only follow an ideological belief and may not be paying full attention to whom they are supporting. They say what the voter wants to hear then do whatever amuses them afterwards and just claim to ‘have your full support’. Professional activists are extremely dangerous to any functioning society if they are allowed to form the government. They will never care about anything but their one issue and they will go to war over it regardless on how unimportant that one issue is and they tend to try and force their opinions on to the entire world when they get into these types of positions and that causes wars. America has actually been living with that throughout the last 8 years of the previous administration and it shows. The number of wars America is involved in has gone up and the reasons behind all those wars are incredibly suspect too. Not to mention all the trillions of dollars this is costing American taxpayers. So it is important that we consider honesty and integrity first, then ideological platforms when deciding who to throw our votes behind. Otherwise we will be deceived.
The Day After the Vote: Living With the Hangover
So now you have voted. Your candidate lost so what do you do? Protest? That makes no sense. The people have spoken and the system has decided, protesting the election results simply because you did not like the outcome is exactly the kind of twisted activity that professional activist will drag us into if we let them. The protests are meaningless as the system has already decided and even if you make the winner look like the loser he/she is still the winner. You accomplish nothing at all by protesting. Those currently protesting the results of the recent American election are doing nothing but degrading their own cause. They preach about stopping violence while committing acts of violence. You are not protesting for your own benefit either, all those protestors are being used as tools to further the agendas of those who sponsored the protests to begin with. So a better solution would be to go home, settle yourself down and seriously consider why your ‘side’ lost the election. Add to this that, according to the footage, most of these protesters are kids who are either too young to vote or simply didn’t vote at all. The country will not benefit from what is happening now and many senators need to remember they have a job to do and that job is not to constantly protest government and disrupt congress and the senate. This is seriously stupid as if you hamstring the senate and the congress and make it so they cannot function you will end up with nothing but executive order after executive order. In essence, the protests are making it possible for the President to be a dictator. In fact they are making it a requirement really as the nation is not functional unless he does become a dictator. So those senators from the losing party in America need to settle down and remember they are there to govern not protest. If they cannot govern then they should resign immediately and make way for someone who can. Then they can go out into the parking lot and stand with the rest of the protesters.
So there you have it. Single issue voters, Professional Activists and candidates who are corrupt and hoped that a combined force of assorted minority groups can overcome the majority have led to what we see today on the streets and in the senate and congress of the American people. This problem is not limited to America either, many so-called ‘free’ democracies are caught in the exact same trap – Canada, Britain and France just to name a couple of them. We must open our minds to all the issues regardless on if they happen to matter to us at the moment or not. We cannot allow ourselves to be tricked by corrupt politicians or professional activists and we cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by single issues. These failings will only be seized upon to hurt us and manipulate us into doing things we would never normally do.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Robin Olsen
Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on October 18, 2019:
Honesty and integrity are values in any society or nation. In the end it is not up to the corporation that gives money to vote for an individual. We vote in the end. Campaign contributions are definitely a method of determining where the true values of the candidate lie so it is good to monitor such things for voters.
OTYENO NOMMY on October 17, 2019:
What do you think could be done for countries that are underdevelop and what determine the vote is simply how much money a candidate can give to the voters? Is multi party democracy good for such countries?
Sustainable Sue from Altadena CA, USA on May 15, 2019:
I am an active political activist. During my first few years it was for gender equality and all things associated, then it was anti-war, now it's anything environmental. In this article you claim that activists are just complainers, that they don't have solutions and don't take action to resolve any of the problems. That's not true.
Here are some of many things I have done: Served as a Peace Corps volunteer twice, taught consciousness raising groups for women who wanted to explore sexism, started recycling before it was a thing, worked for a water conservation company, arranged for presentations on how to live sustainably, gave up my car, wrote articles about sustainability and all things water. Now I'm chairing a group that has initiated a carbon neutral plan to reduce electric use of the big church we attend. Then we're going to show the congregation how to do it in their own homes.
Here are other projects that activist friends I know have started:
––A network of time banks in the Los Angeles area. (I'm a member.)
––A monthly repair cafe where people bring anything from home that's broken and needs repairs.
––A drought tolerant garden where people can come off the streets to pick food.
––The longest running community garden in the Los Angeles area.
––Tree planting all over Los Angeles County.
Each of these projects was started by people I know who were political activists. Many still are and others don't have time anymore.
This is a well written article, but I think you're a little more conservative than you want us to believe.
Robin Olsen (author) from Rural Canada on February 10, 2017:
It didn't take long for this hub to generate a party based response... I went out of my way to not mention the name of a single politician... posting raw numbers is irrelevant... California and New York city alone are not allowed to pick the president, no democracy works this way actually... it is why you have electoral colleges, to prevent one or two major cites from dominating the landscape of entire countries... in Canada if we went the way you suggested our federal authority would be chosen by only the people living in Toronto and Vancouver.... this causes rebellion everywhere else. Those numbers don't mean what you think they do.... and the statement 'Your candidate lost' is a general reference only, not a statement against Clinton supporters or Trump supporters.... I am well aware that liberals are not limited to one party or another, both parties have people who believe in liberalism. And Abortion is definitely one of those single issues that voters focus way too much on to the exclusion of all other issues. This hub is meant to wake people up to that fact so it can stop. The hub is generic and meant to help people decide what to listen for and look for when voting, it makes no attempt to change anyone's individual political opinions in any way shape or form.... I'm glad you found it interesting and hopefully it helps people formulate an opinion about the candidate, or helps them determine if a particular candidate is worthy of your support or is just lying through their teeth, it is not about their own political beliefs which I never challenge at any point... thanks for the read and the comment - hopefully my response sheds some light on what my goal was with this hub.
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on February 10, 2017:
Interesting hub. But a couple of points: "Single issue voting is a hallmark of the Liberal movement and incredibly dangerous in a democracy." Have you been following the abortion issue over the last years? Are you aware of how many conservatives vote based only on this one issue? It is hard to find an issue people so often make their choice based on - in spite of anything else. Also: "Your candidate lost, but the people have spoken." For about the 10th time here on HubPages let me state the results: 60 million for Trump, 63 million for Clinton, 77 million sat out the election altogether. The people didn't speak for Trump. Still, an interesting hub.