No need to insult voters’ intelligence
A recent letter criticized Britain’s “uninformed, nostalgic, non-thinking citizens” who voted for Brexit and then compared them to Americans who are “similarly challenged and intellectually underequipped” and have thus promoted Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. My issue is not at all with whatever side of these issues the writer is on, but how arrogant this view is, and how insulting it is to voters. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon. If people don’t agree with my position, well then they must not only be wrong, they must be stupid – this is what he is saying.
Given that most votes are pretty close these days, there are a lot of stupid people around in his view. And then to say that given the “comprehensive and unfettered communications” we enjoy today that it is possible to be fully informed is also naïve. I sarcastically say, “everything on the internet is true – it wouldn’t be there if it weren’t true!” Ridiculous.
Yes, voters have a duty to be informed. But if there are issues, it is due to the huge failings of our education systems, but more so to an unwillingness of elites to really listen to what people are saying and respond with constructive solutions. All of these voters, whether in Britain, the United States or wherever, lead real lives with real issues and concerns. There is something going on in their lives and hearts that motivates them to vote in a certain way.
I lean to the right, I think Brexit was a mistake, but I am disgusted by the Republican candidate. Nevertheless, having just celebrated July Fourth, I am able to respect to some degree the free and independent voters who make these choices and try to understand what is at the heart of their concerns. Insulting their intelligence is not the answer.