I had a strange realization today. While I’m sure there have to be some people out there, I can’t think of one person I ever met who, once I got to know their political leanings and motivations, turned out to vote selfishly. By this, I mean that I have never met someone (or done extensive research on someone) who votes a certain way because it benefits them.
I really stopped and thought about it for a while. I mean, I’ve met poor Republicans who think the rich shouldn’t be taxed… basically at all, I guess, since Romney is still complaining and he only pays 13%. I’ve met even more wealthy Democrats (due to my background) who feel there should be more opportunities for the poor.
I’ve met men who are Democrats because they support a woman’s right to choose, and women who are Republicans because they oppose abortion. I know Democrats who want to end US involvement in Afghanistan, even though they aren’t related or close to anyone who is a soldier. I’ve talked with many Republicans who have loved ones in the military, or even serve themselves, who think we should expand the conflict into Iran.
I once got to know a black, gay Republican who believed the most important thing for our country was to end immigration by Latinos. I’m still friends with several fat, rich, white Midwestern guys who drink beer, watch football, tell misogynistic jokes, and vote Democrat.
Even famous people I know much about have different motivations than you might expect. Sheldon Adelson comes to mind. I imagine most liberals think he’s donating millions to get Romney elected… why? I’m not sure, exactly what liberals think he expects Romney to do, but Adelson is already rich, and Obama isn’t going to make him poor (or even poorer).
No, the more I looked into it, the more I read what he has written and what matters to him, the more I see that Sheldon Adelson wants Romney in the White House not because of economics, but because he’s a hawk. Adelson is convinced Romney would be better in the White House, not for America, but for Israel. If the shit hits the fan with Iran, Adelson wants a Republican in office, not some pussy Democrat who might waffle.
I think he’s wrong about how Obama would react, but that is what he believes and why he believes Romney is a better president.
And the examples just keep piling up: the more you look at why a person says they vote a certain way, the more you see that seemingly no one is voting selfishly. I thought long and hard about why this might be. Why are so many (if not most) people so concerned about the needs of others over themselves?
I don’t have a single theory as to why this is. I think that perhaps one must look at Republicans and Democrats separately. It’s possible that Republicans don’t vote selfishly because they live by the mantra that they don’t want a hand-out, and perhaps Democrats don’t vote selfishly because… well… they’re bleeding heart liberals who just care too damn much.
I don’t know. Maybe people will just publicly say whatever they think will make them sound noble,