Like Sheep . . .

I have been noticing the various political yard signs popping up as we approach the general election and based on what I have seen I am beginning to think that in Utah, the most politically active non-candidates are almost universally leaning Democratic. Considering that Utah is still expected to heavily favor the Republican tickets at all levels I thought of the phrase from Isaiah to describe Utah politics:

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. ( Isaiah 53:6)

So many people here will not take the time to be civically active and informed, but a small portion of them (50% in a good year) will go to the polls and perform their civic duty of selecting anyone with an R next to their name.

6 comments for “Like Sheep . . .

  1. Monte
    October 12, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Truthfully I am an independent. However, since living here in the state of Utah, it has been necessary for me to put that R next to my name in order to have a political voice. And so as a state delegate, I did have that opportunity. When election day comes however, my ballot will represent many parties. Jason Chaffetz for Congress, Chuck Baldwin for President, Dell Schanze for Governor (just kidding). I agree with you that people need to be more informed on the political issues and process and become educated voters. And when I say educated, watching debates on TV and then voting is hardly educated. I think even people who consider themselves independent thinkers start drinking the koolaid when they get too caught up in a cause (i.e., Ron Paul supporters).

  2. October 12, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    That desire to have some voice and the pull of The One True Party™ create a real conundrum for me. If I want to have any say within the power structures of our government I have to work within the Republican party, but that also tends to strengthen the grip of the party. In the long run, I think we need two viable parties to bring balance, and actual discussion within the state. I wonder if the dominance of one party actually contributes to voter apathy and low participation.

  3. Jason Black
    October 13, 2008 at 6:48 am

    David,

    While there are certainly sheep out there that pull the lever for the party just because it’s their party, I don’t think that punching a straight ticket means that someone is necessarily a sheep, nor do I think it’s the primary reason so many in Utah vote Republian (or New Yorkers vote Democrat). Couldn’t the causality run in the opposite direction?

    Someone may always vote Republican or Democrat or otherwise because the candidates that run in their selected parties tout ideals that most closely resemble their own.

    I can do all the research possible on opposing candidates for several offices and never find a single Democrat that I think will move in a direction that more closely meets my ideas of good government than the Republican. In fact I find that to be the case most of the time. I vote for Democrats when the Republican on the ticket is either Republican in name only (their ideas are more liberal than the Democrat on the ticket), or when they are clearly corrupt.

    Again, I’m not voting for the party BECAUSE of the party. What’s happening, instead, is that people who share my ideals of good government are congregating into the same party as me. I vote for the candidate I believe in, and the are almost always part of my party. Subtle difference, but an important one.

  4. October 13, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Jason,

    You are absolutely right that punching a straight ticket does not define someone as a sheep. The fact that you actually look at the candidates in your party and vote against the corrupt and INO candidates is proof of not being a sheep. I fully agree that it is possible, even likely, to find that those you agree with are consistently found within a single party. The thing that makes this look like sheep mentality is that our one-party system is so off balance that the party that most of the people of Utah identify with is so dominant that “their party” is almost totally aloof from the voters of the state. The people have been so conditioned to think that the Democratic party is some immoral beast that they no longer look at the candidates. Most people here are unaware of the fact that a moderate Republican (in Utah terms) is indistinguishable from a Utah Democrat. In fact, my state house district this year is a contest between a moderate Republican and a run-of-the-mill Utah Democrat. Having compared their platforms, the only difference between them is that letter behind their name.

    If the Republican candidate wins she will almost certainly be ignored by the party that she caucuses with in the legislature, just like the moderate Republican representative who holds the seat in our neighboring district.

    If the Democrat wins, he will be in the minority party, which is a disadvantage in theory, but at least he won’t be marginalized by his own party.

    I don’t claim this is universal to the Democrats or Republican s nationally, but it is the state of things in an unbalanced system such as Utah has developed.

  5. Carl
    October 21, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Here’s a random comment, “Left-leaning people tend to go in circles.”

    In context, I meant simply that people who lean to the left tend to walk in counter-clockwise circles. When taken out of context, it can mean that Democrats don’t get anything done.

    In context, the scripture from Isaiah means that people are not following God’s teachings. When taken out of context, it can mean that nobody gets involved in politics.

    The point of this comment is to say, if you’re going to use a quote, make sure it’s being used for the purpose for which it was intended. Otherwise, it just sounds like your brain is making random, meaningless connection which detracts from your ability to make a persuasive point.

  6. October 21, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    The full context from Isaiah would tell us that the sheep go astray because they know not the master who is calling them. Without taking the time to know they are easily led in all kinds of stray paths.

    The same holds true here. Because people do not take the time to get informed they are easily led by the shallow symbol of the “R” next to the candidate names. (If anyone wants to make a case about it, the people could just as easily be led by the shallow symbol of a “D” next to the candidate names, but in the case of Utah it’s an R.)

    My reference to sheep was about the fact that they do not choose to become informed. It is as applicable in politics as it is in following the teachings of God.

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