Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dove-Hunting and the Story of the One-Issue Voter

I met a middle-aged, scraggly gray-haired woman this weekend when I was pressing the flesh on the steamy hot campaign trail. I engaged her in conversation about the upcoming election, and began a litany of accomplishments made in the past two legislative sessions. Increased funding for education, fighting for transportation, the defense of health care, etc., etc. The woman looked at me listlessly. She said:

"I don't care about any of that. My only concern is banning dove-hunting. I know a lot of people who are going to fight against dove-hunting, and we want a candidate who's going to fight with us. Where does your guy stand on dove-hunting?"

Uhhh. Not knowing where my candidate stands on dove-hunting, I offered some lit with his e-mail address. Someone will be happy to get back to her on that issue.

The incident, while humorous and odd, brings up a good question. In the face of so many other problems, what makes a person chuck it all and show concern only for doves? Why do one-issue voters exist, and what is their motivation? Also, if you were going to vote on just one issue, what would it be and why?



Ilya said...

One word: ignorance.

Anonymous said...

why would someone be ignorant for wanting a candidate who shares their same belief? As minor as the issue may be, to that person it is important, and I would not describe that person as being ignorant. By doing so, you yourself are demonstrating your own ignorance. Am I ignorant because one of the main issues I'm interested in is abortion rights? I wouldn't say so.

Ilya said...

One thing you learn in political science, or one thing you should learn, is that not eveyone has something to say, and not all opinions, beliefs and desires are politically relevant. There is a difference between a particular opinion and a public opinion. People who cannot distinguish between the two lack political consciousness. This woman who wants to ban dove hunting has not formulated her desire in a way that transcends her merely private concern, or the concern of her and her friends. In other words, dove hunting does not yet qualify as a common problem. When it does, I'll grant her her opinion. Until then, it's just a private concern, and politicians should not concern themselves with such concerns. That is not the business of politics. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that dove hunting will not be an issue in this election, which is not to say that it couldn't be an issue in the future.

Anti-Everything said...

It is ignorance by choice, which is probably the worst type. By being a single issue voter you are basically saying that you don’t care about the problems and plights of your fellow citizens. Your political decision making process is so clouded by issues that have absolutely no impact on your daily life that you fail to see that the political leaders you are electing have a major impact on your life and the lives of others. Whether your single issue is banning gay marriage, a flag burning amendment, abortion, or whatever it doesn’t really matter the simple fact is that you are ignorant to all the topics that actually have an impact on your life and the lives of others.

Stupidity I can handle, but actively pursuing ignorance is just plain pathetic.