Election Day is nearly upon us. In fact, plenty of voters have already cast their ballots. Partisan and ideological differences seem to be polarizing people. Maybe it’s time for a lighter look at things – even for a moment or two.
What’s so funny about voting?
Since the dawn of democracy, comics have quipped about the democratic process and upcoming elections. Elections and electoral candidates provide perennial fodder for professional comedians and would-be humorists alike, particularly in America. In fact, even politicians and public leaders have joined the act, over the years. Candidates have lampooned one another, even as the press and the public have tossed barbs of their own. Occasionally, even the voters have become targets of satire.
Let’s take a look at some pointed comments, aimed at the democratic electoral process by renowned and even infamous individuals from several walks of life. The comments represent several political eras spanning more than two centuries. Not all of the quoted are Americans, but their sentiments may still be pertinent.
Surely, this is not a comprehensive list, by any means. Still, the quotations listed here may prove thought-provoking. (Quotes are arranged alphabetically by speaker or author.)
NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.
- “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.” Otto von Bismarck, German Chancellor (1815 – 1898)
- “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister (1874 – 1965)
- “When I was a boy, I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it.” Clarence Darrow, American Attorney and Civil Rights Activist (1857 – 1938)
- “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.” T. S. Eliot, American Poet (1888 – 1965)
- “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!” Benjamin Franklin, American Inventor and Politician (1706 – 1790)
- “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” H. L. Mencken, American Author (1880 – 1956)
- “Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do.” Will Rogers, American Actor (1879 – 1935)
- “Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright (1856 – 1950)
- “One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician's objective. Election and power are.” Cal Thomas, American Journalist (1947 - )
- “Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in senate.” Orson Welles, American Actor (1915 – 1985)
Certainly, as these satirical statements attest, the current democratic process may be far from perfect. Still, it sure seems to beat the alternative.
Readers may wonder: What can be done to improve the electoral process? At the risk of sounding idealistic, here is a simple suggestion. Perhaps the democratic system can yet be improved – one vote at a time.