Never to do: Shaming Friends for Voting or Not Voting

Below is a reply to a friend on the Bookface to a post in which she called upon people who choose not to vote in the primaries of the major parties to make themselves known so that they can be publicly ridiculed and barred from "complaining" ever about the state of politics.

Basically, this is the use of shame in order to influence.

Now, I suspect that shame is a tool in the toolbag to rely on when you are a parent and your child has crossed some kind of grave moral boundary. But it is not a tool to be used against people in a voluntary relationship with you based on liking you. Your credit only goes so far and the un-friend button is easier than you might think to use.

So... on the list of things never to do: Never use shame to influence your friends on matters that are not life-and-death. And no, the election is not life and death and the primary elections are even less so.

Below is the longest reply I have written on the Bookface in about a year's time. It took every ounce of patience I have to stay on topic. And now I have used it all up.

Friends: I will expect the best of you. I will allow for slip-ups, but with enough provocation I will unfriend you for consistently demonstrating that you can be a judgmental prick. Your credit is not unlimited. Choose wisely how you try to influence people.

I may have to take another Face-battical soon.

Franco's Reply

I am weighing carefully what you are saying.

Unless I misunderstand... You're saying that in order for our actions to matter (to influence the quality of candidates) we ought to vote in the primaries of parties to which we do not belong and do not identify.

Premise 1: Only the Democratic and Republican primaries matter.

Another premise I believe I see is that who wins the primary matters. If you only wanted us to influence the candidates, then voting for a candidate in an independent party might have as much effect. Hard to say. Regardess...

Premise 2: This not only about selecting the sort of candidates available in the major parties but who the winner is.

Based on these premises, voting in a primary is insufficient. We should also be financially supporting candidates we would like to see make it to primary day with as much support as possible.

I'm not going to ask you how much money you have donated to any political candidates. But it's a question you can consider for yourself if I am correct about the premises I have laid out above.

I am not willing to financially support any candidate. Period. I think this is true of just about everyone who has replied here.

And I think that it means that none of us have done 100% to act toward those premises. (Not that I even agree with them - I consider meddling in parties that I am not a part of a sort of tactical short-term nuclear option)

We all get to decide how important it is to us. And we decide what in the way of resources and effort we commit in accordance with our assessment. And I will thank you very much to accept me and and the rest of us the way we are for what we are, which is what I generally expect of you.

I will imagine that your strongly worded version was just a verbal tantrum of some sort based on your frustration with the quality of people available to elect. I wholeheartedly agree.