Voting on TV v. in Politics

Recently, this letter was published in the Boston Globe:

‘Idol’ or idle time?

May 29, 2006

I WAS TAKEN aback after learning that more people voted for “American Idol” than for any president. I find this fact appalling. What could be more necessary then voting for our proper leader? But I think a lot of Americans have learned a valuable lesson from the outcome of our last presidential election. I hope and pray that we think about what is important and never forget our civic duties. If we do not invest in our society in this way, we are doomed and lost.


Why does this person find such a phenomenon appalling? There are a lot of reasons more people vote for American Idol than for the president:

  • Your votes actually get counted. A lot of presidential candidates who won the popular vote didn’t win the election. Stupid electoral college. If I know my candidate will win my state, what’s the point of voting?
  • There’s no age or citizenship prerequisite. Anyone can vote for American Idol. You have to be over 21 and a US citizen in order to vote for the president.
  • Registration not required. You have to register to vote in political elections. In American Idol, you just pick up your phone.
  • It’s easy. Likewise, you don’t have to go to a polling center or fill out an absentee ballot. You can just dial your phone from the comfort of your own couch.
  • The Supreme Court won’t overrule your vote. 2000 presidential election.
  • The candidates’ “speeches” are more entertaining. Would you rather hear good/bad singing or presidential candidate “read my lips” B.S.?
  • Idols keep their promises: American Idol contestants promise to try their best and entertain you—which they generally do. Presidential candidates will say just about anything to get elected, and they usually don’t follow through.

Luis Acevedo has to wake up.

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