America identifies ways to elicit and facilitate new patterns
of behavior in our society for creating an awakened, positive
future based on values such as compassion and the interconnectedness
of all life. Our concern remains with the social and spiritual
forward movement and leadership for a positive future – elected
or otherwise. Watchwords of concern influencing recent national
election cycles are: religiosity, gender differences, Gen-X and
Gen-Y, values-voting, and election fraud. The deeper questions
for our present and future regrettably are entangled in superficial
rationalizations and are either obfuscated or omitted by a mass
media generally unwilling to truthfully present the real issues
of the day to the public. What has become ever more apparent is
that there is less and less difference between the two national
political parties that have long dominated U.S. elections.
So much information was collected and analyzed from the IOOW-2000 research that it is difficult to refrain from presenting the reader with too much content such that the bigger picture isn't jeopardized. We have therefore focused the chapters that comprise Part Four to presenting the factors unique to the voting and non-voting publics; values, typologies, and voting behaviors are described and overlaid with traditional demographics; select demographic and psychographic variables, and other factors from the IOOW-2000 study in the context of voting for the period leading up to the 2000 election. In these three chapters, you will also find information concerning gender, urbanization, geography, generational differences, and religious-spiritual factors.
Statistical research has the power to reveal an accurate representation of core values, beliefs, attitudes, and preferences of our population and thus has the potential to shape public opinion and inform key influencers in society. Part Four summarizes, for the first time, key findings relative to U.S. elections and socio-political patterns. The analysis is of the early period before the actual election of 2000 and compares traditional approaches to voting tendencies to more meaningful and useful typological approaches.
Much of our current political system tends to write off people who generally don't vote and, as such, helps perpetuate "structural voter discouragement." Occasionally, intensive voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote campaigns are used where elections have high stakes and the share of voters between the leading candidates is close.
Just because someone doesn't vote doesn't mean they are "hopelessly apathetic" or part of some "middle morass" as some researchers believe. Models such as The 8 American Types and the PFCI-SMS quadrants show that there are "discouraged voters" present throughout our society. As part of a new set of social strategies, it is important to address this differently than the ways the two national political parties usually do. There is, however, a group of people whose values and outlook constitute a type of "social ballast" as we discussed in Chapter Six. In developing new strategies for a positive future, it will be important to bear in mind this existence of "social ballast" and the way in which its strength and influence is deliberately exaggerated to suit the interests of a powerful elite in maintaining social control.
There are several good indicators that weak
or non-voters do care to make a positive difference and in helping
others – and in fact do so. It is also worth noting that 62% of
weak or non-voters also strongly prefer elected leaders that have higher
and more evolved moral and ethical values than they do themselves.
While this may be in line with the 64% average for everyone, it
is another important positive factor to bear in mind, especially
given the generally poor quality of leadership that has risen to
national office in recent decades.
Overall, it is not just about whether people
vote or not. The chief concern should be whether we are to have
a participatory democracy or a plutocracy – and secondarily, whether
America can lead the way toward anchoring a positive and enlightened
future for all humanity.