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John the Voter

During this election, the presidential candidates trotted out the overly simplistic story of “Joe the Plumber.” Once the media looked a little bit into the background “Joe the Plumber,” it turned out that maybe he was a little too good to be true.

I am so incredibly annoyed by these simplistic labels of people. While perhaps an interesting story-telling device for all of one minute, they completely and absolutely insult the intelligence of the average voter in America. People are not their jobs and to reduce them to such a role just to try and illustrate a hypothetical tax plan is not only ridiculous, but insulting.

I have to imagine there are other story-telling devices one can use that don’t insult our intelligence. In fact, I don’t have to imagine it, because I know it. Psychologists and researchers (mostly in the form of interesting books or research papers) use experiments and personal stories to illustrate certain theories of behavior. They don’t reduce people down to their occupation. (“Soccer moms” were no happier when it happened to them years ago.)

In an election that should be about global issues of the economy, a war that we got into with poor intelligence (in more than one sense), and the effects of deregulation gone too far, I find it insulting that the candidates felt it was acceptable to keep going back to this example as some sort of perfect illustration of their policies. While they say that “all politics is local,” we shouldn’t vote for a presidential candidate based upon a self-centered belief of, “What are they going to do for me?”

Really? Is that how we should pick a candidate to vote to run the most powerful country on this Earth — “What are they going to do for me?”

I hope not. I hope everyone who goes to the polls on Tuesday picks the candidate they believe can help the country out of its economic quagmire, end the war in Iraq, and figure out how to fix the broken health care system in the U.S. (which is heading for its own economic meltdown if nothing is done). We have huge challenges us facing us in the next 4 years.

None of which are answered by trotting out “Joe the Plumber” (who is neither a plumber, nor an example of a typical middle-class American).

There are no easy answers for the next President; nobody’s tax plan is going to solve all of the problems facing us. (And no tax plan is likely to pass without changes.) So please, remember to cast your vote if you’re a U.S. citizen on Tuesday.

That’s something even “Joe the Plumber” can agree to do.

John the Voter

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). John the Voter. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 1 Nov 2008)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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