March 7, 2016

DUGGAL | The Politics of Indecision

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I would call myself the most indecisive person I know, but to be honest, I’m not sure I could even commit to that. The number of times I have tried unsuccessfully to change my order at a coffee shop (or more realistically, at Louie’s) probably matches the number of times I have typed a sentence into this Google doc only to replace it with another one that I think I would rather see in this column. Indecision is a struggle, but it isn’t one that I find only myself facing.

Take the American voters, for example. This political process in itself has been one that requires them to make tough decisions, and yet, this is not to say the political process has been one that allows for those decisions to be made and dealt with quickly. Over the last week, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won the biggest share of delegates. This did not, however, render Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) irrelevant by any means (Ben Carson, on the other hand…). What does this say for those undecided voters then, who are looking to each of these results as some way for them to come to conclusion about their preferences? How does this work in favor of the signs they need to make up their minds?

Well, put quite simply, it doesn’t. Last week’s results do not really help our undecided voters decided much of anything substantial, just as I’m sure the next few coming week’s results will do as well. I personally find this to be a good thing, a thing that allows for us to applaud the American political process. The longer each voter finds he or she needs to keep up with what’s going on in the news, the more informed and substantive their eventual decision might actually be.

What I find most interesting about this commitment to indecision by the American people is not simply that it exists. Rather, I find it interesting to consider where it stems from. Is it simply dissatisfaction with the choices provided? Is it a reluctance to commit until we see how everything might play out? Or is it the thought that in the time we are stalling from making a decision, we could instead use the same number of seconds to come up with some better choice, one that we just haven’t thought of yet?

Like most things in life, I’m sure it can be explained in more than one way. The American political process is not set up to be easy to decide on; it exists in itself to create indecision, and I am glad there are still a number of undecided voters left. What concerns me, however, is that there are no parties for the undecided here. In fact, the Republican party does as well as it does because it attracts people with strong convictions. It is my hope that the rest of this nation recognizes that the amount of indecision that prompts a well-formed, substantiated political decision is always worth far more than a strongly held, yet hastily put together political decision.

Hebani Duggal is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at hduggal@cornellsun.com. Teach Me How to Duggal appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.

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