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Keller @ Large: The ‘Reductive Shaming’ Of Those Who Don’t Vote

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(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Do you know what “reductive shaming” is?

I admit, I had to look it up after a random Twitter user accused me of it Tuesday night for bemoaning the anemic voter turnout in the Boston mayoral preliminary.

He had tweeted at me that it was “OK to not vote if [you] haven’t been following an election and don’t know the different positions.”

My response was: “Ignorance of civic duty is not OK.”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

For that statement, I was charged with trying to shame non-voters by “employing an analysis of a complex subject into a simplified, less detailed form,” which is what reductive means.

And for that, I beg forgiveness.

Excuse me for believing that voting is a crucial obligation of citizenship, like jury duty, and for noting that even in a crowded field like the Boston race, it’s a fairly simple matter for anyone with computer access or a library card to familiarize themselves with the candidates and their positions.

Forgive me for observing that majority non-voting leaves crucial decisions about political power to a minority that may not have the best interests of the majority at heart.

And grant me dispensation for actually scolding those who ignore their civic duty, rather than trying to be more sympathetic to the apparently unbearable demands on their time.

For this individual, it seems, “shaming” is a worse offense than neglecting civic obligation.

I guess from his Twitter profile that he’s relatively young.

Lucky thing.

He would have hated living through the golden age of reductive shaming, when the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy called on Americans to do better.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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