As I understand it, democracy is based on selfishness or self-interest in this way. If each person has one vote, and votes selfishly for their own best self-interest, then the majority will be voting for the best self-interests of the majority. It then remains for government to care for the minorities, such as the young and the old, widows and orphans, the poor, disabled and disenfranchised.

People enter Merrill Auditorium where voting was taking place Tuesday, Oct. 13. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald

I have not read the Federalist Papers myself, but I judge by what folks who have read them say, that the greatest concern our founding fathers had was, whether the electorate would be sufficiently educated to distinguish between short term best self-interest and long term best self-interest, and vote selfishly in both cases.

But this doesn’t seem to be what has been happening. We have been voting for causes that have nothing to do with our own personal lives. This is not voting selfishly. We vote to make our country great again, make God proud of us, get back at the SOBs on Wall Street, screw the unions, put the you-know-whos in their place, keep the grunts and perps out of the country, take revenge for some dimly remembered foreign slight or insult, root out the terrorists and show the world what we can do. We are sufficiently well educated, but we have been voting for causes, and not for ourselves. This is not self-interest, this is vengeance and payback.

Our government was designed to do “for The People” collectively, what they could not do for themselves as individuals, such as preserve our national resources and the beauty of our land, care for our public health, welfare and human resource systems, manage, defend and strengthen our national transportation, power and communication systems, protect our country from foreign disease, alien armies and subversive forces and maintain a friendship and respect with all of the peoples and nations, with whom we share our lives on this isolated planet.

These are far better causes than whether people can cross our border. So vote selfishly – not for causes and payback – and things will get better.

Orrin Frink is a Kennebunkport resident and can be reached at [email protected]

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