“I think just saying ‘Vote or Die’ is a serious danger to democracy,” Stone told [Rolling Stone magazine] of P. Diddy's voter initiative, with Parker adding, in what is described as a “Cartman-esque voice,” “Hey, 19-year-old who doesn’t know anything -- you choose.” Concluded Stone, “If you don't know what you’re talking about, there's no shame in not voting. They say if you don't vote, you can’t bitch. But you can bitch all you want. This is America.”It’s pretty obvious to me that emoter voters are hardly a boon to democratic government. But some disagree. Sean Penn sent Parker and Stone an angry letter:
“I never mind being of service, in satire and silliness,” Penn is quoted as saying in the letter (good thing, because he's reportedly mocked in the movie). “I do mind when anybody who doesn’t have a child, doesn’t have a child at war, or isn’t or won’t be in harm’s way themselves, is encouraging that there’s ‘no shame in not voting if you don't know what you're talking about.’”Now it becomes clear what Penn really wants. He pretends he just wants people to vote – but what he really wants is for people to vote for Democrats, John Kerry specifically. If Penn encountered a 19-year-old Bush-supporter, I’ll bet he wouldn’t tell him he should vote. The only reason Penn and his ilk want the youth demographic as a whole to vote is they believe that young people skew Democratic.
Continues Penn, “It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world. The vote matters to them. No one’s ignorance, including a couple of hip cross-dressers’, is an excuse.”
It happens that, in this particular election, I’m on Penn’s side – not because of Kerry’s awful platform, but because gridlock is good. But it’s self-righteous nonsense for Penn to claim he’s championing democracy while Parker & Stone defend irresponsibility. The opposite is closer to the truth. Penn says people should vote even if they are utterly ignorant of the stakes, while Parker & Stone say it’s better for people to actually know something before they head to the polls.