BY WILLIAM C. HENRY The next time you hear pissing and moaning — from your mouth or others’ — about the plutocratic state of U.S. politics, you might want to ask the bellyacher(s) about their voting record. If the answer turns out to be “seldom or never cast ballots,” you have just spotlighted the person(s) responsible for drowning the American dream. And just to be certain there’s no confusion: I’m not just saying they’re PART of the problem; I’m saying that each and every one of them ARE the problem!
Statistics show that if Liberals/Progressives lose a preponderance of elections over the next few years (highly likely) it will be because they didn’t show up at the polls in numbers anywhere near analogous to their registrations and/or stated preferences, i.e., Democrat, and Democrat-leaning Independent. Even in the worst case scenario — i.e. Republican-gerrymandered
In case you’re wondering why I’m so riled up, get a load of these numbers: In the 2009 New York City mayoral election 11% of registered Democrats voted; in the Los Angeles mayoral election 21% of registered voters showed up. Or, how about Atlanta, Houston and Detroit with 15%, 13% and 20% turnouts respectively. Which party’s candidate won? What difference does it make?! Who won doesn’t amount to a tinker’s damn compared with the fact that 85%, 87% and 80% of those who could have made their feelings known obviously couldn’t have cared less! It was just too much of an imposition on their Facebook-Twitter time! Worst of all, these figures are applicable to nearly every municipality and voting district in the nation! Hell, in Presidential contests we average little more than a 50% turnout! In national off-year elections it’s little more than 35%! Former Speaker of the U.S. House, Tip O’Neill is known to have opined: “All politics is local.” Well, folks, local- and statewide-office election turnout is abysmal; at the national level it’s nothing less than reprehensible. Pick your poison!
Given the above-mentioned “political preference vis a vis eventual turnout” percentages, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the governing edge goes to the political philosophy that mobilizes the greatest number of sympathetic lever pullers. With “potential vs. actual” voter numbers like these, is it any wonder that the country ends up with the kind of dysfunctional representation that it does; a government that continually misrepresents the interests and wishes of a “true” majority of its people. Wake up and smell the fairness, the compassion, the equality. Voters make the rules. Voters get representatives with shared values. All the money on earth can’t buy a determined, knowledgeable, fair-minded voter. The really big money in today’s politics is directed towards enhancing and expanding the the interests of the wealthy and the powerful while motivating the resentfulness and basest fears of the ignorant and the intolerant.
Over the next two years we’re going to find out who the real American “Democrats” are. Those who actually care, and those who simply don’t. Those who talk a good story, and those with the courage and grit to take action. Those accepting of the status quo, and those determined to bring about change. Those who pay lip service to fairness, equality and compassion, but in truth are unwilling to expend the effort necessary to curtail America’s rush to the right, the rich, and the powerful. We’re going to identify the lazy, the lethargic and the complacent, but we’ll also discover who the truly caring and committed are, those who recognize they’ve been blessed with living under a form of government the ultimate success of which rests solely upon its citizens answering the call to perform but three simple tasks: 1) to keep themselves constantly informed, 2) to always make their feelings known to those who make the rules, and 3) to VOTE in EVERY election in which they’ve been afforded the privilege of participating.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.