Editorial: Right, duty, responsibility
On Tuesday, the tremendous power wielded by government will be returned for a day to the people, and we, as American citizens, will have the opportunity to directly participate in one of the most crucial founding principles undergirding our great nation: government by consent of the governed.
It’s true we won’t be choosing a new president or congressman or governor on Tuesday; in fact, this ballot includes none of the big state or national questions that typically draw even the most apathetic of voters to the polls. But the election is crucial, nonetheless, perhaps even more so than the aforementioned “important” races.
We say this, because it is at the local level that government is most accountable, that the collective voice of the people is most keenly heard. In state or national races, a single vote is one among millions. Locally, it is one among thousands, and it is here that we have a direct say in how much we are to be taxed, how our children are to be educated and how we are to be governed on a day-to-day basis.
We have a real voice, a compelling voice, one that is impossible to ignore, and it’s time to make that voice heard. So, as Election Day approaches, we ask you to do two things.
As we were all taught in fifth-grade civics class, voting is both our right and our duty. But perhaps more importantly, voting is our responsibility, both to ourselves and to our communities, and if we choose to simply stay home, we abdicate that responsibility and allow our future — our children’s futures — to be determined by others.
Second, educate yourself about the issues.
The decisions we make on Tuesday will reverberate decades into the future, so it is crucial that those decisions are wise and well-informed.
During the past several weeks, this newspaper has published numerous articles, columns, editorials and letters to the editor about the ballot measures, as well as profiles on the candidates who aspire to lead our schools, and the election Blue Book also offers excellent information about the issues. We encourage you to reread them all. If a facet of one of the issues perplexes you, call a city council member or a member of the college board of trustees, and ask them to explain it to you. That is, after all, part of their job.
In the final analysis, it comes down to this: Participatory democracy requires participation in order to function, and when we refuse to participate — or participate without a thorough understanding of the pros and cons attached to each issue — we do ourselves and our community a grave disservice.
This is our town, our county, our future, and, for this one day, we get the chance to help shape and mold that future. Don’t let it pass you by.
We hope to see you at the polls.