Fear should not stop participation

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Roughly 300 people turned out to vote in the Republican runoff for two statewide races Tuesday.

The two trigger words in that sentence being Republican and runoff.

It’s hard enough getting the great majority of the 30,000 registered voters in Dallas County out for what are deemed to be “important elections.” Drawing people for a runoff of Republican candidates in a Democratic area seems an impossible task.

Email newsletter signup

Over a course of 12 hours, a lot of work went into a process that seemed to pass by our community with little notice. Poll workers had to be paid, paper had to be printed, people used an abundance of gas and electricity.

That’s not to say the entire day was a waste. On the other hand, this is a wake-up call to a bigger problem.

One percent of registered voters turned out to participate in our most recent election, and who is to say how many will show at the next?

Progress has two great enemies: fear and ignorance.

There is still a palpable apprehension people have toward voting for several reasons.

The perception that candidates control elections is a stigma that needs to be kicked away posthaste.

If that were the case, people would meet in the middle of town, dispute their qualifications in some type of verbal or physical dispute, and the person who was least shamed or still alive would be the new leader of the people.

It’s a completely absurd alternative to the democratic process, but no more absurd than doing absolutely nothing.

Also, the process doesn’t work if it turns into a popularity contest. X candidate may have all the appearances of a good leader, but does he represent the best interest of his potential constituents?

Take a stand for something. The more people on the fence, the more opportunity crooked politicians have for gaining the upper hand.

This is our city, our county and our country. The only way to keep it that way is to keep our voices loud and strong.