Friday, March 20, 2015

Why should we bother to vote if there isn’t much (if any) of a choice?

I have written many a commentary at this weblog whose purpose was to tell people to get up off their bulbous buttocks and show up on Election Day to cast a ballot.

Yet I have to admit that the political people who offer themselves up as our choices for electoral office often give us little reason to want to vote for them. In many cases, they give us absolutely no choice to the point where casting a vote seems like a waste of time.

A CONCEPT THAT I find to be abhorrent, because I really do believe that casting a vote is a civic duty and that people who can’t be bothered to vote deserve to be ignored by their government officials.

Many of those officials are going to do that regardless. But should we really give them the reason that justifies their inaction in their own minds?

Part of what has me thinking about this “to vote, or not to vote” issue is the fact that early voting for the April 7 run-off elections in Chicago and the actual municipal elections out in the suburbs begins Monday.

Next week and the week after will be when the city Board of Elections and the Cook County clerk’s office will maintain the early voting centers for those people who don’t want to wait until the actual Election Day to cast their ballots.

RECENT ELECTION CYCLES show that many people who care enough about an election actually use them. It may well be that the actual voter turnout on April 7 will be ridiculously low.

I suspect that many of the 66 percent of registered voters in Chicago who didn’t bother to cast a ballot back on the Feb. 24 municipal election date still won’t be motivated to act.

All I know is that if Rahm Emanuel gets re-elected mayor with a City Council consisting of a majority of sympathetic aldermen, there is bound to be some sort of clown who argues that the current mayor has a “mandate” to pursue his policies.

That’s nuts!

IT JUST MEANS that apathy prevails because people didn’t feel the opposition was vocal enough to justify much of a vote against the establishment. It doesn’t mean we love Rahm by any means. If Jesus Garcia can’t fully take advantage of that, then he doesn’t deserve a mayoral win by default.

There are also the suburbs, where the county clerk’s office issued a statement this week pointing out that 63 percent of the positions up for election in the suburbs have candidates running unopposed. That includes nine of 19 suburban mayors/village presidents.

Although in many cases, it should be noted that the suburban mayors were up for re-election in 2013 along with a portion of their city councils/village boards. This election is mostly for the remaining portions of aldermen/trustees.

Meaning you really have to be a political junkie of a respective municipality in order to get all worked up over who is running. I suspect many suburban residents won’t be.

THIS GOT REINFORCED in my mind last week when I got a long-overdue haircut and found out that the woman who cuts my hair (she conveniently works about one block from where I live) also is the regular hairstylist for a municipal candidate in my area.

She told me stories about how she had been cutting his hair since he was 7 years old (he’s now 30) and knew him very well, yet doubted she would be voting for him on Election Day.

“All I want to do is cut hair,” she told me, explaining she had never bothered to vote in her life and didn’t feel any need to start doing so now. The part of me who writes these commentaries here could come up with many theoretical reasons why she ought to be concerned.

Yet I have to admit her attitude probably is prevalent in our society because way too many of these candidates can’t give us a legitimate reason why we ought to support them. They ought to have to earn our support, rather than thinking they’re entitled to it!


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