I spent the first 45 years of my life in Chicago, with only a few brief months living in California and studying in Mexico. I grew up immersed in political activity. There were weeks of nonstop “buzz” surrounding each and every election, so naturally, I thought that was how one was supposed to act during an election. And voting was an absolute must.
When I came to Nevada nearly 20 years ago, the first thing I noticed about political advertisements was the absence of the political party identification next to a candidate’s name on a sign or in a commercial. Personally, I think not being identified as one party or another is a great idea, but in Chicago, you knew who was who, which has advantages.
I also realized that in Clark County, precinct captains don’t knock on your door. In fact, until a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize that what Clark County calls a precinct captain even existed. Being a precinct captain in Chicago was a badge of honor. You knew everyone and delivered the votes.
During my years in Nevada, I haven’t experienced anything close to political excitement except for some moments during the 2012 presidential race. Maybe I’m just getting old and don’t recognize excitement anymore, but a 41 percent voter turnout in Clark County for the Nov. 4 election doesn’t conjure up a picture of dancing in the streets to me. The unofficial statewide election results showed a 45 percent voter turnout, or 552,106 votes cast out of 1,213,488.
So there it is: A minority of the registered voters in this state chose who is going to make policy, run the state, go to Washington and influence our lives. That’s the fact of the matter and it is sad, sad, sad!
When I think about all the people I discuss politics with, I hear lots of complaining about how bad government is, how politicians don’t do their job, how all parties are the same and how things are never going to change, no matter what an individual does. I agree with some of that, but where was the 59 percent of voters in Clark County when it came time to stop complaining and do something? What about the 55 percent of voters statewide who stayed at home? I’d bet good money on the fact that the majority of “no shows” at the ballot box are complainers.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like a minority of the electorate making decisions for all of us. To me, this is not the “American Way.”
You see bumper stickers with slogans about loving freedom, taking back America, not treading on individual rights, but when it comes right down to it, these are empty phrases signifying nothing. There’s no reason to believe this fluff because the majority of the people in this country prefer rhetoric to results. The statistics prove it.
There’s no magic wand to wave to make folks care enough to vote, but maybe we can consider using common sense when it comes to the issues politicians should address.
Common sense might say there is a balance somewhere in between no government and too much government. People might discuss a solution between nothing and too much.
Common sense might say we need to preserve our planet or else whatever material goods we have accumulated aren’t worth anything. People might discuss a solution to sustainability of the planet.
Common sense might say that having an educated and healthy public is beneficial to the entire body politic and costs less than the alternative. People might discuss solutions and be willing to pay for prevention instead of treatment.
Common sense might say that parents and children need to care for and respect each other. This caring and respect might spill over into how folks treat each other.
Common sense might say that all laws should be fair and equal, and the public needs to decide whether criminals need to be punished or rehabilitated or both.
Common sense might just catch on if enough folks practice it. Common sense might spill over into the political arena if every citizen registers to vote and casts a ballot on every election day.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-347-9924.