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An effective democracy depends on informed voters

An effective democracy depends on informed voters An effective democracy depends on informed voters

Have I got a deal for you! It truly can change your life! But, you will have to help me out.
I have been pondering for days the best way to present it to you. Should I use a graph and show you the benefits of accepting this offer? Should I draw a cartoon and visually try to amuse and tease you into exploring further? Should I lay out all the facts and test you on what you have learned? Should I try to inspire you with other people’s behavior in the past, what they sacrificed for what you can have for free?
What do you think? What will it take to get you to accept the gift of the right as a citizen to determine your future?
Maybe I should just say: Tuesday is the primary election in Indiana, and we as a community need you to vote for the candidates of your choice. How can we have an effective democracy if no one participates?
I know many of you are discouraged with the current conditions in our country. Our news and everyday conversations are filled with tales and speculations of discord in the world. Everything from warning of salmonella-tainted Romaine lettuce to conspiracy theories involving foreign countries are sent daily to you in rapid fire. Most of what we hear is of places and events way beyond our sphere of influence.
And, to add to that, many of the people and remedies to our woes are not presented in a favorable light. Politicians are described by many as inept and devious. Businesses are often seen as impersonal money mongers. Technology and its outreach have outgrown our understanding and comprehension.
In such a climate, no wonder we throw up our hands in despair.
But, my friends, this is when we need to jump up and get going. I can’t remember who said, ‘When things get tough, the tough get going’; however, the tough this time is us, all of us.
It is often noted that our country is more divided than it has been in a long time. We have tended to gravitate as citizens to groups and ideologies that agree with our own previously held convictions. There’s nothing sinister about this natural human tendency, but we have to acknowledge that different beliefs by other people might also have some merit. It seems the concepts of compromise and consensus building have gone out of favor.
In a free country with everyone included in the privileges of citizenship, this cannot be. A democracy needs everyone’s input or it is not a democracy.
The record of citizen turnout for a primary election is abysmal. A primary selects the candidates for each political party for the general election. If you favor one political party over another, you better make sure you have picked the best candidates you can find. Yard signs are nice, but all they give you is a name. You need to do some checking on each of the candidates in order to identify the one who represents what you believe is best. You stab yourself in the back when you get to the ballot box and check a name just because it is familiar to you.
This election, we will pick candidates for important offices. Often, many of their responsibilities are little known to us but will affect our everyday lives in a big way. Do you know the duties of these officeholders? County commissioners, county councilmembers, township trustees, township advisory board members, U.S. senators, U.S. representatives, state senators, state representatives, prosecuting attorney, county auditor, county assessor, county treasurer, sheriff and democratic precinct committeemembers.
You also will need to know what township, as well as precinct, you live in and where you vote. Now, you have less than a week to check all this out.
You may find you are very busy in the next few days. It might seem impossible to add another responsibility to your schedule. I am telling you that this primary election is well worth the time and effort it will take to prepare yourself to be an effective voter.
In all the categories of your life, it will pay off to go vote.
Care about your kids? Go vote. Worried about your job? Go vote. Concerned about your security? Go vote. Want to be good stewards of our environment? Go vote. Planning to live a healthy and long life? Go vote. Believe in the right to practice your faith as you want? Go vote. Dedicated to the rule of the law ? Go vote. Believe in freedom of speech and the press? Go vote. Want the roads to be paved, the lights to be on and the water to be clean? Go vote. Like parks, festivals, museums and good schools? Go vote. Hope to make Southern Indiana a place where your grandkids want to live in the future? Go vote.
If your answer to some of the above questions is ‘No,’ go back to bed and cover your head and leave the planning for your future to others. Good luck!
If your answer to any of the above questions is ‘Yes,’ then check out the candidates on the ballot by talking to friends, checking on the Internet, reading newspapers, attending meetings and studying campaign pamphlets. And then, go vote.

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