VOL. 7 | NO. 20 | Saturday, May 10, 2014
Editorial: Only Endorsement Is for People to Vote
We have an endorsement to make in the August elections.
It’s not a candidate, or that we are for education and against crime, or any other position.
What we want is more than half of Shelby County’s 533,579 voters to vote early in July or on election day, Aug. 7 – for any candidate in any race for any reason.
You don’t have to vote in the primaries if you don’t want to declare a party. That’s why we are calling this for a ballot that has general election races.
You don’t have to vote in every race in the general election. No political version of the clean plate club is involved.
This is not a lecture about the noble act of voting or a civic shaming for not voting. This is about disrupting the ownership of a political atmosphere in which the government that results from who runs becomes the fiefdom of those who hold win either then or later and for the rest of us becomes something we minimize our contact with.
Changing that doesn’t mean further withdrawal. It means wading further into the muck, taking away that turf from the gatekeepers.
The way to do that is to increase voter turnout and destabilize a process that is now more club than public property.
In some ways this is the easy part because the goal is to destabilize the current political atmosphere. If you want to search for one candidate to vote for in one race, go for it. If you don’t, still go for it.
What is needed here after about two decades in which even half of the local electorate hasn’t turned out for an election other than the presidential general election is the kind of uncertainty for those familiar faces that seem to have made themselves too comfortable in many cases with running for office and at least winning nominations.
It is the uncertainty that so many of us who only want to deal with politics when it is absolutely necessary feel as we walk onto what we immediately come to feel is their turf.
That feeling is no accident. It is an intention by partisans on all sides to some extent who are looking for the most stable political atmosphere and the least number of votes necessary to win an election.
The number of voters who turned out for the May county primaries was under 40,000. You could put every one who voted early and on election day in the Liberty Bowl and still have plenty of room. The turnout is a sold-out Grizzlies game and a second Grizzlies game that is close to a sell-out.
It’s not their turf. It is ours.
If you honestly believe your vote is meaningless what do you have to lose. It is much less than those who, in your opinion, have rendered elections meaningless. Make trouble. Disrupt. Do the unexpected – vote.