It’s two days after the primary election in Kentucky, and we had an abysmal, embarrassing, pathetic, wretched (you get the idea) voter turnout in Northern Kentucky – particularly in my home county, Boone. As of 3 PM on Tuesday only 10% of eligible Boone County voters had showed up at their polling locations, and when the polls closed we had surged to a county-wide high of just over 16%. Beyond sad. That morning, while monitoring a Facebook group for my neighborhood, I came across this post: “Enough with the political stuff already!”
OK, I will conceded that it is a neighborhood page that was established for the primary purpose of sharing information about plumbers, electricians, hairdressers, pets and deck builders. And the handful of posts from local candidates asking for votes certainly stuck out among the listings of lost/found dog pictures. However, elections come around only once every two years and the responsibility of voting is, in my opinion, a close third in importance to Love God and Love Each Other. I am fairly certain that if asked, Jesus would support “GOTV” efforts. Voting is the single most important thing that we, as Americans, can do.
Our votes are our voice, unless you are one of those admirable few who write to their legislators or call them on a regular basis. And how in the world can we give responsible voice to our concerns as citizens if we don’t take the time to educate ourselves on the “political stuff”? Two friends of mine worked the polls on Tuesday and were amazed at the number of people who came in to vote and had no idea what party to which they belonged. How exactly are they able to make an informed vote if they don’t even know their own party? It’s not like it’s difficult to find out your registration status, unless of course you live where there is no internet access – which I know DOES exist – even in Boone County. However I’d bet money that all or most of those people DID have internet access, given the precinct locations at which my friends served (hint: NOT rural areas, NOT without electricity).
That “political stuff” is necessary. Particularly because MOST (not all) people barely make an effort to be informed. And by the way, watching the CNN or Fox News world-in-80-seconds evening report does not count as being informed. I will be the first to admit that by the middle of September, sometimes sooner, I am mentally tuning out all the political ads – I do the same thing with Christmas shopping commercials the last week before Christmas. BUT until voters become self motivated to seek out information from independent, varied sources; and until those same people become active participants in our political process at the local, state and national level, that “political stuff” is the best window we have to what our elected officials are doing (or not doing) on our behalf.
So bring on the political stuff: the good, the bad and the ugly. Because it’s my job as a voter to dissect it and figure out what it means for me, my family and my community.