“People get the government they deserve,” observed Alexander Hamilton, long before his story hit Broadway. Ben Franklin also chimed in. When asked what kind of government the Founders had given the people, he responded, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Franklin’s classic line is often disputed, but the conclusion is obvious. Starting in the 1770s, Americans were charged with a great responsibility.
Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is a hands-on process, requiring citizen participation in the system. Fundamental to success is casting an individual ballot periodically. Citizens are charged with keeping up on issues affecting our country, and determining where individual candidates stand on these issues. Hardly a burden on the citizenry, in my opinion.
After Iraq was liberated from Saddam Hussein, elections were held in 2005, with a reported 70%+ turnout among eligible voters. Remember beaming faces and purple “I voted” stains on the fingers of Iraqis? Voting was a new privilege, and Iraqi citizens were eager to exercise their newfound rights. Surely this enthusiasm would last a lifetime, making up for decades of oppression.
Not so fast. In recent elections, Iraqi turnout has been estimated in the range of 41% - 43%. A majority of voting-age Iraqis are no longer decision-makers. Rather, they are doomed to live under the policies of a minority of (voting) citizens. The non-voting majority is to blame for any result they don’t like.
Recent important elections in both the City of Chicago (Mayor) and the State of Wisconsin (Supreme Court “swing” Justice) featured extremely polarizing candidates. In both cases, one candidate was an extreme “Progressive,” and the other politically moderate. In each case, crime and punishment were on the ballot, and in each case, the safety and security of citizens were lost to the ”defund the police” crowd.
Is a continuation of “soft on crime” leadership what a majority of citizens actually want? I doubt it, based on escalating crime rates across America. If public safety is that important to citizens, what went wrong?
Turnout. Participation. Responsibility. Apathy. Call it what you like, but for whatever reason(s), only about 1/3 of eligible (and therefore affected) citizens, chose to express their own personal sentiments by voting. No claim of ignorance is now acceptable, given the record spending by both campaigns in the runup. Failure to take individual responsibility has now exacerbated the crime spree in the Midwest. Quality of life will continue to deteriorate, and people will vote with their feet instead. Hello Florida, Texas, and Tennessee.
It was so preventable.
Both Chicago and Wisconsin got the governments they deserve. “Soft-on-crime” candidates secured office with a majority vote from a minority of eligible voters. An apathetic public has only themselves to blame.
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