Voter turnout was abysmal during last month’s primaries, despite important races for governor and both the First Congressional District and one of Georgia’s two seats in the Senate. Statewide, less than 20 percent of registered voters participated. In Liberty County, that number was even lower — only 17.6 percent of the county’s 24,733 registered voters bothered to exercise their right to help elect their leaders.
Apathy generally is considered the cause, and there’s some truth to that. Some folks are just plain apathetic.
But the truth may be we’re seeing what happens on more than one level when voters are fed a perpetual slate of candidates who spend more time telling voters why their opponents don’t deserve to be in office than they do explaining what they’ll do to address the myriad problems facing our state and nation.
One look at where we’re at today as a country should tell us that kind of politics isn’t working, because we’re in a jam. What’s more, when — in essence —we’re continually being asked to choose between the lesser of two evils, it’s going to sink in and people are going to opt out and choose not to vote for anybody.
So, given that the July 22 runoff elections are looming, here’s some advice to all those seeking to represent us: Save that sort of badmouthing for the mirror or someone who will believe you. The truth is, there are no perfect candidates. There never has been, never will be
Everyone who runs for office likely has something in their backgrounds they’d prefer voters not know. Each of them probably wants the job they’re seeking for reasons that aren’t entirely altruistic — although, to be fair, altruism’s probably in there somewhere. Of course, so is that six-figure paycheck and the perks that come with being in power.
Still — and we’re probably being a bit naïve here — we’d really like to see candidates actually offer solutions. And by solutions, we mean just that. Too often, we get sound bites or high-faluting pledges or contracts with this group or that — “I pledge to get this country running again,” or, “I pledge to fix the VA by making sure those responsible are held accountable.”
Here’s a thought: Reprimanding those responsible for the VA mess is a good idea, but it’s probably not going to fix anything, other than making the next bunch work harder to ensure they don’t get caught.
Any veteran can tell you that dealing with the VA can be painful. It’s not a new problem; it’s been going on for decades, if not longer. In other words, blaming it on the other guy or the other party not only is wrong, it’s also not a solution.
So, please put the brakes on the negative campaigning. It may win you an election, but it won’t earn you respect.
What we need are leaders who can solve problems while inspiring us to be better as a people and a nation, not those who win by telling us they’re the lesser of two evils.