I congratulate Mayor Clemontine Washington, who was able to turn out her core constituents for a decisive victory in Midway’s municipal election last week, but I am very embarrassed for the city of Midway.
Out of more than 1,185 registered voters in the city, only 351 turned out to vote. Seventy-one percent of Midway residents who had the potential to change the direction in which the city is headed decided, for one reason or another, that doing so was not worth their time. Voter apathy now is part of our collective mentality, which begs the question: If people don’t participate, at what point does a democracy cease to be democratic?
There appears to be a belief that one’s vote doesn’t matter. People are following the news less, and thus are out of touch with city affairs. But perhaps most of all, there’s a sense that politics is dirty business, and politicians are morally and ethically lacking.
Many Midway residents have complained about how the city is being run, but when it came time to express this discontent at the polls, apathy set in. I guess the voters weren’t as discontent as they said they were.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about how important it is to vote and how every vote is important. Why complain about the problems in the city if you do not express your opinion with your vote? The word apathy means that the voters have no interest, no emotion, no feelings and no voice on the issues. This is wrong. You do have a say, and your vote could have been that voice.
By not voting, you expressed your true feelings. By not voting, you consented to continue with an administration that is known for raising taxes, wasting taxpayer money, ignoring citizens’ needs and maintaining an anti-business/anti-jobs position.
The voters had an opportunity to vote for experienced business managers to run the city but instead elected people with no business experience. A city is like a business and should be run by experienced leaders, not social organizers. Midway has not grown because of poor leadership, and it looks like this trend will continue for another four years.
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. Elected officials make the laws and are in the best position to help a city prosper or fail. Good, hard-working elected officials can turn things around, but if you don’t vote, you will never know what a difference you can make, especially in a small city like Midway.
When 71 percent of the population stays home on Election Day, we get a system of unequal representation. That is, politicians generate benefits for those who vote and mostly ignore those who don’t.
A low voter turnout is an indication that the voters really don’t care who wins or loses. For two years, I have attempted to educate the citizens of Midway with my column on what was happening in city government. Many citizens have told me they look forward to the column and agreed with what I write, but the elections indicate otherwise.
There is a saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Well, voters, you are doing the same thing over again.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and has written articles for trade publications in various fields for 30 years.