Editorial: Not voting squanders basic birthright of America
Come on, people. You’ve got to do better.
Everyone likes to complain about what the people in city hall are doing. Those SOBs in Harrisburg are screwing everything up. And Washington? Washington is full of cheats, liars and fools.
But there’s a problem with that. We sent them there.
“Well, I didn’t vote for him!”
Maybe you didn’t. But did you vote for anyone?
If the voter turnout results for the primary tell us anything, it’s that you probably didn’t show up on Tuesday.
In Westmoreland County, only 24.5% of the electorate showed up at the polls to cast a ballot and get an “I voted!” sticker. In Allegheny, it was even worse. Only 16% of registered voters went to the polls.
Between the two, that means only one in every five people did the most basic job of a U.S. citizen.
That is fantastic for those people. You earned your sticker, and you earned your right to complain loud and long about everything an elected official did wrong.
But what about the rest of you?
There are about 1.2 million registered voters in the two counties, and almost a million of them didn’t take the time to press a few buttons on a screen to do their part for a representative government.
It’s not a lot to ask.
No one is asking you to balance a budget or understand building code or figure out a way to make an unfunded mandate from a higher government body work in your little corner. No one is being drafted to representative democracy.
But two days a year, the country asks you to pick the people who will do the jobs that we can’t do, or don’t want to do, or don’t understand. And all it takes is roughly the same process as ordering a sandwich at Sheetz.
We tend to think of our country as being founded by patriot rebels — minutemen with guns at the ready. We forget why they threw all that tea in Boston Harbor. It was because they didn’t have a say in their government.
America was born — and the birth certificate signed here in Pennsylvania — over a struggle to participate, and it is tragic that people have that opportunity and squander it with a shrug.
If nothing else, do it for the smug, well-earned, “not my fault” feeling of complaining when you did your part.