Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This Democracy of Which You Speak....

One of the favorite chants of the protesters that have taken to the streets since the election of Donald Trump as President is "THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOK LIKES!"  It's been used by illegal immigrants and their supporters as they refuse to go to work or school for a day.  It's used by the idiots that tie up traffic on busy highways and roads to "send a message" by inconveniencing as many people as possible.  And it's been used by the rioters that torch limousines owned by Muslim immigrants and loot the Starbucks that actually support many of their causes.

So here we are on Election Day in Wisconsin, and where are all of these "social justice warriors" and "defenders of democracy"?  I can tell you they certainly aren't on the ballot.  The vast majority of races in our area and across the state today feature the minimum number of candidates needed for the April General Election--or have just one candidate that will run unopposed for another term.  Where are the people so concerned that "Flint Could Happen Here" and who literally weep in the streets when Scott Pruitt is confirmed as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency--but who don't run for the City Council that actually oversees the water utility in their own city?

We aren't going to see them at the polls today either.  Those that repost every single fake news story link, meme and quote taken out of context about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos can't be bothered to vote in the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction--which is the actual governing body of Wisconsin schools--and which sets the standards for education in our districts.  And yet turnout for that race will be in the single digits--and probably even less for most school board races--which have the greatest direct impact on education in a community.

I'll admit, voting in non-partisan races is "hard".  There are no convenient "D's" or "R's" next to candidates' names to facilitate mindless party-line voting.  There are no attack ads on radio and TV to define a candidate--sometimes even before they officially join the race.  No one is sending dozens of flyers to your house with scary headlines and more taken-out-of-context quotes about candidates.  You have to actually research where these candidates stand on issues, attend a debate or listen to interviews on the radio to decide whom to vote for in these races.  And who can be bothered with all of that when there are protests to plan, clever slogans to draw on signs and memes to circulate on the internet?

Perhaps if TV cameras were set up outside of all polling places today showing the five or six percent of us "bothering" to voting today, more people would be interested in what democracy actually looks like.

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