Election Day Only 10 Months and a Few Days Away
BY DENNY BANISTER
Since we are no longer counting the number of shopping days until Christmas, I thought we should create the same anticipation for another big event – Election Day. The year 2010 is an election year.
Well, 2009 was an election year too, but it was an ‘off-year’ election. Many people did not go to the polls since they had no major candidates or issues on the ballot. Even some communities with significant candidates or issues on the ballot found low turnout at the polls.
During years of major national and statewide elections like 2010, candidates and political parties spend millions trying to stir interest in a seemingly unenthusiastic or even apathetic public to vote, frequently to no avail. We Americans have the right to go to the polls, and we also have the right not to. Either way, we are exercising our right, though by not voting we are not exercising our responsibility.
Barbara Crafton, an Episcopal priest and author, created the Geranium Farm web site www.geraniumfarm.org, where she shared an excellent piece of writing following the recent off-year election Crafton compared voting in Afghanistan and America. She said there was not a runoff election in Afghanistan since the incumbent’s opponent withdrew, citing his belief a runoff election would be ‘no purer’ than the first election – so why risk people’s lives?
Crafton said voting in Afghanistan can get you killed. She said those who show up at the polls must be protected by soldiers since they vote under threat of death, and even if they vote safely some are murdered afterwards. Here in America on the other hand, Crafton said we can stroll to the polling place in complete safety. “Some of us remember a time when it was not so here,” Crafton said, “not for everyone, but that was almost 50 years ago now.
“These days, voting is a breeze. It is so easy, half of us do not bother. Interesting, how apathy accomplishes what violence aims for, and not a shot is fired in anger.” How insightful. Americans would take up arms if anyone ever tried to take their freedom to vote away, but too many give away their freedom to vote simply by not exercising the privilege. Something to consider while you’re making your New Year’s resolutions.
Denny Banister, of Jefferson City, Mo., is a retired broadcaster from Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.
An editorial column from the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, Cut to the Chase may be used as an op-ed piece or letter to the editor.