Election season is in full swing here in the Valley with a special congressional election in the 5th district this month and the general municipal elections in November.
Few people, however, seem to care.
During the Lawrence primaries last month, only 12% of registered voters bothered to brave the 80 degree weather and exercise their right to vote. The numbers weren’t that much better in either Methuen or Haverhill. In Lowell, politicians decided that saving money was a little more important than grass-roots democracy and didn’t even hold preliminary elections It was a sad day for Lowell’s history, yet few seemed to notice.
This dangerous trend seems to be going unnoticed as fewer people (and even fewer politicians) in the Valley show any respect for our democracy or the mechanism by which we safeguard it. We hope that the special congressional election and the general municipal elections bring out more voters on October 16th and November 6th respectively.
Voting in the United States is not only a right, it is a privilege. And it is the one way your voice can be heard and make a real difference in your community.
You should not only vote but you should do so diligently. Look at each candidate and where they stand on the issues, make an educated decision as if you were researching an applicant for a job opening at work. Elections should not be popularity contests but a way for voters to choose the best applicant for the job. Free and open elections are a critical part of our democracy and we will be in peril if we take them for granted.
In Iran most woman cannot vote , there are no religious freedoms, due process rights, and homosexuals are routinely executed, even publicly hung just for being gay. Neither their president nor their culture values freedom or democracy, yet last month Iranian president Ahmadinejad had the nerve to come to this country because the president of Columbia University invited and allowed him to speak at the University.
Only in America do we naively give a voice and a platform to a terrorist leader who routinely speaks of eliminating Jews, and his hatred for Americans. Freedom of speech does not mean that we must (or even should) allow leaders from other countries that do not share those rights with their own people to come here, lecture us on truth and peddle their terrorist propaganda.
Instead of allowing Ahmadinejad to have an international soapbox to spew more hatred toward Americans and Jews, the president of Columbia should have been out on the New York streets with the protesters demanding the Iranian president stop his cruel treatment of his own people and grant them the freedoms we foolishly granted to him.
So, when you (hopefully) go to the polls this election season, we want you to think about the privileges you have living here in the United States and how more than 2/3 of the world have no say at all over who will run their government.