Mt. Vernon Register-News

April 1, 2014

Free money?

The Register-News

---- — This past week I have heard it said at least three times “that if we do not get it someone else will.”

They are talking about grants of money from the state. They know that with elections on the horizon that the career politicians will be doling out money right and left to buy the votes needed for re-election.

Think about it! Here we are in a state that can barely pay their bills with unfunded pension liabilities of $90 billion to $100 billion or more dependent upon whom you talk to and they will still take your money and buy votes to stay in office. I might be a party of one, but I really have difficulty understanding how this works. Do we really want these types of political animals in our lives?

I received an article this morning from the Washington Post discussing how low the voter turnout is in our country. They could have included our state, county and city. I am continuously amazed at the level of complaining, whining, griping or whatever you want to label it that I hear on a daily basis.

I always ask them; why don’t you do something about it? I get a lot of answers, “I am just one person,” or, “it has always been that way.” “I do not want them mad at me” and on and on. When you stop and think about the disharmony and lack of compromise and working together that exists today, do you think it should be changed?

When I hear or read about voter turnout of 40 percent or less and realize that someone can get elected by only 21 percent of the eligible voters, do you think they represent you — the 60 percent who do not vote — or the 21 percent who helped the special interest groups get them into office?

I think that not only is voting a sacred right, but should be an absolute obligation for every legal citizen in this country. I also hear that “my one vote will not count so why should I vote?” Did you ever think that another 10 to 20 percent or even 5 percent of the 60 percent of eligible voters that do not vote starting to vote could make a thousand times more difference than the special interest groups that buy our political leaders? Do you think that by putting in some folks with common sense that have lived and faced the same problems that you have would make a difference?

I take a lot of good-natured ribbing from my “fitness mafia group” about being naïve and thinking that writing my small column will make some difference. I tell them that I find it repugnant that we are destroying the middle class of our country by allowing the people we have in office to escape any accountability for the sorry shape we find our country — and even worse — our state in.

I just cannot personally understand why we do not force the issue with our representatives to public financing of elections. Money should not dictate who is elected to represent us just as money should not dictate whether you receive good health care. One of the most dangerous phrases we will ever hear or read is “It has always been done that way”.

We need to see the backbone of our society (the middle class and lesser advantaged citizens) decide that it is time to be represented fairly and tell the lobbyist and special interest to take a hike. My editor will not allow me to divulge the destination I have in mind.