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Front Page » September 18, 2012 » Opinion » The apathetics will win the election
Published 733 days ago

The apathetics will win the election


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Activists on both sides of the question of where this country should be headed think that they are right and that they have the power to change things. They expouse their leanings to all that will hear it (and many who don't want to): through publications, letters to the editor, on television and radio, facebook, twitter or a thousand other ways where they feed the masses their party line.

People well past the middle, be it left or right, are activists. Moderates are generally not. But at least many moderates vote, even if they have to pick someone so far one way or another that it gives them a bad taste in their mouth.

But who will win the election on Nov. 6 will not be determined by any that take to expousing their creed, but by those who don't care at all.

The apathetics.

Those that are embroiled in this election for one candidate or another think people who are apathetic are worthless. That's because they will not vote...they see no purpose in it.

Interestingly, based on voting statistics, it appears they make up the majority of the population.

You have to ask yourself why they have we become that way.

I can totally understand it. Look at the way elections are run. If you want to vote in Utah for example, if the candidate doesn't have an R by his or her name, your vote for the opposing candidates will be lost in the landslide. If you vote for the R, then it doesn't matter because they are going to get elected anyway. That is the take of many I have met in a lifetime of discovering political interests in our state.

The other thing that makes people apathetic is the way our elections always lean toward the rich. Apathetic people say things like "They're both rich guys, so it doesn't matter anyway." But rich is hard to describe, particularly when you ask people what is in their head when they consider that statement. To the guy who is making $20,000 a year, someone making $60,000 is rich. To the $60,000 a year person someone making over $120,000 a year is rich. I know people who are millionaires, not just in landownership, in stock holdings or in retirement funds, but who have it liquid, in the bank who think they are not rich.

Tell the apathetic 20 grand a year guy that a person with a million in the bank is not rich and see the reaction.

Overall I think it is hopelessness that makes people apathetic. They see themselves as never being rich, as never being in power and helpless in the onslaught of the big money that determines elections. If they don't live in a swing state (which many of them would not know if they do or don't, because they no longer care) it seems fate is set as to what direction their place of residence will vote. So, they say, why vote at all?

They see those running for congress or the house in the legislature as always running for the next election, because with two year terms, that is what they do. They see career politicians who serve in federal, state and local offices who are not limited in how long they can stay there and see them as "shoe-ins" with careers drawing money from the taxes they pay. They see presidents in their first term trying to be all things to all people so they can get elected for a second term, and then see those same presidents at times changing their politial agenda course wildly in the second term because they don't have to worry about getting elected again.

They see congress as a road block to improvement, not an asset to help the country move ahead. To almost everyone who is politically active this last "do nothing" congress was the worst one we have seen in our entire lives. How do you think it appears to the apathetics?

Is it any wonder that when we see national and statewide polls on where candidates stand in relation to each other there is almost always the caveat about the poll being conducted on "persons who are likely to vote"?

What do we need to do to bring all people into our political discussions, into our need for all citizens to have a say, into the true meaning of citizenship?

Until we find a way to bring most of the apathetics into the fold of voting citizens, they win the election by just not voting.

And that is to every citizen's detriment.

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