Believe it or not, there was an election last week.
Also, believe it or not, less than 10 percent of the people of Texas showed up for it. In Trinity County, the number of people who participated in the government was a mere 982; a little more than 8 percent of registered voters, but just under 7 percent for the population of the county.
That’s a bad, terrible, horrible, no good number. Kudos to the voters, but shame on the rest of us that didn’t participate.
I grew up hearing an adage that if you didn’t vote, you didn’t have the right to complain about anything. To me, that didn’t ring quite true: anyone can complain about anything, as we all have the right to free speech.
What you don’t get to complain about, though, is the results that occur based on the people (or bonds, or amendments) that are elected.
I’m pretty sure that everyone at one time or another, or if you’re like me, all the time, complain about government at every level. We pay too much in taxes, the government is too intrusive (or not enough, based on your flavor of politics), things are not done to our liking, etc., etc.
For me (as an example), what’s going on at the federal level, and slowly is trickling down into the lower levels of government, such as the state, is an abomination. Our legislators are not listening to us, and are running rampant with an agenda that in my view puts the responsibilities best left to individuals under the auspices of the federal government.
For instance, Unca Joe just issued a mask mandate — through OSHA — that employees of private businesses with more than 100 hired must be vaccinated against COVID. He’s now considering a similar one for the rest of the businesses.
If you’re like me, you probably feel this is wildly unfair, inappropriate, and an egregious example of executive overreach. Also, you lament the fact that as things stand, there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Until the next election.
In order to affect change in the republic system of government we enjoy, it requires our participation. We have to stop sitting in comfortable recliners and lamenting the issues, and start getting involved.
Or, in the words of Sonnie Johnson, an excellent talk show host, activate.
Regardless of your passion, of your point of view, or your politics, the only way to change the world is start by changing yourselves.
Is there a candidate you particularly believe will be an excellent judge, or school board member, or state legislator? Become part of the campaign, knock on doors, and get the message out. Hold voter registration drives.
Become a member of a political party, not just by choosing it on a voter registration, but join the county party. If you’re real inclined, run for office. Be the change you want to see.
An excellent example of what I’m talking about just happened in Virginia. A population, unhappy with the status quo, mobilized. Through every means available, from the shoe-leather express to social media, ad campaigns, and the result was a 60 percent voter turnout, and a change across the board in the governor of that state.
I promise you, that 10 percent won’t cut it. So jump in, get started, and make your reality the best it will be. Because if you don’t participate, you’ll get someone else’s vision, and you probably won’t like it.