Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Will It Take?

The cyberink was barely dry and I was hearing here and at FB about my posts about Rahm and Joe's wins.  Maybe I wasn't seen as gracious enough or perhaps was seen as too cynical.  So, let's look at this another way.

To my progressive friends (with or without the capital P); I suggest you have a nice sleep and on the morrow ask yourselves if we can afford complacency.  Can we afford to accept a voter turnout that is below 50% of the registered voters?  Can we afford to let eligible, unregistered, voters languish in the shadows?  Can we assume that Tea Partiers and their friends won't ever find the 49th Ward and Chicago, and create change you won't want to believe in?

I have to wonder what our cousins in Wisconsin, with it's long history of collective bargaining, were thinking as Scott Walker got elected Governor.  I have to wonder what they are thinking in view of this news.  Life is getting interesting in Ohio and Indiana too.  Boehner's Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution that will run until the end of the Fiscal Year.  There is a lot going on in there that will warm a Tea Partier's heart and chill a progressive's.  How did it come to this?

What will it take to convince people that when they sit out elections they cede their power to others and magnify the impact of those who do vote?  What will it take to convince people that they are personally responsible for their choices, and when they sit out the election they cede their choice to whomever shows up at the polls?  If the results are not to their liking, just what do they propose to do besides sit out the next election?

Joe and Rahm won, and now they each have a job to do.  The election outcome reflects the will of the people who showed up to vote.  Their obligation is to serve everyone, whether they voted or not, and regardless of who they voted for.  Somehow, we must find a way to convince our non-voting peers that they also have an obligation to participate in the process or risk finding themselves on the receiving end of change they won't want to believe in.  Just ask the folks in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey and elsewhere.  


Thomas Westgard said...

I share your desire to see more people vote. I disagree with your compositional choice to connect yesterday's turnout to specific candidates. That doesn't look logically supported to me and therefore is a matter of spinning facts rather than really reporting them.

People choose not to vote for a wide variety of reasons. The number we should start with is the number eligible, since not everyone eligible is registered. So in that sense, turnout was even worse.

As much as I like your imagery of the Tea Party finding Rogers Park, as the Nazgûl found the Shire, it's a distraction to imply that turnout would somehow have been different if Brian or Joe ran their campaigns differently. If Rush Limbaugh moved in and ran, maybe things would be different. If there were a fine for failing to vote, things might be different. But those aren't the situations anyone was dealing with yesterday, and implying otherwise distracts from the real work of identifying why so many people chose not to vote.

Fargo said...

I wish I had a good answer for you. I've had plenty of conversations with people over the years that started with them complaining about elected officials. When I asked if they voted, some of the loudest complainers answered "No." When I asked why, the answers were usually along the lines of "my vote doesn't matter."

My answer to that is "If you don't vote, YOU are part of the problem. If you don't try to make a difference by voting, you have NO right to complain."

If we'd gotten a 75% turnout citywide, instead of just in the 19th ward, I wonder who we'd have as mayor.

Kheris said...

The turnout is not connected to the candidates, with the possible exception of the way the media spun Rahm's election prior to the event. We will never know what impact that may have had on turnout.

The Nazgul imagery is not something I considered. Many folks didn't take the Tea Party seriously until recently. The Tea Party is full of folks who wanted to make a difference and discovered they can. It helped that many ignored them them as a bunch of blowhards and then rolled over and went back to sleep. Boy were they surprised when they woke up! Complacency is not a state Tea Partiers care to live in anymore.

Fargo said...

The turnout is not connected to the candidates, with the possible exception of the way the media spun Rahm's election prior to the event. We will never know what impact that may have had on turnout.

For the last few months, I have wondered how the heavily biased media coverage in favor of Emanuel would affect turnout and results. Did many voters stay home simply because they accepted Emanuel's election as a done deal and didn't feel a personal investment in their ward's aldermanic race? That's my theory. Your $0.02?