Voter turnout was abysmal during the May primaries despite important races for governor and both the Congressional First District and one of Georgia’s two seats in the Senate. Statewide, less than 20 percent of registered voters participated. In Bryan County, that number was even lower – only 15.4 percent of the county’s 18,400 registered voters bothered to exercise their right to help elect their leaders.
Apathy is generally considered the cause, and there’s some truth to that. Some folks are just plain apathetic.
But the truth may be we're seeing what happens on more than one level when we're fed a perpetual slate of candidates who spend more time telling voters why their opponents don’t deserve to be in office than they do explaining what they’ll do to address the myriad problems facing our state and nation.
One at where we're at today as a country should tell us that kind of politics isn't working, because we're in a mess. What's more, when we’re in essence continually being asked to choose between the lesser of two evils, it's going to sink in and people are going to opt out and choose not to vote for anybody.
So, here’s some advice to all those seeking to represent us.
Save that sort of badmouthing for the mirror or someone who will believe you. The truth is, there are no perfect candidates. There never has been, never will be
Each of those running likely has something in their background they’d prefer voters not know. Each of them probably wants the job they’re seeking for reasons that aren’t entirely altruistic, though to be fair that’s probably in there somewhere.
Of course, so is that six-figure paycheck and the perks that come with being in power.
Still, and we’re probably being naïve, but we’d really like to see candidates actually offer solutions.
And by solutions, we mean just that. Too often we get sound bites or high-faluting pledges or contracts with this group or that — “I pledge to get this country running again,” or, “I pledge to fix the VA by making sure those responsible are held accountable.”
Here’s a thought: Making sure those responsible for the VA mess is a good idea, but it’s probably not going to fix anything other than make the next bunch work harder to make sure they don’t get caught.
Any veteran can tell you dealing with the VA can be painful and it’s not a new problem, it’s been going on for decades, if not for longer. In other words, blaming it on the other guy or the other party is not only wrong, it's not a solution.
So put the brakes on the negative campaigning, please. It may win you an election, but it won't earn you respect.
What we need are leaders who can solve problems while making us aspire to be better as a people and a nation, not those who win by telling us they’re the lesser of two evils.