In Above Average Jane today, she has a post titled “Our Part of the Bargain“. Here is my take on the Hoeffel comment in it:
While I greatly respect Joe Hoeffel I think his response was too idealistic. It is partially true however. There is no doubt that staying informed is an important part of being a citizen in America. But I think that he’s overlooking the fact that most Americans do not exercise their actual right to vote. We in America have simply stopped voting. Look at the turnout results for any election in the past 10 years. They are clearly pitiful. Nobody votes anymore. But yet, we all seem to be able to complain.
I believe that the biggest problem in America today is not the Republican agenda, it’s that by not voting, we the people have let that agenda become reality. When turnouts are as low as they are, the Democratic and Republican parties have a much easier time getting their candidates elected. Tactics like vote suppression, targeted mail and phone calls, single issue pandering are all infinitely more effective when they are practiced on small groups. Lately the Democrats have been floundering, but there is no doubt that they will ride the Republican failures into office and as a Democrat, I kind of fear that as well. The Democratic agenda will be revenge. How much actual good government will occur then?
We the people need to assert ourselves. We need to elect candidates that actually care about their constituencies. We need to elect candidates that want to work with others and make progress in government. As far as I’m concerned, these candidates can come from any party as long as they represent a core set of values and beliefs that overlap my own. If everyone in America were to vote, I can’t imagine that our government would reflect the will of the people instead of the special interests.