Each generation brings with it a new air of apathy toward government dealings.
Whether through a lack of trust that anything will change or a feeling of insignificance on the part of the voter, many young people consider participating in local elections a waste of time. This can be especially true if the state they reside in is heavily one party or another, as can be the case in Indiana with its conservative lean.
I’ve only voted in two elections, both of them presidential and both came with a game of “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” when it came to local races.
And when I finished casting my vote, I strutted away with a sense of pride in my patriotic contribution.
Spending one year working with local government entities makes me cringe at the memory.
Mostly, it makes me want to violently shake that past version of myself and any person, young or old, who has played a sort of guessing game when casting a vote on their ballot.
Gambling on who should be in charge of local decision-making is a mistake, as these are the people who will have control over the issues that impact residents more heavily than those impressive-looking people sitting around Washington.
These are the officials who spend tax dollars on the community you’ve chosen to be a part of, hard-earned money that should be spent wisely and with more consideration than a shrug and an “aye”.
Is it safe to put money in the hands of a council member that you had no input in choosing, as you’ve decided to just select the candidate with the nicest sounding name?
Attending almost every county council and commissioners meeting, I can name every person on each board and where they stand on the issues that matter most to the county’s residents.
Most wouldn’t fare as well.
Of course, it’s unreasonable to expect that kind of commitment from everyone. After all, I get paid to sit there and take notes, and for others, there seems to be no real incentive to attend an hour-long meeting where most visitors likely won’t understand half of what they’re discussing because councils seem to talk in a short hand of slang terms and mumbled budget numbers.
But even an ounce of effort produces a positive result — a more informed electorate and an accountability felt by those in power.
An endeavor needs to be put in place to learn what the issues are and who the game changers and players are.
As The Commercial Review begins its election coverage in the next few weeks, keep eyes open for the candidates and where they stand on issues. Because if you don’t, others will step up to cast a vote and their intentions may not be the same as yours.
Take the time to learn more about the candidates than what’s seen in advertisements and creative slogans, and choose to put more consideration into the issues than the “R” or “D” beside their name.