The Union Recorder


May 31, 2014

Learn from the apathy of history, seek engagement

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County recently hosted an election for primary races, and, once again, the voter turnout should give us all pause.

Of Baldwin County’s 20,341 registered voters, just 21.85 percent cast ballots, another poor showing and slap in the face to the democratic process.

History, and the examples it provides with regards to lack of political and government engagement, is telling.

In ages past, as nations became increasingly affluent, their populations became complacent to the point where they disassociated themselves from the government. History is replete with examples of what followed.

The Athenian Empire, the Roman Empire, more recently, the Third Reich in Germany — all are examples of populations that grew uninvolved. The result in each instance was ultimately that their nations suffered corruption and ultimate decline.

It is difficult to believe that Baldwin County can move successfully into the future without the understanding of all its citizens.

Voting is a duty conferred on each of us by our citizenship to this country. Many have paid a price — fought and died — for this level of citizenship to extend to us. Yet, we squander the opportunity over and over again.

What have any of us risked that compares to what they risked in providing us our freedoms?

What we must come to realize is that our democracy is difficult and requires work on our part to cultivate it. It requires high energy and focus, and for whatever reason we don't seem willing to commit to help make it more effective. Our unwillingness to work for change shows up in the voter participation numbers at every election. 

We must be willing to do the work. 

There is an old adage that points out that, “If you don’t use it, you will lose it.” Local voter turnout and the apathy that surrounds it points in that direction.

History provides many examples of this, revealing the end result. We must change the course and stem this tide or we will be doomed to repeat it.

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