Today was primary day in Ohio, a fact made more important by the nonsense this election cycle has come to represent. While it is tempting to blast that nonsense in all its various forms, I believe it is more important to cut to the heart of the matter.
The fact is that, if all we do is vote today and in November, the nonsense this election cycle represents is destined to happen again or become even worse.
Because the underlying cause of this nonsense is that most voters only participate in, at best, half a percent of the entire political process.
How can I say that? Because, I suspect, most of you can’t or won’t like the answers to the following questions:
- Do you belong to (as in pay dues to or attend meetings of) the political party for which you commonly vote?
- Do you know the names of any of that party’s local (as in precinct or county) leadership? Its state leadership? Its national leadership?
- Do you know anything about the candidates your party has fielded for the offices closest to you?
- How did the people on your primary ballot get there?
There are many more questions of the like that I could ask, but these four speak to the heart of the problem: for all the angst and rhetoric surrounding this election cycle, most people have no answers to those questions, and it is the lack of answers to those questions that has led to all the angst and rhetoric.
The simple fact is that, for democracy to work, it requires its participants to act on the other 1453 days of the four years between presidential elections and not just the four or eight days that represent voting.
It’s easy to come up with excuses why we don’t have time to participate in that way, but what those excuses add up to is all the reasons we’re going to continue to tolerate the mess we currently have. Democracy demands participation, and without it, democracy becomes a veil for oligarchy and dictatorship.
So, yes, go vote today. And then, tomorrow, keep participating. The consequences of doing otherwise are already apparent.