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Letter from Ed: Get Out the Vote! We Are More Polarized than Ever Before!
Pallet Enterprise founder, Dr. Ed Brindley talks about the importance of the upcoming election and the need for readers to vote. He also explains why he encourages people to vote for Mitt Romney for president.
By Edward C. Brindley
Date Posted: 10/1/2012
Chaille wrote a good piece in this issue about the upcoming presidential election in November;
I encourage all readers to see what he has to offer on page 38. My column this time is written around a simple theme. It is important for every citizen who cares what happens to the United States to get out and vote.
Each of us should encourage our friends, neighbors, church members, employees and social friends to vote. I have never understood why so many U.S. citizens do not bother to go to the polls. It is both a privilege and a responsibility. Indeed, I believe that rights and responsibilities are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. If you consider yourself to be a responsible citizen, it is your obligation to become familiar with the important issues and vote your conscience in all government elections, particularly presidential ones.
I voted in my first election in 1964, shortly after turning 21. I remember watching the returns on Tuesday night in shock at how Goldwater went down in an overwhelming defeat almost two to one. While I didn’t expect him to win, I sure hoped he would make a better showing than he did. It may have been the infamous “Daisy Ad” that had a little girl picking petals off a flower that ended with a countdown and a mushroom cloud. The concept was that Barry Goldwater was too much of a cowboy and his rhetoric would end up in nuclear war. This ad concluded with the tagline, “The stakes are too high to stay at home.”
Although the ad ran only once, it helped galvanize public opinion against Goldwater. It was the first major attack ad of its type, and much of today’s negative attack ads follow this same trend.
All of us probably recall how close the 2000 and 2004 elections were. Remember the hanging chads? Remember the result going to the Supreme Court? Every time I hear somebody say that their vote doesn’t count all I can think of is how naďve they are. Some major elections have been decided by less than one vote per precinct. What amazes me the most is that we are often so evenly divided that the results are as close as they are.
What about this year? Our new era is characterized by more polarity that our society used to have. I cannot remember a time during my adult life when our society was any more polarized than it is today. When some people have the extreme opinions they often do, it is that much more important for me to vote my beliefs. It is both a matter of voting my conscience and casting a vote to counterbalance extreme beliefs.
I for one am more concerned than ever that many people will vote their pocketbook instead of voting for the principles they believe in. Maybe the problem is that they do not have any real principles, or their principles are so totally foreign to my way of thinking that it is difficult to understand how they think. Since I am conservative, I am more discouraged today than ever before about the liberal attitudes that permeate so much of our society. More today than at any time I can remember, responsible people need to step up to the plate and take responsibility.
Larry Sabato, a respected political scientist from the University of Virginia, said, “The last two presidential contests have offered choices, not echoes, and voters have responded by flocking to the polls. In 2004, for the first time since 1968 over 60% of the citizen-eligible population cast ballots. In 2008, the turnout grew again to nearly 62%. But evidence is building that voter participation this year may fall well below that mark.” The last time the turnout was as good as it was in 2008 was in the 60s. In my opinion, it is sad that we do not get over a 90% turnout.
I believe that all of us agree on one thing – we are growing weary with the negative campaigning. It seems that the biggest carrot to get out the vote this year is not voting for the person who ignites your interest and enthusiasm. Instead many people on both sides are apparently being motivated to vote against the person they do not want.
While I am not a big social media kind of guy, I am learning that I might have to change my ways in this regard. Using social media to encourage likeminded friends to go to the polls might be the best strategy to pursue in a world like ours.
So here’s my pitch for the candidate that I prefer. As a conservative who favors limited government, I am supporting Mitt Romney for president and encourage you to do the same. Although I may not like everything about Romney, I believe he will more closely represent my vision of smaller, smarter government and prevent excessive government regulations. His pedigree as a successful business man and investor will be a welcome addition to the White House. From turning around the Salt Lake City Olympics to developing a successful investment firm, he has experience that I believe is helpful in this tough economic time.
Although President Obama has passed fewer regulations than some previous presidents, the things that have changed under his watch are massive in scope, such as the health care reform, new environmental laws, incredible amount of stimulus spending and financial reforms. While these may have all had noble purposes, I believe they all have had disastrous effects.
One thing is for sure – if you do not vote, you have no room to complain about who others elect to represent you. Remember that the only poll that matters is the one taken on Election day!