David Hoppe

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:: Election day

by David Hoppe

You’ve seen the ads, heard the accusations, been importuned for cash. Ready to vote?

Off year elections are notorious for their lack of notoriety. Registered voters tend to stay away from the polls in droves. Apparently, it takes a presidential campaign’s national sizzle to rouse our attention.

This is a shame. Our form of governance is nothing so much as an almost mind-numbing set of wheels-within-wheels. The more libertarian among us believe that mind-numbing thing is at least partly deliberate, a scheme to make we the governed foggy and inert.

They may have a point. But true or not, the fact remains that our government, with its clockwork mechanism of local, state and national dimensions, requires our serious and ongoing attention.

Like voting in midterm elections.

I mean, when you stop to think about it, it’s not as if voting for president, sexy as that may seem, actually does that much. Take, for example, our present situation. President Obama is in the midst of his second term, after winning two elections by convincing margins.

Obama promised hope and change, two things that apparently scared the one percent who control the lion’s share of wealth and power in this country. They quickly reminded the new president that what they had (wealth and power) trumped what he had promised (hope and change).

At which point the new president began telling we the governed that whatever it was we hoped for or wanted changed was…up to us.


Hence the importance of all those little, decidedly unsexy votes we are asked to cast. Like for Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Auditor (Auditor?). Not to mention State Representatives, County Commissioners, Township Trustees, Sheriffs, School Board members and, yes, even Surveyors.

You may think these office-holders are relatively unimportant. You probably don’t know what most of them look like, let alone what they stand for, or whether or not they are actually qualified to hold the offices they seek. These folks aren’t celebrities, that’s for sure.

But that doesn’t mean, given a certain alignment of circumstances, they won’t be capable of making your life a little better — or a little worse — somewhere down the line.

Just look around. We’re in Indiana, a state that ranks near the bottom of most rankings that measure quality of life. Our schools are nothing to brag about. Our air and water quality is poor. We don’t do much for our senior citizens, and heaven help you if you need extended health care.

You’d think we’d take more of an interest in who gets elected around here. You’d think we’d start making a few more demands.

Instead, we seem to be content to let the local political machines do the work, pick the candidates, and keep things pretty much they way they’ve always been.

There’s nothing these folks like better than a quiet day at the polls. I suspect they find it kind of a relief: There’s nothing they have to worry about for another couple of years.