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Marty Lich

"Open the Doors, Bring on the Crowds"
By Marty Lich
Aug 19, 2004 - 11:58:00 AM

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I arrived at 6 am and began setting up the room. Out went the tables, out went the paperwork and on went the building's lights. Made some coffee, fixed the signs and opened the doors. The first people began to arrive promptly at 7 am. As they drifted in, chatting one by one I realized my day had begun. By 10 am I was feeling pretty good, much more awake, "thank you dear coffee", and I noted about 40 people had passed on through. And at the day's end, I noted 197 people had checked in with us. Do you believe I had set up at a hotel convention or was exhibiting at a show?   No, it wasn't that. I was set up for our Election Primary. You see, I am a Poll Judge.

It is sad statement on our society when county clerk and recorders are very pleased at having a 20% United States voter turnout. 20% is considered a high success rate? Keep that mind while I present the next questions to you, the public, our American voters.

Do you blindly trust the car dealerships will give you the very best deal available on a certain vehicle model or do you shop several dealerships, utilizing self-education strategies and then make informed purchase decisions based upon what you have learned? Do you believe that the corner gas station is giving you the absolute lowest price on a gallon of gas, or do you compare prices at the various gas stations located in your area? If the answer is yes to the second portions of either of those questions, then why aren't you, and millions of others, casting your vote for the candidates who most closely share your political and spending viewpoints? If every time you walked into your local grocery store and they whipped out a crisp hundred dollar bill for you to spend, would you shop with coupons or even compare prices of the merchandise, looking for the best price and the best deals available? I doubt it. But if every time you walked into your grocery store and they whipped out crisp $100 bills for you to spend that they had just withdrawn from your personal bank account, would you shop a bit more carefully? I would. And I do. Our elected officials often whip out hundred dollar bills as well to spend. However it isn't from the Magic Money Making Machine, it is your hard-earned cash money. It comes out of your paid 'accounts' held by the Tax Man, whether it is local, state or federal tax monies held by the local/state/federal Tax Men. Do you really believe that they will put caps on the spending if you continually reach in and whip out hundred dollar bills as demanded? Once again, I doubt it. On the flip side of the coin, no pun intended, it may be that you are more than happy to whip out hundreds because it is an item you really want and you are happy to fund it via our government. That is fine, but if there is apathy at the elections, who gets to call the shots with your money? If you did not vote, it is certain that it will not be you.

Folks, when our officials say such things as "This or that is being funded by the federal government, thereby making it free to you," is it really free to you? The answer is no, no it is not. The federal government funding is from your local/state/federal taxes you paid out of your paychecks. If your local government officials say to you "We are asking for approval on bond so-and-so because we have just paid off prior bond-so and-so, and it will not cost you anything more," ladies and gentlemen, that is the same theory as saying you just paid off your car, and now you are refinancing it for another twenty years. Are you paying additional finance charges and interest on the new loan? Of course. It costs more money. It is not free. Everything comes with a price tag.  When your elected city officials request a tax rate increase of "Only 1 cent" that sounds relatively painless. However usually in small print it will say something to the effect of "the average tax increase pencils out to $80 or so dollars a year per average resident." Again, $80.00 is not huge. However I would be thrilled to find 80 bucks lying in the street and I would bend over and pocket it. Put in that perspective, the eighty dollars a year loom's much larger to me.

People today seem to blindly trust our government and our elected officials to do what is best for them. Our elected official's decisions, whether it is monetary, zoning or health will all have an affect on you, an affect on your children, an affect on your grandchildren and on your country. Every action does indeed have a reaction.

We living in the United States of America are so fortunate to have an election cycle that allows the peoples voices in America to be heard. Allows for the American public to reinforce the "For the people and By the people" portion of our law structures. Why aren't we using it when we can, when we are asked to? Where are all the American voters? Where are their opinions, their thought-processes, and their intelligent, decision-making, life-structuring votes?

Voter apathy seems to run deep in America. Out of 2000 and something registered voters in my four local precincts, 197 cast votes that day. Several more had cast their vote by mail-in ballots. Where were the rest of the voters? I do not have an answer. To be sure, it meant that they had to set aside ten minutes or so from their busy day. To be sure, it meant getting up ten minutes early for work or eating dinner ten minutes later than normal. But it was only ten minutes of their time to have a direct effect on the outcome of the General Election in November. We all read letters these residents submit as Letters To The Editor, particularly if they are outraged at something, requesting this or that be done, or this and that be changed in their communities. They do have an opinion, often a strong one on local, state, and federal events. However by not voting, how can they, why do they, expect their opinion to be recognized and acknowledged and responded to?

Speak up. Take a stance. Vote. It is your country, it is your right and it affects all that you do in the end. Exactly where are the 'For the people by the people' people themselves on Election Days in America?

Marty Lich

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