From The Editor

FTE

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Eduardo Stanley, editor of the Community Alliance newspaper

Primaries aren’t particularly attractive to voters, so a low turnout for the March 5 election was expected. However, only 30% of the registered voters bothered to vote in Fresno County.

Let’s say a candidate wins with 50% of that 30% of the overall voters. That means a small minority of people elected that candidate—about 15% of the registered voters. Can we call that a democratic election? A democratically elected official? Certainly not.

So why don’t people vote? What I heard is lack of motivation and mistrust of the candidates and political parties. Nothing new. However, what are the political parties and candidates doing to change this situation? Nothing.

The parties aren’t interested in an educated, motivated electorate. They don’t really want to be held accountable and discuss openly how politics works, the money involved, and how and why they make decisions.

Republicans, in particular, hate to be questioned; they hate the media. But Democrats are not much better. Yet, in each election period we are bombarded with donation requests by candidates, some from outside our district and whose name we never heard of.

Recently, I had a conversation with a group of young people—all voting age—and they expressed their frustration and disappointment with the political system and their intention not to vote in November.

“Politics as usual,” they said. And if this is a big, national trend, then Democrats are in trouble. Because Republicans are already placing all kinds of obstacles for minorities to vote, hoping to get mostly white and old voters to vote because they know this demographic is more conservative.

I don’t see a change in our political system, at least in the near future. Money talks and will continue to talk in our political system, which gives you the feeling that candidates are for sale. And those who donate the most are rich people and corporations.

On top of that, we have a Supreme Court currently dominated by a majority of racist, conservative judges. So, this is a closed circle in which change emerges slowly, if at all. Young people are correct in their criticism of the system. In Congress, little gets done.

The citizenry isn’t really represented in Congress. We can’t blame voters for being apathetic. Members of Congress seem not to care about their constituents (see “Activists Call on Costa to Meet with Palestinian and Muslim Leaders” on page 1). The “Costa syndrome” is common in our political landscape, and there is little hope that this will change.

People should get more organized to confront this awful situation. We should create groups, or “clubs,” to learn and discuss politics—but please, no more nonprofits.

To learn who is who in this poisonous circle, we have to get more involved in the process, away from parties. Perhaps we should join some organizations (but which one(s)?) to push together for change.

It won’t be easy, but we can’t sustain this circus called Congress or representatives like Costa any longer. And how about a candidate for the White House who is confronting dozens of serious legal challenges in court? How can our system accept this? This ain’t democracy, for sure.

Till next month.

Author

  • Eduardo Stanley

    Eduardo Stanley is the editor of the Community Alliance newspaper, a freelance journalist for several Latino media outlets and a Spanish-language radio show host at KFCF in Fresno. He is also a photographer. To learn more about his work, visit www.eduardostanley.com.

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