Editorial: Vote! Like it or not, it’s crucial to our future

“Don’t forget to vote,” the photo advises, and we offer that reminder in a sincere spirit of civic-minded positivity. But let’s face it, folks. Most people who don’t vote in local, state and national elections don’t forget to vote; they just don’t bother.

We get it. In today’s hyperpartisan atmosphere, election campaigns are marred by vitriolic, blatantly unfair and often false attacks on opponents, and participating in the process can seem like splashing around in a pigpen.

The candidates and the major political parties are most responsible for this sad state of affairs, but the electorate – or non-electorate, as the case may be – must accept at least some of the blame. We’ve allowed our precious electoral system to degenerate this way. We’ve acquiesced in the mud-slinging, the partisan cheap shots, the vicious and dishonest campaign fliers that show up in our mailboxes – and, more recently, that turn up on social media.

Municipal elections such as those we face on Saturday (May 6) are officially nonpartisan and therefore not quite so susceptible to the slime and grime we see in the elections dominated by the political parties. Unfortunately, the parties have increasingly injected themselves into our “nonpartisan” races in recent years so it’s probably just a matter of time until mayoral and city council contests are every bit as tainted by political ideology and party gamesmanship as the campaigns waged by self-declared Republicans and Democrats.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

Maybe that ship has sailed. Maybe it’s too late to change the tone of our politics, restore the integrity of our campaigns, regain the dignity of our elections. But we can’t just give up in despair. We can’t just decide to “forget” to vote.

We still have to choose our leaders. We still have to decide who we will entrust with the burden of governing, of spending the public’s money, of plotting the future for our cities, our schools, our nation.

So please, folks. Vote. Don’t abdicate your responsibility as a citizen. Don’t ignore this or any other election. Please. Don’t forget to vote.