Voters Give Politicians Free Pass Print
Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, 13 November 2001 18:00
Bully for Kathleen McGreevy and her admonition to Davenport voters to put up or shut up! Her “Words from the Editor” column in the October 31-November 6 edition (Issue 347) hit the proverbial nail on the head.

The meat of McGreevy’s challenge to Davenport voters is simply stated: “But whether you like the candidates or not, you have an obligation as an American to get out and vote.” I couldn’t agree more.

If we, the citizens of Davenport, are to take anything from the Constitution of the United States of America, then we should look at the references to voting contained in that document.

Articles 15, 19, 24, and 26 contain direct and specific references to voting rights granted to the citizens of the United States of America. Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and Article 17 of the Bill of Rights indirectly refer to voting for members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

The Founding Fathers of our country believed that voting was extremely important. So important, in fact, that they referenced the act six times in our Constitution. So what seems to be the problem with voters in Davenport, who don’t understand the gravity of voting and its import on the process of choosing responsible elected representatives?

McGreevy cites two main reasons, and both are top dead center.

First, she says, “currently, in large part because of the lack of voter turnout, elected officials are not compelled to justify themselves to the public.”

In essence, voter apathy gives candidates license to lie and renege on campaign promises. This is unacceptable, and it is fraudulent.

I get up every day and go to work, to contribute my fair share of taxes to the public coffers. I expect my elected officials to work just as hard spending my money responsibly as I work to give it to them to spend. I also expect my elected officials to have the same level of integrity and honesty after they are elected that they profess to have before the elections. After all, they do work for me.

If my attitude and behavior toward my employer were like those of the politicians here in Davenport, I’d be applying for unemployment.

Secondly, McGreevy says, “As it stands now, not enough voters are turning out to influence the elected officials’ political conduct, and the city suffers for it because special interests prevail more often than not.”

The political process, at all levels, has been corrupted by special interests. This is also unacceptable. I agree with McGreevy’s assertion that we should attract the kind of people to public office who would restore the meaning to “of the people, for the people, by the people.”

The special-interest groups have a place in the political process, but their place is right behind the people. Taxpayers are the special-interest group that the politicians should be listening to, and one way to ensure that is to get out and vote. If the candidates believe their political future rests in the hands of intelligent, informed voters, then the candidates will pay more heed to the voice of the voters. And their attention span will last quite a bit longer than the day after the election.

Let’s become more of a force in our political process here in Davenport. Let’s put the candidates on notice. Let’s become more informed. Let’s become more united. Let’s become more influential. After all, it is our city. Let’s act like it!

Thomas W. Sullivan,
Davenport

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