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Jeff Ward: On March 20, You Have the Power

Forget all the bombast and the vitriol and the pre-election robo-calls and hype from pundits like me. It's your vote. And if you stay home on Tuesday, you've got no excuse to complain about the outcome.

It’s go time!

Like reasonable bosses everywhere, we’ve applied our best due diligence by interviewing these job applicants to within an inch of their lives. Not that they really mind. Give a politician (or an opinion columnist) an ear, and they’ll gladly seize the moment.

Some of 'em did a great job of getting their message out while others insisted on going after the other job applicants instead.

As fascinating as they were, the debates are done, the candidate forums are history, and the newspapers have made their choices. Like a neighbor who insists on undressing in front of a window, there ain’t much left to the imagination.

The signs are everywhere—literally! The last-minute mailers are on their way, the robocalls are in full bloom, and those final efforts to shake just one more voter’s hand are well under way.

And speaking of the voters, whether we agreed or agreed to disagree, I want to thank you all for your frequent and semi-civil discourse during our regular Friday Patch roundtable political conversation.

No one appreciates those spirited debates more than me, but the truth is, that and four bucks will get you a grande cup of coffee at Starbucks. The candidates may be getting ready to take a breather, but you and I still have one more task to cross off that list.

If you close your eyes and lightly inhale, I swear you can catch the unmistakable scent of ballot ink wafting on the too-early summer breeze. The time for discussion is done because, as we all know, that final step into the voting booth is always a solitary venture.

Dear readers! It’s time to put our money where our mouths are! One person, one vote; it doesn’t get more sacred or profound than that.

Please don’t try and tell me that your vote doesn’t matter, because it does. Even if your candidate loses, the fact that you choose to participate in the process means everything. We know the kind of trouble these folks can get themselves into when they think no one’s watching, so it pays to remind them that you haven’t forgotten their names.

Not only that, but if you’re as unhappy about your taxes as you say you are, then those local offices—from your county board on down—mean everything. I know it’s fashionable to sign anti-tax pledges and bark at Washington legislators, but most of us remit a far greater portion of our paychecks to local government than to the feds.

If that ain’t enough to get you to leap off the couch, this is one of the tightest GOP presidential primaries I can remember, and there are significant differences between the three contenders. They can spend money till they’re blue in the face, but the bottom line is, their political life ultimately rests in your hands. Talk about having all the power!

The only statement that staying home on Tuesday will make is that you’re not willing to make a statement.

There will be upsets, there will be tight races, there will be landslides, and we may even see some recounts. But when the smoke does clear, the will of the people will prevail. No more, no less!

Some of us will cheer the outcome while others will lament what might have been. But no matter how it turns out, instead of tearing the winner to pieces before he or she even has the chance to make their first move, let’s come together and work in the best interest of our city, our county, our state and our country.

While we should always be cognizant of the tyranny of the majority, if one of these job applicants manages to pull down just 50.1 percent of the vote, then we the people have granted him or her the right to govern. Within the bounds of reason, they should be allowed to do just that.

Though we may take it for granted, the truth is, in the 10,000 years that humans have dominated this planet, the idea of a smooth transition of power is a new and miraculous concept! It’s something that’s only gained steam within the last two centuries. This almost magical process is what sets us apart from so many other countries.

If you doubt me, take a look at what’s going on in Syria for a stark reminder of how it used to be. And speaking of those brave Syrians, the mere thought of being able to cast a meaningful ballot is enough to keep them going in the fight against tyranny.

I can certainly understand how some folks have lost faith in the political process. But to them and their compatriots I offer one my favorite Winston Churchill quote:

“Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Voting? It’s even better than Christmas day.

Beth Bales March 16, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I LOVE Election Day. And no early voting (which is over, in any case), unless you absolutely have to, like you're having a baby (I used that reason to vote absentee 24 years ago). It's un-American. Most of the good stuff is on the GOP side this time around, so I'll be asking for a GOP ballot, which means I'll be getting lots of GOP mailings for the next few years. You'd think they'd be confused by my getting a Dem ballot in '08...
Jeff Ward March 16, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Beth, What's almost as much fun as voting is watching the returns. It's like sports for nerds! Jeff
Guy Brownson March 16, 2012 at 02:58 PM
With the (tragedy) of Sen. Sandacks' office fire I sent some observations to him. I did not realize that his contest with Ms. Boyle was so heated. If he went down stairs to my optomitrists' offices and bought some good glasses he might have seen it coming. If my calculations are correct, the GOP will turn out three times the voters for the primary as my party will. we'll see Tues night.
Tessa McGuire March 16, 2012 at 03:20 PM
The same way Fantasy Football is the Dungeons & Dragons for adults.
Rick Nagel (Editor) March 16, 2012 at 03:25 PM
What do you think will it take to get people to the polls on Tuesday?
Jeff Ward March 16, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Tessa, Sadly, I still like Dungeons and Dragons on the PS3 - when I'm not playing Batman! Jeff
Don Jankowski March 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Good weather always seems to help people get to the polls. Tuesday will be our 6th or 7th day in a row above 70. So hopefully we will see a "weather bump" turnout.
Martha Hanna March 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
How about 3 free gallons of gas to vote on Tuesday!! That would probably yeild and extra 20% or so. It is sad that we have a 40% voter turnout in this country, downright sad, it is the power the people have and we don't use it.
Kent Frederick March 16, 2012 at 05:09 PM
If you're really nerdy, you watch Canadian and British returns on C-SPAN.
Kent Frederick March 16, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Martha, People, for whatever reason, think that one vote won't matter. Ask George Bush or Al Gore about that in Florida in 2000. The presidential election in Illinois was decided by a few hundred votes in 1960. The 1982 election between Jim Thompson and Adlai Stevenson was very close and wasn't determined for a good month or so. And because of a low turnout in 1986, a couple of LaRouche followers wound up on the Demcratic ticket in 1986.
Kent Frederick March 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM
We know what it took to get people to the polls in Chicago in 1979. A record snowfall for the season, poor handling of snow removal, and CTA trains that were skipping stops. If my memory is correct, the turnout for the primary was around 80%, when it had been historically around 55%. That spelled the end of Mike Bilandic's political career.
Beth Bales March 16, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Absolutely.
Beth Bales March 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Rick, I have pretty much no patience with that question/argument/complaint/whatever. If people don't want to vote, then don't, but as Jeff notes, don't whine later about the outcome. How far is anyone's polling place? I'm guessing it's within a mile of an individual house. We have, as a society, made it ridiculously easy to vote. Get off your dead behind and go to the polls. You could have already voted early, if that fit into your schedule better. (And by "your," I'm not referring to you, Rick!) We have important races at all levels. Don't like Obama? Nominate your choice in the GOP to run against him. Want a Dem running Kane County Board? There are two choices. And those are just two races, one on each side.
Kent Frederick March 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I've lived in Downers Grove for 14 years now. In all that time, I've only had 2 candidates at my front door---Wally Brown in '04 and Linda Painter in '08. I grew up in Cook County, where candidates and precinct workers would all but bump into each other working precincts the month before a primary or general election. Just yesterday, I got a sample ballot from my precinct committeman, in the mail. Why is it that in DuPage County, whether General Assembly, county, township, or local is so into mailings, while politicians and precinct workers walk precincts, ring doorbells, and leave literature at the front door? Maybe people would be more excited about voting, if campaigns were more personal.
Jim Pokin March 16, 2012 at 06:19 PM
According to the Downers Grove Fire Department, the cause of the fire has not been determined.
Don Jankowski March 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I think I found the solution -- we can round up voters with a border collie: http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2012/03/border-collie-will-round-up-your-mates-on-st-patricks-day/ Happy St Paticks Day to all!
Jeff Ward March 16, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Kent, Now that is nerdy. Despite my Canadian heritage, not even I go that far. Jeff
Jeff Ward March 16, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Don, My Australian Cattle Dog would be all too happy to help out with that! Jeff
Jim McMahon March 17, 2012 at 03:31 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3dQMo1MxIPE
Rick Anderson March 18, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Why would anyone that hasn't voted be moved to vote for the same old polictial antics being played out with the same recycled politicans that have no clear message to inspire anyone to vote. It has all become about voting for the lesser of two evils. A far cry from what it should be.
PAUL C. March 19, 2012 at 02:42 PM
http://www.dggab.com/images/forumo/teamsters.pdf Here's a fact that Ronnie boy "forgot" to tell the voters about back in March of 2007. It was real TRANSPARENT", He didn't want us all to know the Teamsters were supporting him. It wouldn't have been the way to start the Era of Time for Change.

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