It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who is credited with saying that nobody can ever deprive the American people of the right to vote “except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
In Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, where politics is more than a component of government but also a spectator sport, the apparent interest of people in political campaigns voiced in supermarket checkout lines and coffee houses doesn’t always signal how many people will vote in a given election.
The selections this weekend are huge. Of course, Louisiana voters will be helping to decide on Saturday who will be on the Presidential ballot this fall representing the Democratic and Republican parties.
But closer to home, there’s a parish council seat up for grabs, a Port Commission seat to be had and a measure that could increase sales taxes for folks in Thibodaux.
It is easy to bicker about the process. It’s even easier to say that the choices available for various offices are slim pickings, although in many cases that approach is easily understandable.
But those instances make for more work on the part of voters, who owe it to themselves and their neighbors to seek out whose views and approach most closely fit their own.
Candidates have certainly made clear that they are willing to discuss issues with voters. There have been a half-dozen or so debates about the country’s future on national television over the past several months in both major political parties. The battle lines have been drawn, and each candidate has given their stances on pretty much every topic that Americans are passionate about. Now is the time to do our part by interpreting that information, studying the issues that matter to us and follow through by taking that information to the voting booth.
Don’t understand the positions of a candidate for a given office or a constitutional amendment? Ask somebody. If no one that you know has an idea, Google it. There is countless information on the web that has everyone’s positions laid out in line. Heck, if that doesn’t work, just look at each candidate’s web site. There will be a plethora of information there, as well.
There is a great deal of talk that has occurred – particularly while our nation was fighting wars on two fronts, in Afghanistan or Iraq – that freedom was at stake, and so worth the blood that was shed on our behalf.
We can familiarize ourselves with the issues they work with, and if we are still convinced that nobody is doing the job that should be done, we can even run for these offices ourselves. Local offices come open just about every election cycle. There is always a need for competent, caring people.
While we don’t relish the idea of suggesting that anyone do a job in a half-baked way, if we feel comfortable making a choice for is only one of many on a local ballot, then we should still go and make that choice, so that it can be counted and matter.
Every ballot measure can be daunting certainly. But there are people ready to help inform you. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana’s Web site, parlouisiana.org, has helpful descriptions of the amendments in plain English. Or they can be called at 225-926-8414. Someone will be happy to help.
Elections are Saturday. Take the time now to learn what you still need to know. Then don’t forget to vote.
KUDOS TO THOSE BEHIND THE SCENES
Another local sporting team won a big-time title this past weekend – a regular occurrence these days.
Congratulations to the Vandebilt girls’ soccer team and also congratulations to the people along the way who made it possible.
That would be the parents of the players, the youth sports coaches in the area and everyone behind the scenes who makes our area a fruitful sporting area.
The contributions of these folks behind the scenes should not go unnoticed for they are equally important in their own way. •