OUR VIEW: Voting underway
It’s an old saw that if one doesn’t exercise the right to vote then one inherently waives the right to complain. It’s also a bit of a stretch. The right to complain is inviolable, after all.
But the sentiment is understandable and supportable.
Citizens of a free society which employees a democratic process have a responsibility to be aware of key issues, and to make their voices heard where they count most, which is at the polling place. The right to vote includes the right not to do so. Displaying displeasure with available choices by choosing not to vote is a vote in itself, of sorts, though not a very effective one, nor one that is admirable.
Citizen inaction amounts to paralysis of the democratic process. It amounts to what would happen if, in a human body, various individual nerves decided to quit. Not enough for a bodily shut-down, mind you. But enough for the body to certainly not be functioning at its maximum potential.
A free nation’s individual voters are its individual nerve cells. All should be functioning to their fullest potential.
What doesn’t help in regard to suggestions that everybody take part in the process are claims – such as those one presidential candidate insists on spreading – that the process is rigged, that it doesn’t work, or at least that a lack of success by him will be an indicator of this.
Election-rigging is a serious charge that should be seriously investigated. But so far the rigging claims appear to have little basis in fact.
What these pronouncements can do, however, is scare people away from the process. Unsubstantiated statements that the election process is rigged amount to a form of election rigging in and of themselves. They become a self-fulfilling prophecy that eat at the very core of our values as a free society.
This newspaper does not endorse candidates for public office.
But we can and do endorse ideas and concepts, and chief among these is a firm belief in the ability of the people to make sound choices. That’s where the aforementioned matter of personal responsibility comes in.
We all have a responsibility to critically assess claims by candidates, and to avoid making judgements based on statements and claims that are not substantiated.
That rancor and disunity are evident in the electorate is a given during this election year. But rancor and disunity in and of themselves do not undermine the electoral process. The electoral process, imperfect as it may be, is our alternative to armed revolt, to the rule of the bullet rather than the ballot, to the law of the jungle rather than the rule of law. It is based on the understanding that once the dust-ups inherent to political debate and divides have been held, that the will of the majority as it is expressed and evident in the results of polling places, will prevail. At least until next time.
Pre-election bloviation can lead to intimidation and even violence, by an electorate led to believe – through false witness – that the very underpinnings of society are suspect, that they don’t work.
The clearest evidence of a system that doesn’t work is non-participation.
So if you want the system to work, get out and vote if you are registered. If you are not, then do so as soon as possible to be ready for next time.
Let the voting begin.
A BOON FOR THE COMMUNITY
This week Thibodaux Regional Medical Center unveils its long-awaited Wellness Center, a facility dedicated to preventive medicine that promises a better standard of life for all of the Bayou Region’s people.
TRMC CEO Greg Stock has noted that his institution, already a leader in clinical car, is now working “upstream” by preventing illness and promoting its opposite, which is wellness.
It is a major stride for local health care that deserves praise and support.
Health care has too long been a political football – especially in Louisiana – and too long neglected in policy and practice.
The Board of Directors at TRMC has taken on a massive task with its approval and planned administration of the Wellness Center. The project is in clear keeping with its mission statement, by providing “the highest quality, most cost effective health care services possible to the people of Thibodaux and surrounding areas.”
The Bayou Region is blessed with caring and dedicated professionals, at TRMC as well as in Houma, at Terrebonne General Medical Center. We look forward to future innovations at both institutions for the betterment of our communities, and increased meeting of their peoples’ medical needs.