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Sunday, December 9, 2018 

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If we don't vote, then what do we expect?

An interest article I found on the web.  So exactly who do we blame for corruption and dishonest politicians?  Maybe, just maybe, Frances Coleman has found the answer (or at least part of the answer).

And I thought things were bad where I came from.

The year was 1978. The man to whom I was engaged was from Alabama, so I had come to make the state my new home.

Being a native of Louisiana, I thought I had seen political corruption at its worst. I thought I'd seen graft blatantly masquerading as public service. I thought nothing could surprise me.

I was wrong. Not long after I arrived in the Heart of Dixie, it seemed as though every politician in Mobile County was being investigated, on trial, going to jail or already in jail. That's an exaggeration, of course, but still: City commissioners, county commissioners, the head of the Mobile County school board, the folks who ran the city's coliseum and others spent the 1980s and 1990s either defending themselves or decorating their prison cells.

Things seemed a little better on the state level back then, although in retrospect I probably was just unfamiliar with Alabama politics and didn't know where the bodies were buried.

Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, we've already witnessed a former governor being imprisoned and another governor resigning before he could be indicted. We've seen a speaker of the Alabama House convicted, a former state Supreme Court chief justice removed from office and an assortment of state legislators indicted on corruption charges.

Some people are asking, "Where does it all end?" Others are saying, "How has this happened?"

But here's what I say: When will we learn?

When will we put two and two together and come to the painfully obvious conclusion that there's a direct correlation between the quality of our elected leaders and whether or not each of us votes? Consistently, most of us do not vote, and consistently, we find ourselves with a lot of less-than-stellar politicians.

Think about it. The turnout in this summer's primary elections was about 26 percent. That means that about one-fourth of Alabama's 3.3 million voters bothered to cast ballots, even though some important offices were up for grabs including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and state Supreme Court chief justice.

The next presidential election is in 2020, and turnout is bound to pick up for it. After all, nearly 62 percent of Alabama's registered voters voted in the 2016 election, and in 2008, Alabama set a record with almost 73 percent of registered voters showing up at the polls.

Routinely, though, our turnout numbers are lousy. We may be disgusted with our elected officials. The sight of state legislators in perp walks may sicken us. We may decry the fact that our U.S. senators and representatives are so entrenched behind their parties' banners that they can't get any constructive work done.

Yet we don't take the time to vote. We say we forgot, or we were too busy that day or we didn't care for any of the candidates. Maybe we didn't have a ride or we couldn't get away from work before the polls closed.

 I am ashamed to say that I understand those lame excuses - because I'm guilty of using a variation of the last one. I've occasionally failed to vote in the past because I was in too much of a hurry to go by the poll on my way to work and then I didn't make sure to leave work before 6 p.m. so I could get to the poll before 7 o'clock. I didn't have to ask anyone's permission to leave early; I was the boss of my department. And still, I didn't always vote.

At some point in midlife, motivated by the examples of others, I turned over a new leaf and disciplined myself to vote in each and every election. Imagine what could happen if we all did that - if everybody over the age of 18 registered to vote and then made it a point to cast their ballots in all races, large and small.

I can't promise it, but I believe that we would end up with a higher quality of elected officials, if for no other reason than weak and dishonest candidates might fear incurring the scrutiny and potential wrath of the voters.

What we're doing now isn't working, so for the love of Alabama and our great country, why don't we all give voting a try? Otherwise, we're going to need some bigger prisons before long, both at home and in Washington.

So, assuming we all got out and voted in both the primaries and the actual election, did we get to pick between the best of two evils?  And why was it such a close race, in both the Gubernatorial race and the Senate race.  It sure seems that both races (not only were close, but) didn't give us a very good pool to pick from.  But like Frances said, who's fault is that?

Me, I got my opinion - Give a new candidate two chances (elect them and re-elect them if they seem to be doing a fairly good job) but then move on to someone new.  Kind of like "term limitation", isn't it.

This Weeks Chronicle


December 9, 2018

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"Ventura Highway" is a 1972 song by the band America from their album Homecoming.

Dewey Bunnell, the song's vocalist and writer, has said that the lyric "alligator lizards in the air" in the song is a reference to the shapes of clouds in the sky he saw in 1963 while his family was driving down the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, where they had a flat tire. While his father changed the tire, he and his brother stood by the side of the road and watched the clouds and saw a road sign for "Ventura".


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