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
And I thought things
were bad where I came from.
year was 1978. The man to whom I was engaged was from Alabama, so I had
come to make the state my new home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
people are asking, "Where does it all end?" Others are saying, "How has
here's what I say: When will we learn?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.