There are lots of ways to further the good of society, but voting should be considered one of them. While voting in our country is not compulsory, all citizens should feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to casting a ballot in local, state and federal elections.
This year, there is less need to nudge people to the polls. Our leaders are polarizing and have managed to drive up enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle. Around the state and nation, record early voting numbers are being seen and Gillespie County is no exception.
Yet, we still remind everyone to “get thee to the polls.” It’s not a right or privilege for everyone on this earth.
Healthy democracies require a few things from its citizens: that we fight in times of war, and that we pay taxes for roads and services, like garbage collection. Though these may affect our “freedom” to look the other way at global conflicts or leave the garbage in the alley, society gains when we take on these burdens.
Donating to charity or volunteering for an organization benefit society but few things that are relatively easy benefit the whole of society like electing capable, competent leaders.
Some have already cast their votes. For those who have not, this week’s paper includes a non-partisan Voters Guide from the League of Women Voters. It includes state races and candidate profiles for those races where the candidates get little attention, like state justices, as well as those who get the lion’s share of attention, like the gubernatorial race.
We hope schools will continue to teach the importance of casting ballots and other important aspects of our representative democracy. And we hope all in Gillespie County will get to the courthouse to vote early or mark their ballots on Nov. 6.
Time for a time out
If you’re like us (and a whole lot of other Americans, I assume) you are ready for a time out with politics. Go to your corner and stay there for a while, as parents sometimes tell young children.
November 7 can’t come soon enough, win, lose or draw. We have people from both parties complaining the newspaper isn’t covering every political rally, running every photo of political visits. (And when we do run those, we naturally get complaints about “bias” from the other side.)
The tone of our letters to the editor has gotten uglier and it mirrors the entire national scene that is just victimized tedium in every way, shape and form. Instead of concentrating on solutions and working together, we’re forming tribes and seemingly encouraging another Civil War. It’s perverse, considering how many serious issues face this country.
Starting next week, we’re taking a time out with political letters. I’m consulting some advisors on shaping a new letters policy.
Russ Rose, a longtime city council watcher, emailed over the weekend and said, “The letters to the editor is section like reading political ads. Shouldn’t the writers be paying you for these ads? I can only hope they stop after the election.” He’s right.
We erred on the side of giving people their say, and it did, indeed, turn out to be an error.
People writing about their dogs being smarter than the other political party. We’re tired of reading that garbage, not to mention actually paying our printer to publish it. We made a mistake thinking people would moderate themselves.
We have let it go on too long and it has hurt business and the reputation of the paper, even though it simply mirrors the ugly national political atmosphere.
There is a fine line between discourse and disgust. We’re not holding our breath, but hopefully, we as a nation can find that balance again. – K.E.C.
Early voting – 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday through Nov. 2 at the Gillespie County Courthouse, Room 107.
Weekend voting – 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 and 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28.
Regular voting – Nov. 6 at precinct locations. See separate story.
Harper ISD – 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through Nov. 2 at the Harper ISD Administration Building.