Letter to the Editor: 11.18.11

Caleb Johnson
junior from
Bowling Green, Ky.

(This letter is a resonse to the article titled “Local election turnout tops at 27%, county officials say” in the Nov. 11 edition of the The Murray State News.)

Earlier this month the population of Kentucky sent a strong message to its leadership. Yes, I am talking about Election Day, but I am not referring to Gov. Beshear’s landslide victory.

As The Murray State News dutifully reported, Beshear responded to his election by saying “I asked voters to send a strong message, a message rejecting the politics of obstruction, the politics of division and the politics of religious intolerance. And today, they have sent that message in the strongest possible terms.”

But Governor Beshear completely misinterpreted the results of the election. Of the people who voted, I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of them were simply voting along the same party lines they have for years, which is hardly an indictment of the politics of division. Those who were really fed up with party politics as it is were probably among the almost 75,000 people who voted for the independent Gatewood Galbraith.

The real message in this election was sent by the vast majority of the population who did not vote. The truth revealed by the 72 percent of people who stayed home from the polls is that participatory democracy in our state is sick and dying. The concept of self-government upon which our country was founded is either no longer cherished, or thought to be unobtainable by most.

It is sad that things have sunk so low in a country which has been an inspiration for democracy around the world, and I sincerely hope we can rebuild our dignity and begin to exercise our rights more often.