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Respect nonvoters for simply enjoying the status quo

Vox Pop

I’m a political junky. I have the time and inclination to read and stay current. I’ve even submitted a few previous letters here.

But, I’m somewhat bemused by the vast number of people who are not politically active or aware. As a state we had record turnout for the last major election in 2018. But it was still only 61%.

Now some people bemoan the lack of interest and participation by nearly half of the population. I’m not one of those people. In the real world there are entirely too many things requiring attention while you’re building a family, a career, and a life. And then there’s the difficulty in trying to figure out who’s telling the truth.

I will, however, lament a concept gone missing that I seem to recall from my younger days. There was a level of respect given the apolitical or nonpolitical young families who were too busy to devote time to understanding or complaining about governance.

The state tended to a degree of inertia. Things pretty much stayed the same from year to year and could be depended upon to repeat that pattern! Laws didn’t change with every vagary of the wind or consumer fad or unrepeatable university study. If you worked hard and kept your nose clean you could be assured of increasing prosperity and standing in the community. The rules didn’t change overnight and although the playing field wasn’t always level, once you learned the ropes you could advance.

This theory of continuity is an element of social justice that a majority appears to have forgotten. Like the oath that doctors take, we should demand of our representatives, “First do no harm.” Not all change is for the better and the 40% to 50% who normally don’t get involved deserve to be heard. Their silence is a call to maintain the status quo. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

You don’t need me to tell you which side is convinced that everything about America is broken and needs fixing. I find that’s ignorant and disrespectful to a lot of people who just want to be left alone to do their own thing. You know, that whole “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” thing.

— Mike Tanis, Medford