Think About It: Feeling Philly Empty - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

November 7, 2016

Think About It: Feeling Philly Empty

Under the heading of indifference loves company, here's a story I found revealing. As the political seasons ends and we once again lament how few real races we have locally and some find themselves disturbed by the lack of voters, understand that we are not alone in our apathy and apparent frustration. For example, in the huge metropolis of Philadelphia, the birthplace of our democracy, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Baer tells us that 79% of the local races in the House and Senate went uncontested this year. Yes, 23 of 29 races were decided before Election Day. Election Day there is apparently Re-Appointment Day. And three of the unopposed, entrenched legislators have been charged with crimes, including bribery and money laundering!

In Pennsylvania's state races, 45% of the House seats and 52% of the Senate races have just one candidate. Of the 228 Pennsylvania House and Senate races up for grabs, pundits suggest that perhaps just 10 total are really being contested. That's 4%... Pitiful, but not much different from what we get here, where many races are races in name only. Voter apathy, the sense that things won't get any better with change, perceived weak opposition- whatever the rationale for poor turnout and poor races- we apparently get what we deserve here and elsewhere.

As I recently stood in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, I couldn't help but think what our forefathers, flawed as they were 240 years ago with their own issues including the British, slavery and such, would think today about a disinterested electorate choosing among a less-than-stellar selections every other year. Does the system need tweaking, or are we simply accepting democracy by the few for the few forevermore? Think about it…

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