There is a greater need for citizen involvement in our political system than ever before. Yet, we see a dramatically decreasing number of qualified candidates willing to serve coupled with poor voter turnout. My theme for the year started with the romantic proposition to love everything, and I am sticking with the notion that loving is far superior to hating in any situation. However, it is difficult to find much to love about our current political climate.
Why do so few participate? Perhaps because politicians receive far more ridicule than praise, neither politicians nor voters want any part of that rhetoric. Or could it be the lackluster voter turnout? It is understandable when a candidate has poured their heart and soul into a campaign, and the turnout is meek. Perhaps there are countless reasons, and these are only a few; nonetheless, we need to improve.
In May, we will have our local primary election, which will effectively be the final election in many races. Tennessee is so overwhelmingly Republican that Democrats often don’t see the point in running, making the primary the actual election. While there are many very qualified candidates in some races, the field is sorely lacking in others. Those races deserve our attention even more so. This lack of talent seems to hold at every level: local, state, and federal, but perhaps the apathy is greater at the local level, where we often misperceive the actions of a particular politician as not having any effect on our lives. Recent events would say otherwise as we watched those same politicians shutter our businesses during the pandemic. Let’s be clear—every single elected official is essential, and we as citizens should be dutiful in our selection process.
Especially at the local level, the R or D should be of less concern than the person’s qualifications to effectively discharge the duties of that office and their positions on specific local issues. We need more centrists who care more about the outcome than the party line.
As a publisher and journalist, I firmly believe in freedom of speech, but I do not think anyone should be able to anomalously take cheap shots at those willing to take on the challenge of governing. There is little regard for the damaging effect defamation has in the current world of social media. There is no requirement to authenticate yourself to obtain a social media account. Most haters who haunt those forums don’t have huge followings, but they tend to intimidate the people who would have something positive to say. I have tremendous respect for a person who puts forth both their position and a solution in a public forum and uses their name.
The national media members who willingly disseminate disinformation are an entirely different story. It is difficult for any of us to make informed decisions without accurate information. Why do they continue to have a voice? Plain and simple: greed. Both the network and the advertiser are more interested in profit than truth. If every company that advertised with any national media made it implicitly clear that if the network wanted to continue to receive the advertising revenue, misinformation is not an option, then, in my opinion, most of this would stop.
Are we perfect here at Cityview? By no means but we invite anyone to bring light to any of our editorials. If you make a good case for your position, we might just offer to publish your article or idea, especially if you present a plausible solution. We all get better by participating—you have an open invitation to share with us anytime, and please take time to honor our democratic process and vote. Until term limits and true campaign reform pass it’s the least you can do.