Volume 12, Issue 9 ~ February 26-March 3, 2004

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Of Primary Importance: Don’t Let Your Vote Go Uncounted

You may have fallen under the influence of the cynics. They may have convinced you that government has nothing to do with your life. Election Day may mean no more to you than Third-Cousins-Twice-Removed Day.

If so, we hope to win you back.

We write in this issue that some people love politics the way you may love basketball, baseball or boxing.

That’s true, and we’re among them.

But it’s more than sport that keeps us tuned in to the Primary Election on March 2, when Marylanders help choose the contenders for the big election next November.

It’s an equal mixture of worry and hope about what’s going to happen to us, our children, our Bay and our world.

War and peace are in the hands of the people who win office in November. Jobs and Social Security are in their hands. Taxes and schools are in their hands. Clean air and clean water are in their hands.

Yet it’s not politicians who fight and die, work or lose their jobs, age with security or with terror, support an indifferent government or a good one, learn or fall behind. It’s you and me.

The very same we hire those politicians in the first place and place our futures in their hands.

It’s a job we do with our own hands — if we bother to vote.

We’ve always liked the slogan Think Globally, Act Locally, and voting is local the way few things are nowadays. Every neighborhood has a polling place. They’re schools and firehouses and community halls, and on Election Day, neighbors and friends gather there to do a job. We line up, and out loud, one by one, say our name and — in Primary Elections like this one — own up to our political party. That alone is an act of conscience and citizenship.

Then each of us walks up to one of those new voting computers, and on its screen, we touch the name of the candidate to whom we’re pledging our faith.

As editor Sandra Martin writes in this week’s feature story, “you’ll never have a more intimate moment with democracy.”

With your vote, you’ll be hiring for top jobs and big decisions — the kind that are made in Washington, for all of the country. You’ll be picking people who work on Capitol Hill and helping decide who works in the White House.

One of the men who would be president, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, had made himself a contender by punctuating every speech with the line “We can do it, you and me. Yes we can.”

Whether or not you think John Edwards would make a good president, we can do it, yes we can.

But only if we vote early, on March 2, and often, voting again on November 2.

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Last updated February 26, 2004 @ 1:12am.