Vol. 10, No. 40

October 3-9, 2002

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War and Our November 5 Election

These are nervous times in our part of the world with so many Marylanders connected to Washington and what looks to be our nation’s march toward war.

Truth be told, the times have been unsettled for more than a year now with the unending furor over terrorist threats.

But now, war talk is blaring at a time when people need their wits about them: Election Day. From what we can tell, talk of war is drowning out other issues vital to our lives.

People are distracted when they need to be paying attention to important matters like the economy, and, for some politicians, that is fine.

We hear candidates talking endlessly about the fuzzy notion of “leadership” and a whole lot about threats to our national security from a tiny country 8,000 miles away.

But what about our economic security? Have you checked your IRA or your 401(k) recently? You might need to fortify yourself before learning that the savings/retirement/vacation/college fund you have been building for years now might be better referred to as a 101(k).

Who among our leaders is talking about what has happened to our dreams while candidates and the news media feed us this bitter diet of impending war and murky threats of further terrorism?

What is being said about the responsibility of the corporations that have been deceiving us routinely and in so doing have fed the sell-off on Wall Street that has crushed so many of us who believed in our free-market system?

And where is the full-throated discussion about growth management, curbing congestion and reining in unwise development that is devouring the last of our fragile lands?

It may well be that what we’re hearing from our political leaders is so lacking in relevance to our lives that many people are turning their backs on the political process.

Here are some statistics nearly as grim as the stock market: In elections this year, 17 states had record low turnouts in their primaries. Overall, turnout of the voting age population this year was 50.6 percent lower than in the 1960s, according to a fresh study from the non-partisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.

It looks like many people are just giving up.

Our hope is that in the last month of the election, Chesapeake Country citizens will speak up in community forums and gatherings, demanding that candidates talk about our issues, not theirs. And then we must vote.

If we don’t, our times can become far more oppressive.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly