Our view: Want to make America great? Get involved

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Isn’t it about time to make Luzerne County great again? And Pennsylvania? And, of course, America?

So let’s focus on how that can happen.

It’s that time again, when birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and candidates are promising. Tuesday’s primary election offers voters the opportunity to nominate candidates for U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and state Senate and House seats.

Pretty important stuff, don’t you think?

And it’s all up to you, the voters. You all have the right and privilege to go to the polls and cast your vote. Only you can keep you from being a part of the process — thereby choosing to be a part of the solution, or part of the problem.

Assuming you all decide that yes, you will vote this year, the real task lies ahead — who to vote for this time.

Candidates are on television saying this and that and, mostly, attacking their most feared opponent. That leaves us to decide who we view as the least offensive, or the most tolerable or the best looking/most articulate. But do we ever really get to know anything substantive about these candidates — at least to the point that we can make an informed decision on what they stand for and what they actually will do if we elect them? Make it a point to try.

Politics has become such a tiresome industry these days. We are at the point where we have little faith in the genuineness of those oft-repeated promises. They all talk a good game — they say what we want to hear, but can we believe them? Is it reasonable to expect that any of them will effect any real positive change in Harrisburg or Washington, D.C.?

In these days of “gridlock” and “partisanship,” is it fair for us to think anything will change?

When will we, the voters, and those we elect, wake up and say, “What have we been doing? It’s time for us to do what is right for the people.”

Will Republicans ever vote with Democrats and vice versa? Will proposed legislation be judged on its merits and how it will affect all the people, not just constituents? Will all elected officials ever be on the same team?

Then America will have a shot at being great again. So will Pennsylvania. So will Luzerne County.

As idealistic as this all sounds, it can happen.

But not when most of the races in this primary are uncontested. What does that tell us?

It tells us that most people — especially those most qualified — choose not to get involved. They don’t want to run and have their lives subjected to a social media feeding frenzy. They don’t want, or need, the kind of out-of-control scrutiny that often results in less-than-accurate assessments of their lives, their families, their personal leanings.

Instead, it all too often becomes a process not unlike a lynching, or an investigation with pre-determined guilt based on less-than-truthful data.

So rather than throw their hats in the ring, they refrain. They refuse to try. And the status quo continues.

Now this is not to say that we don’t have some good elected officials because we sure do. The problem is we need more of them. We need solid candidates to run for office, get elected and bring that breath of fresh air to Harrisburg and Washington. We also need our incumbent office holders to recognize that they, too, need to be part of the process of making all of America better.

We need to hold those elected accountable for what they promise. We need to make sure they follow through on all they say they will do. And if they can’t effect the change they told us was needed, they need to tell us why they aren’t getting the job done.

And don’t blame it on the “other side.” Take the politics out of it. Stop with the party lines and just tell us the truth.

Elected officials really can make America better, Pennsylvania better and Luzerne County better just by themselves doing a better job.

Smokey the Bear used to say, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

In 2018, only you, the voters and candidates, can make the American political system better.

Get out and vote Tuesday.

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