Tuesday’s election is over — apparently a lot of Democrats won and some Republicans as well.
But you might find yourself asking: “Did the people win?”
And more importantly: “Do the people ever win in these elections?”
Now let me qualify all this by saying there are good elected officials out there who are trying to enact positive change to benefit not just their constituents, but the country as a whole. And I am certain these well-intended legislators are often frustrated by the partisanship that has created such gridlock in Washington, Harrisburg and many other state capitals.
But, I’m afraid, the legislators who want to make things better for the people and the country are, by far, in the minority.
Gone are the statesmen and women who held those seats in Congress and the White House. And gone with them is any hope things will ever get better for the people.
An email sent out by Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Marcel L. Groen the day after the election kind of typifies the current state of things.
”Election Day was a great day for Democrats both across the country and here in Pennsylvania,” Groen wrote. “Let it be known that voters prefer candidates who stand for growing the middle class and making sure that everyone who works hard can get ahead, and that the Democratic Party is the party for them.”
Really Chairman Groen? A great day just for Democrats? Where is that growth for the middle class occurring? Where are these people getting ahead? What is actually being done?
Every election cycle, the messages are the same. Candidates get to the podium and scream how they are going to do this and that for the people and the crowd cheers. And they go from rally to rally, town to town, state to state and they repeat the statements and the crowds cheer and cheer.
And then elections are held, people are elected and we never see any concrete results — no fulfillment of those promises. The deal is broken — the promises were made, the people voted, the promises never were kept. And it happens year after year, election after election.
When will it stop? How can we stop it?
One way we can stop it is by finding candidates who want to serve in the spirit of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. Candidates who want to do what is right and who will fight to get it done without concern for re-election prospects. They will fight because it is what they were elected to do — to be the people’s champions.
Groen’s email was filled with congratulatory remarks for Democrats who won here and there and how the party was the big winner. History was made, he said, and more history is to be made in 2018.
The message was clear — it was all about how the Democratic Party was successful. The GOP espoused the same self-congratulatory stuff last year. And that is exactly what politics has become — it’s about the political parties and getting Democrats and Republicans elected and re-elected. It’s about serving the people who finance campaigns. It’s no longer about making sure the constituents — the people — are pleased.
This is why there is so much apathy among voters. Just look at the numbers from Tuesday’s general election:
• 204,757 registered voters in Luzerne County
• 49,624 ballots cast
• 24.24 percent voter turnout
With so few people voting, is it then fair to say that we, the people, are somewhat to blame for the lack of statesmanship today. Despite having nearly every conceivable excuse not to vote, not voting is inexcusable. Not only should we vote, we need to get involved in the process. We need to be a part of the effort to convince potential statesmen and women to run for political office and when they are elected, we need to make sure they keep their promises and always do what is correct.
Until we do all we can to fix the problem, we will always be part of the problem.
Is statesmanship dead? I think it survives somewhere in the hearts and minds of people who can make a difference but who choose not to. In 2017, it’s all about what political party is winning or losing. Nothing is ever accomplished because party always comes first.
Statesmen and women do all they can to get things done, while politicians are only concerned about winning elections and party favors.
I’ll leave you with this quote from JFK:
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”