Sun
Aug 10 2008
10:57:am

Maryville Daily Times Editorial: Election results reflect lack of voter concern

That is pathetic when regardless of administrations, local, state or national, we hear almost continuous complaints about government. It is our opinion that a person eligible to register to vote and a registered voter who is too uninterested in government to cast a ballot deserves what they get. And as far as most ears are concerned, they lose their right to voice complaints.

On a certain level I agree. I'm not sure who "most ears" are (I can guess), but I have to disagree that anyone who doesn't vote loses their right to voice complaints. The First Amendment says everybody has a right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances," whether they vote or not. I agree, though, that it's inconsistent to complain and then not vote.

But here's where the MDT argument breaks down. Do we get what we deserve, or do we get what the backroom mechanics of the local political establishment and the MDT decide we need? Perhaps voters are conditioned by so many years of the same old same old from the same old same old that there's no expectation of anything different so why bother?

But you have to give the local Republican political establishment credit for creating this environment. They have a reliable base of voters they can get to the polls every time. And they have created an atmosphere where only a very few brave souls would even dare consider dragging themselves and their families through the mud to oppose them.

So the GOP machine is doing it's job and they're good at it. Local Democrats, progressives, and independent minded people interested in better government, however, are not doing their job. Job one is getting out to vote.

Here are some interesting facts. On Aug. 7th, 6,451 people voted for Democrat Mike Meares for Circuit Court Judge, the only contested partisan race on the ballot.

In Blount County, 9,305 people voted in the Feb. 2008 Democratic presidential primary. 13,373 Blount County voters voted for Democrat Harold Ford Jr. in the 2006 U.S. Senate election. 23,433 voted for Democrat Phil Bredesen for Governor in that same election. 15,042 voted for Democrat John Kerry for President in 2004.

Where did all those Democrats and Independents go? Democrats, progressives, and independent minded voters had a real chance to throw a monkeywrench, so to speak, in the cogs of the local GOP machine. So why didn't they show up?

Races for President, U.S. Senate and Governor certainly draw more interest than the election of a local judge. But here's another interesting fact. More people voted in the Aug. 7th Circuit Court election than voted for Blount County Mayor in Aug. 2006. And Judge Mike Meares got more votes in the Feb. primary than he did in the Aug. general election!

What this suggests is that while there appeared to be heightened interest (as compared to usual voter apathy) in the Circuit Court election, negative campaigning works -- primarily to suppress the opposition vote.

(It should also be noted that the local newspapers here and in Knoxville played a role in ginning up controversy where none really existed, which may account for some of the increased interest but not in a good way.)

The only puzzling thing is why run a negative smear campaign via swiftboating surrogates when you're starting out with a huge advantage? The answer, I suppose, is that the GOP establishment is good at their job. They take no prisoners, give no quarter, and leave nothing to chance.

That's something Democrats in Blount County, and all across America, are going to have to learn if we want to be a viable opposition party in the interest of better government.

apathetic voters

You are correct R. the bottom line is the lack of interest and participation. I must admit it is quite painful to walk into a voting booth and push a few buttons.

I'm still laid up in bed I'm so exhausted from exercising my right, hopefully I'll be up to task come November, but three times in one year is asking a lot....

I will also agree with you 100% on the impact of the MDT and KNS. Complete and utter propaganda of the machine, for the machine, by the machine.

The fact that the MDT actually rattled off the bull$#% above after the fact is a complete slap in the face to those of us that actually pay attention and see these tabloids for what they really are.

Thanks for blog outlet R.

It was the title

It was the title that sent me running for my blood pressure meds:

Election results reflect lack of voter concern

I read it as "noone is concerned, therefore all is right with our county."

"Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference." --Voltaire

"no one is concerned, therefore all is right with our county?"

andy:

I beg to differ with the Daily Times. My clients and I have seen a side of Blount County politics/judiciary that can, at a minimum, best be described non-compliant with existing rules and law. This non-compliance has adversely affected many citizens whose elected and appointed "leaders" have failed to follow the oaths that they have sworn to obey.

If the DT believes that things are ok with Blount County, then lets let more be revealed, starting with who might get an audience with the new Circuit Judge to discuss the local rules, as promised by Judge Duggan in his campaign.

Judge Meares started the process of public examination of existing local rules and mudslinging political statements-a courageous stance which may have cost him an election. His leadership will undoubtedly inspire others follow his lead. More and more attorneys and others from the outside will join clients and interested parties from BC who have been disenfranchised from portions of the Blount County judiciary and from portions of BC politics. The electoral challenge remains to inspire the still scared voters to challenge the existing power base.

Courage is not the absence of fear: the absence of fear is some kind of brain damage. Courage is going forward in face of the fear. Courage is a mission.

A uniform policy of enforcement of the rules that are or may become law would be a start. Playing a guessing game as to the rules and law is not what all of the lawyers involved in the process learned in their law schools. They know it, and I know it. And it takes courage to change the culture here.

Revolutions take time, energy and effort, and money, and I'm optimistic that the day of adherence to law in BC is forthcoming. Indeed, if the Daily Times is resting on its laurels, then the coming tsunami will be ever more devastating.

Another final thought: there's a group of young leaders in BC that can take this opportunity to make a difference in their county. The "old guard" has not indoctrinated many of these fine young people. The young leaders have voices fueled by the new media, including this fine blog. These young people must be encouraged to step to the forefront-whatever their political views-and be encouraged to level the playing field. For those who believe in higher principles, history is replete with examples of heroes who pick themselves up after suffering defeats and change their destinies. This change is possible and BC is ripe for this change.

TFM

BTW, on a personal note, for those who desire to retaliate against posts such as this one, personal attacks will accomplish nothing but inspire me. Resilience has become my way of life, and the mayor's invitation last November at his rally for Judge Young to challenge the political authority of BC served to galvanize rather than dissuade people like me who are dedicated to change.

T

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-671-0598

I Pray The Daily Times Gets What It Deserves

With a mayor, mini-mayor, Goddard & Gamble and Ruby Tuesday calling the shots for our "newspaper of record," one can only pray that The Daily Times gets what it deserves. With all of these "un-trustworthy blogs" out here, and brilliant editorials like "you get what you deserve," I live for the day when Blount County wakes up and realizes that its butt-kissing newspaper and self-serving government no longer represent anything. Maybe, if the alarm clock goes off, the taxpayers will put the newspaper and "civil-servants" out to pasture - instead of the other way around.

simply amazing how everyone

simply amazing how everyone is wrong except for the enlightened few!!!

it is amazing

and it will be those enlightened few that are still around as whirlpool makes it's final turn around the bowl and that giant sucking sound finally rids us of all the hypocrites that call themselves conservative.

If by "enlightened few" you

If by "enlightened few" you mean Cunningham, the local GOP machine, and the MDT, well, yeah.

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