If every time you stand up you are slapped down, soon you will no longer stand up. If every time you speak up you are ridiculed or ignored, soon you will no longer speak up. If every time you vote, your votes are ignored, pretty soon you will lose interest in voting. Is this apathy? Not really. It is a psychological discouragement to act. It is a twist on Pavlov's dog theory where encouragement begets action. In the case of the voter, it is the discouragement of action. Pavlov's training works both ways: action or non-action. When voting becomes a waste of your time and effort, why do it? Why bother to research the issues? Why bother to look into a candidate's qualifications? Why bother your little head to consider voting at all? Votes don't matter, so what is the point? Referendums have become a joke. Or a token crumb thrown out there to make the public think they can have some say in the matter, when in fact the public vote carries no weight with arrogant politicians. As politicians continue their march to arrogantocracy (see definition below), the public loses motivation to vote. And this discouragement of a despairing electorate only serves the politicians who play more and more to a narrowing group of special interests. People are not apathetic. People have been trained by politicians to stay home, sit down, and shut up because their votes don't matter. Good little lap dogs.
This is the lesson the public is being taught time and again, over and over for the last several years of our elections. The turn out in the recent primary election was pathetic. Is it any wonder?
Today we learn that, in spite of the votes against the parks referendum, the City Council and the Mayor have decided to borrow more money, committing the voters to more interest payments for what these politicians want. A park. In an economy where people need jobs and are struggling to make ends meet, by all means let's put them further into debt, tax them more, and renovate a park. And using a low voter turnout as an excuse, they say the vote didn't really reflect a true majority. So those who did take the time and effort to vote can be batted away as if their votes were null and void. If low voter turnout is some plausible reason, then couldn't you use the same low voter turnout to remove the same politicians from office? Those politicians who are elected in less of a majority of the entire electorate cannot operate with authority because they did not achieve a true majority. Using Mayor Stultz's logic, the election is not valid due to low turnout and must be ignored. Well, that makes me wonder what the percentage of electorate turnout was when she was elected. Maybe we should look into that. Do any of the past recent elections in this country reflect a "true" majority of the people? When Mayor Stultz was elected in 2007.... A little more than 17 percent of the county’s registered voters came out to the polls during the last municipal election in 2007, down from 19 percent in 2005, according to the Gaston County Board of Elections.">Reference
Like the arena referendum in Charlotte, politicians ignored the vote. Just as Obama ignored the fact that well over 63% of Americans do not want his Health Care Reform, he ignores the will of the people. If you wonder why, over the past years, the public has become either disengaged or angry, you only have to look at our own local government for the answer. Politicians at all levels of government have rigged for themselves too much power and no accountability to the electorate. "Nice work if you can get it" comes to mind.
Sooner or later the public will be angry enough to stand up, speak out, and get rid of this arrogance in government. Sooner would be better than later.
This definition is by Michael Dingake, columnist who was referring to Zimbabwe and Botswana at the time.
"It is a new term, which defines a peculiar shade in a government, particularly in so-called democracies; generally the phenomenon manifests itself in parties who have been in power for a long time; invariably such [parties] become arrogant, conceited, too self-confident to imagine they can ever be disposed by earthly means."