EDITOR’S NOTE: Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.
The primary election for St. George city council was held last week and all I can think to say to my fellow citizens is SHAME ON YOU!
While there is a neck and neck bid between Sam Laub and Tara Dunn for the sixth contender that will be settled this week, the sad and disconcerting fact is there was only an estimated 12 percent turnout for the primary election and, of the six who will go on to November elections, the top three in overall votes were incumbents.
Does anyone find it plausible that those who currently hold office are representative of the majority of citizens in St. George – given that only 12 percent actually voted?
This is to say, by inference from the turnout, that the current city council must have its finger on the heartbeat of this community and is doing an impeccable job.
Guess what? If this primary election is any indication of what this community wants from its governance then the council is spot-on in assuming so.
I spend an inordinate number of hours on a weekly basis talking with people of all backgrounds and ideologies in this town. I attend hearings, summits, city council meetings, and read voraciously on matters concerning St. George.
What I gather from all of this is that the answer to my first question, that is whether or no the those currently in office represent the majority of St. George citizens, might just be no. But unless the people of this great town vote, we will be relegated in silence to accept the assumptions that the current council holds: That being that they are doing the will of their constituency and, in fact, doing it well.
Do you agree?
Regardless of where you land on the political spectrum, it is reasonable to assume that you understand one thing: What makes our nation unique is our willingness to allow for opposing points of view in our governing process.
The founding fathers of this nation established principles that guarantee us the freedom to openly, and without threat of recourse, question our elected officials; in fact, we have the freedom to instruct them on what it is we want them to do in the interest and well being of our society.
We have checks and balances that keep one ideology or another from becoming too extreme and too powerful. This should keep any one ideology from enforcing a will upon the community that is inconsistent with the community’s best interests.
At present, from the vantage point of an observer, it seems that the current city council has no such checks and balances.
I have attended a number of their meetings in the past few months which allow me to offer an empirical hypothesis: I have yet to see them resolve anything with less than a unanimous vote, so I wonder if there is diverse representation on the council?
While a percentage of this paltry 12 percent who turned out to vote for them might be in agreement with them, I would contend a more realistic portrait of the overall population of this city’s view on things would be evident if more of you got off of your internet soap boxes and checked a ballot in November.
And, I might add, if you do not, please keep your complaints to yourself.
It might be cliché to say this, but if you do not exercise your fundamental right to make your voice heard, your opinion is essentially ineffective. In voicing it without the action of your vote, you show contempt for not only the process but for the blood spilled that ensured you have the right to be heard.
You also make a mockery of yourselves when you opine in fictitious names; these are guises professed to buffer and protect your privacy. I suspect that in reality you do not wish to be held accountable for what you say. For those who exercise their voice in these ways, your version of taking a stand is safe at best and likely cowardice at the worst.
While I may or may not agree with our elected officials and candidates, I can say with no fear or reservation that I respect them for having the guts to put their name next to their convictions and to place their lives in the service of their communities and country.
You can do the same.
Vote people. If you do anything in the months to come, anything of noteworthy courage, vote. Please.
See you out there.
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