First off, I want to say thank you to all of those that voted this week. Even though I was glad that the tax initiative to support developmentally disabled services passed, I was absolutely disgusted with the voter turnout. I know that if you are reading this you more than likely voted so I’m probably preaching to the choir, but that’s OK because I need to get it off my chest.
According to the county clerk’s office, the voter turnout was around 7.4 percent. So since this measure only required a simple majority for passage that means about 3.7 percent of those eligible to vote decided the issue for 100 percent of the taxpayers. I do not want to hear anyone who didn’t vote gripe or complain about the outcome. If you aren’t concerned enough to vote, then why should I be concerned with how you feel after the vote is over?
I fully understand that there are unique situations where someone misses going to the polls for legitimate reasons. But that can’t cover over 92 percent of the eligible voters who didn’t vote on Tuesday. We should be ashamed of ourselves that we, as a society, take the privilege to vote so lightly.
This Monday is Veteran’s Day and there will be ceremonies and speeches talking about how we owe our freedom to our brave service men and women. There will be songs and tears and applause. Well, let me tell you something — words are cheap and actions speak louder than words. When we neglect our responsibilities as citizens then we disrespect every sacrifice that every American has ever made for this country in the pursuit of freedom.
I am a veteran and proud of it and enjoy the celebrations. But, if I had the choice between a ceremony one day a year or citizens actively engaged in their civic responsibilities every day of the year, I know which one I would choose. People gripe about the things happening in our nation but then they don’t vote, don’t stay engaged on current events and don’t attend community forums where they get the chance to voice their opinions.
But, these same people will sure complain when things don’t go the way they think they should. This year for Veteran’s Day think about whether or not your actions speak louder than your words and then do something about it. Regardless of what some people may think freedom is never free and if you don’t cherish and protect it then one of these days you may not have it.
Since I’m on a roll I’m going to get a couple more things off my chest. Have you heard the latest from that bastion of common sense — New York City? (Just in case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic about the common sense). They are now proposing to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21. This is the same city that banned the extra large soda cups because they thought they were unhealthy.
Since I was talking about veterans let’s put this into perspective. They will let an 18-year-old man or woman go off to a foreign country and die for them but they won’t let them buy a cigarette when they come home. And lest you think I’m not consistent, I think that the legal drinking age should also be 18. I don’t think that we should tell our young people that you are old enough to die for us but not old enough to drink or smoke.
By taking this stand, I’m not condoning, condemning or debating the moral and health risks of drinking and smoking. I think that those are a personal decision which is why I think someone old enough to die for my country should be considered old enough to make those decisions for themselves. As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it to.
But, while New York City is considering banning smoking under the age of 21, the city of Washington, D.C. is considering decriminalizing marijuana usage. So, in the near future you could have the scenario where an 18-year-old couldn’t buy a cigarette in NYC but could smoke pot in D.C. with no fear of criminal penalties. Does that make sense to you?
And, the final tidbit comes from our friends in the federal bureaucracy. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to a Senate committee that it is possible that a convicted felon could be one of the “navigators” that are responsible for enrolling people into the new health insurance exchange. So, if you are trying to get this “great” government insurance (subsidized by the taxpayers) you could be providing all your personal, sensitive data to a felon. The sad part is that this doesn’t even shock me.
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.