While driving to work Monday, I heard a National Public Radio news story of how the political parties’ leaders are flying around the country, inserting themselves in the game of supporting their favorite daughter or son for the primary elections held this past Tuesday. The news story dealt with an important senate race in the South.
As an elected official, it should surprise no one that I urge everyone to vote. It might sound like a cliché, that voting is the bedrock of a democratic nation, yet it is precisely that foundation upon which we all rely.
According to a news report, turnout was low for Tuesday’s primary. For those committed to the ideals, direction and platform of a political party, such as mine with the Democratic Party, voting in a primary is an important first step in helping choose the final candidates that will face an opponent, usually a republican, in the general election.
If you are a registered voter with a party affiliation and voted, I applaud you. If you did not vote, thinking that it’s “only a primary” or “my candidate is unopposed, so why vote?” I urge you to reconsider in the future. Casting your vote is still the most visible expression that you support this great privilege by deed as well as word.
The top reasons voters give for not voting, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute, is too busy or conflicting schedule, 17.5 percent; illness or disability 14.9 percent; not interested, 13.4 percent.
Let’s be frank. Almost no one is too busy to vote. It’s simply a matter of attention, focus and duty. While I certainly understand the difficulty for anyone who is ill or disabled, even with these impediments, there is New Jersey's "no excuse needed" absentee ballot program. For the last group, the uninterested, this is the one that concerns me the most. This suggests indifference to a political process of which no one is immune. Doesn’t it make sense to express your view? If you just observe, then you get the government you deserve.
An older friend of mine put it differently: “When I was a kid, we had civics class in high school,” he said. “We learned that it was a privilege and a moral obligation to vote, not one foisted upon us, but one we should assume voluntarily.”
The great American drama critic and editor George Jean Nathan said more eloquently: “Bad officials are voted by good citizens who do not vote.”
While I’m on the voting theme, there’s a different kind of election occurring that allows everyone to vote. The New Jersey Hall of Fame has posted nominees to their 2014 class of inductees. For the first time, labor giant Peter J. McGuire is on this list. The Hall of Fame “have made significant contributions to the state and the world: as innovators, as leaders, and as voices for the voiceless — often against overwhelming odds.” I believe that McGuire fits this criteria because he helped:
- Win national acceptance for the eight-hour workday.
- Lay the foundation for a five-day workweek.
- Secure recognition for Labor Day, which honors all American workers.
- Co-found the American Federation of Labor, a forerunner to the AFL-CIO.
- Help promote one of the first Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States.
- Create the first publication devoted to the carpentry trade, known as “The Carpenter.”
To support this nomination, PLEASE vote for his inclusion into The New Jersey Hall of Fame. The voting is open to everyone, and you can vote multiple times, but you can only cast a vote once from each email account. The deadline is June 20.
Visit http://njhalloffame.org/, click on the vote icon and cast your vote for Peter J. McGuire, by scrolling down to the public service category.
Why should YOU vote for Peter J. McGuire? Reread what he promoted during his lifetime and ask yourself what would the workplace be without those accomplishments we take for granted?