In a few days, we will all be taking advantage of our rights as citizens of the United States and Cabarrus County and exercising our right to vote.
What’s wrong with that sentence?
Most of us won’t do any such thing. The vast majority of us will sit this election out.
Funny how little we seem to care. Although, it’s not so funny.
We are a nation that insists on the superiority of a democratic process, of the need to protect the rights of citizens, of the advantages of civic freedom. We shake our heads at countries that seem unable or unwilling to grant each individual the right to help determine the nature and the quality of his or her government.
We bemoan the authoritarian practices of world leaders, the oppression and persecution of women and specific ethnic or religious groups, the use of terror against innocents.
We congratulate ourselves for living in America – the land of the free and the home, we sing, of the brave.
So often, we preach to others what we do not practice ourselves. We neglect our responsibility for engaging ourselves with the country whose benefits we enjoy and take for granted.
And yet, I can predict with some certainty that fewer than 4 percent of the residents of Concord will vote this week.
We can expect a small percentage of any of Cabarrus County’s residents to make their way to the polling stations.
Last year’s municipal election in Concord brought out about 3,000 voters. Concord was home to, at the time, more than 83,000 residents. About 3.6 percent of our city’s residents bothered to vote for those they wanted to help govern their town.
Yes, it’s a municipal election. Maybe that seems unimportant in a world in which Russian president Vladimir Putin sends warplanes to conduct air strikes against insurgents in Syria for almost a month while claiming they are targeting the Islamic State.
Maybe our eyes and hearts are more clearly engaged with the problem of refugees pouring out of the Middle East, desperate and homeless; their plight has been deservedly in the news.
Maybe a municipal election doesn’t seem worth our attention when we might have yet another damaging and bizarre circus in Washington about how to deal with our national debt, a fruitless battle which might cause our credit and our financial reputation to fall again.
The world is filled with dreadful news we can, seemingly, do nothing about. How can we find the energy to contend with all the obligations of our daily existence and simultaneously respond to so much crying need for our attention?
And yet we must care about who we ask to make decisions about our localities, our towns and cities. Local issues are not unimportant – it matters whether we keep our libraries open. It’s important that we decide whether guns should be carried into parks and county fairgrounds. It matters that we recycle, conserve water and protect our schools and our children’s education.
City council members are responsible for a good many issues that are important to our daily existence. Our quality of life will depend on their votes.
So, please, consider reading up just a little on the candidates and their concerns. Think about what kind of men and women you want making those decisions and making those votes.
And wherever you are in Cabarrus County, go out and vote this week.
Barbara Thiede is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.