Is it just me or does Kentucky need to declare and celebrate a new, state-wide, holiday that would only happen once every four years. Said holiday would include all day celebrations and festivities along with much dancing in the streets. It would take place on the Wednesday after statewide elections for public office and have absolutely nothing to do with who won or lost any particular office. Our rejoicing would come solely to celebrate the fact that the election was finally over.
Is it any wonder why 7 out of 10 registered voters no longer bother going to the polls these days? Thanks to television and internet social media, we have spent most of the last year inundated with a constant barrage of, mostly negative, political advertising so distasteful that most potential voters want nothing to do with the process on which our democracy was founded.
I can recall a time when it seemed like everybody wanted to vote and did so. Of course many, if not most, people did not have televisions and computers way back then. Local radio stations went off the air before dark and the ones we listened to at night were mostly from far-away places that had no interest in Kentucky politics. The “air waves” simply were not cluttered with abusive slander and, in my opinion, that made the world a far better place to be. At least it made politics more civilized. Actually, I don’t believe that old radio political advertising was anywhere close to being the mud hole it is today.
However illegal the practice was, I can recall some people who moved around a lot from one community to another who sometimes boasted that they had voted three or four times in the same election. They had registered to vote every time they moved and went to the trouble of going back and voting in all their old precincts. It was not unusual to discover that several dead people, some deceased for many years, had somehow managed to sign in at the polls to cast their votes. Many of the dead had also voted several times, according to the records. However, it was virtually impossible to find out who they had voted for.
I recall one of the ladies, who was prone to vote at multiple locations, complaining that she liked county elections far better than statewide because she could usually collect a few half pints of Old Crow in the county elections.
“Happy Chandler was too tight to give me a drink, but at least I got a good ride in a nice car out of the deal,” she said. “Mr. Soandso even took me to all three polling places and let me pick up groceries on the way back to the house.”
Obviously, those voting practices of our, not too distant, past have undergone much needed reforms that have made our political practices far more ethical and legal than they once were. However, I doubt those reforms have much to do with our relatively rapid decline in representative democracy.
I still believe that people would be far more likely to take their responsibility to vote if politicians actually had something to say that was believable and worth talking about.
I don’t believe that we should be forced to hear the same old negative messages, hundreds and hundreds of times, over and over and over again just because we’d like to see the evening news or watch a television program.
That’s why I am advocating for a new holiday that should be called Recovery Wednesday. It would be a day of healing from the sickness that many of us have endured during these seemingly unending months of disgusting political blather.
I can think of very few things more worthy of celebration.